When was the last time you really wanted (or needed) to say something, but kept quiet?
I do my best to stand up for what I believe in. I speak up when someone uses the word “gay” to describe something they believe to be stupid. I speak up when friends say something derogatory. I would like to think that I do this 100% of the time but in some situations it is a bit difficult.
During college I worked at a coffee shop. I had many regulars that I developed relationships with. They grew into friends. From time to time I would allow those friends to connect with me on Facebook.
There was one customer that I loved. He was an older guy but was always cheery and understanding when I had a long line. He was great. He sent me a request on Facebook so I accepted. What was the harm? Well I will tell you. During the election I saw a side of him that I never wanted to see.
He posted awful, disrespectful things about Hillary Clinton. I understand if you don’t support a politician but the things he was saying about her… man did they make me angry. He said, “That bitch should shut up and get back in the kitchen.” WHAAAT? I couldn’t believe it. I quickly became hot, red in the face. I wanted to punch him in the face. How could you be so disrespectful of a person that has done so much good?
I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to say something but everything I came up with was mean and involved lots of curse words. I didn’t say anything. I let it go. I let it go until he posted again about Hillary Clinton saying, “Hillary should shut up because no one cares what she thinks.” It hurt me to see such hatred. Again, I wanted to speak up. But I didn’t. I didn’t say anything. Instead I deleted him from my friends list so I would no longer have to see such awful things. In essence I silenced him for myself.
I wish I said something. I wish I pointed out to him how hurtful his words were. I should have shared about all of Clinton’s accomplishments and enlightened him. But I didn’t. So now when I hear hateful comments; I speak up. When I hear people making stereotypical comments about both women AND men; I speak up. Even if that makes for uncomfortable situations. I would rather point out the ignorance of others then allow them to think that what they are saying or doing is acceptable.
It reminds me of a wonderful quote by Desmond Tutu.
I hope that you will also speak up when you see injustice and inequality.
This was a response to WordPress’s daily prompt, Break the Silence.