Being “forward” in the sense of speaking up first, taking a risk, not sitting back to hear other opinions before expressing mine, does not come naturally to me.
Maybe it shouldn’t.
There’s something to be said in this world for the tendency many of us introverts have to process lots of information, take time to formulate our stance, and craft whatever we are going to say or write.
But I feel awash in a world of “forward” people.
I think it’s the “instant” nature of social media that makes this feeling of being awash so potent right now. Maybe the closed-in situation created by the pandemic too.
We sit at our keyboards, watching issues like the Amy Cooper/Christian Cooper confrontation and the killing of George Floyd, seeing social media explode with outrage, premature conclusions (sometimes) and lives being changed rapidly (or in Floyd’s case, lives being ended) and we don’t know what to do.
I think the people in our history who ended up making a difference — bigger names such as Malcolm X and Andrew Goodman and less well-known changemakers didn’t do so by not being forward, brash, courageous, brave.
So much of the discourse I’ve read over the last couple of days (and a little bit of the opining I have shared) had to do with what we teach at home. I do believe that creating a less racist world depends (in part) on what we teach at home and how we raise our kids.
I also know hate-filled people have emerged from homes where acceptance and love for one’s fellow humans were taught and demonstrated.
Somehow, we have to teach our children (and ourselves) to be forward in the moments when it matters, to call out racism when it is tempting to stay silent — when the relative makes the racist joke, when they post the meme that stereotypes and degrades.
There are times to be forward, and we’re going to have plenty of them in the near future.
Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)