to be clear: this is what I stand for
So it's been 4 days since the election, and I've been finally able to put aside the blinding rage I've been experiencing, and my anger has transformed instead into a less volatile, but still incredibly keen burn. (To that point, thank you so much for your comments on my last post -- it was actually very comforting to know that people were having similar reactions to me.) I suspect this low-grade fury will stay like this for a while -- at least the next four years. Because, this election, my friends, was very personal. And honestly, there's nothing you can say to convince of otherwise, so please don't try. The one glimmer of hope I'm holding on to is that despite the vote of the electoral college, it appears Donald Trump lost the popular vote -- which, while good, is only a "glimmer" of hope because frankly, he didn't lose it by enough for me to feel comfortable. Or safe. Or even resignedly content.
My friends, there is much work to be done, not just in America, but in this world we live in.
Back when I wrote The Beauty of Different, I used to say that I was "wildly convinced everyone is uncommonly beautiful." I must confess that I have to amend this a bit: what I am is wildly convinced everyone is capable of uncommon beauty. Because folks? Here's the truth:
Racism isn't beautiful, and never will be.
Discrimination isn't beautiful, and never will be.
Sexism and misogyny aren't beautiful, and never will be.
And if you willfully engage in any of these behaviours, or even negligently or carelessly do so ... well, here's what, my friend: it's not a good look.
I will continue to look for the light by sharing stories and beautiful images of people and places around the world, and do so inclusive of all backgrounds, ages, races, religions, gender identifications, sexual orientations and abilities.
And if this sounds great to you? Excellent: I would love for you to join me.
And if this sounds great to you, even though you know that you have some bias of some sort, but are willing to explore that bias, and figure out why you have it, and do what you can to minimize it? Glorious: I especially want you to join me. You're one of my favourite kinds of people.
And if this sounds good to you, because the truth is you secretly did vote for Trump, but it's beginning to dawn on you that maybe that vote was problematic? Man, better late than never, I guess. Come on over.
If however, you like to come see the pretty photographs here on Chookooloonks because even though I'm black/I'm an immigrant/I'm a woman, I'm not like Those Other blacks/immigrants/women? Well, in the words of the new American President-Elect, wrong. Don't get it twisted: I am absolutely black, I'm absolutely an immigrant, and I'm absolutely a woman, and if you find me somehow different from the definition of what those each mean in your head, then it's your definition that's flawed, not Those Others. Please go away and figure that out before you come back here; or in the alternative, understand that your mindset is flawed and is in desperate need of fixing; and then, by all means, welcome back. But be very clear: there are no Others. I'm IT.
Also: if you come see the pretty photographs here on Chookooloonks because even though you're very clear I'm black and an immigrant and a woman, at least I'm not Muslim/gay/Mexican/transgender/insert-whatever-else-here, then again, wrong. As I said above, I am resolute in celebrating people of all backgrounds and if you're not interested in also doing so, not just here, but in your own life? Then honestly, you are not welcome here. There are plenty of extremely talented photographers all over the web who share your views -- you should go find comfort in their work.
Because, ultimately, and to paraphrase Son of Baldwin's words, above, we can disagree and still love each other, unless your position is rooted in my or anyone else's oppression, and denial of my or anyone else's humanity or right to exist.
And I want to be very, very clear on this point.