Elliot … that’s a great quote. Haven’t heard that one before today. But then I’m not so much into baseball.
Let me preface this by saying, you know that I thoroughly enjoy your writing. You‘re included on my November list of writers people should read. There’s a part of me that wants to walk through the door you’ve opened and say, nah, you weren’t born on third base; you were born a few inches from homeplate. Now that’s not an indictment of you, but merely points to the advantages which the system has bestowed upon you.
The issue is never about shutting up. It’s about being aware of others and how one’s words can easily be (mis)interpreted by others. It just so happens, I fall into three of the demographics you mentioned above: black, gay, and disabled (I don’t consider myself as such, but Uncle Sam and the ADA do we’ll go with that frame of reference for this example).
If I were a black, gay, disabled person who had no previous interaction with you at all and came across your post, it’d be easy to think what an insensitive clod. As a white male born in America, he’s been given the keys to the kingdom. He has no idea what it is to deal with the prejudice and negative stereotyping that comes with being in the skin I’m in. The sheer force of will it takes to simply L-I-V-E would cook his frickin’ brain. The fortitude necessary to face a world that views me as less than or other-ly on a daily basis. One week and my shoes, and he’d see what it takes to deal with the soul-crushing disappoint of not even being considered for sought-after opportunities when people less qualified and half as interested are ushered into the inner sanctum and afforded heaping servings of grace, benefit of the doubt, and passes for shortcomings simply because they’re wearing the right uniform.
But understand this, that’s not me. I love everything about myself — even those personality quirks — I’ve owned those and turned them into personal assets, arrows in my quiver.
I’ve read your writing. I enjoy it. And I look forward to reading more of what you’ll write in the future. So instead of putting you on blast—and damaging 1) a potentially rich online acquaintanceship which could become something more (I say this because over the years, I’ve gotten to know a wide variety of men and women from all around the world thanks to social media, met them in person several times, and developed relationships that have the potential to become lifelong friendships), and 2) my own reputation among my peers within this Medium community—I’m opting to give a little thought to not only what I’ll say, but how I’ll say it.
And what I’ll say this: the issue isn’t about shutting up about your optimism about the nation’s new reality. It’s never about shutting up. There’s nothing wrong with writing about hope. Hope is a good thing. It’s an integral outlook that will add buoyancy to our lives so we all can survive the biggest shit storm that’s just made landfall. But to spout hope without first acknowledging the fear, anguish, terror, and potential loss that so many feel would be … insensitive at best.
And you kinda did that, curbed the hope-speak. So I guess that makes the previous seven paragraphs a moot point.
If you’re really curious about how those who are still waiting for their turn at bat and to round third base are feeling, just ask. Hearing about how we deal with bad calls doesn’t make being born so close to home plate bad, it only means the rules of the game are sorely in need of being re-written.
Love one another.
(Sheesh, I didn’t know that topic was spring loaded; but I guess it was given the events of the last three days. *shudders*)