I’m Stefan, and you’re probably wondering how and why you should trust what I’m writing.
As stated in the About page, I’m trying to spread lifesaving knowledge from those who have studied, lived, and survived oppression. Again, I’m not the subject-matter expert in these areas. I have been reading these Social Justice and Anti-Racist resources since 2015 and now am at a point where I feel that I can contribute toward bringing down systems of oppression by sharing what I’ve gained from these resources. There is no sense in hoarding this knowledge all within my head.
My journey towards a critical awareness and a desire to learn more may resemble your current journey:
I was raised in a society that says Racism only exists as the personal actions by a few bad actors, color doesn’t exist because we’re all equal (America = Freedom and Equality for all!…), and if people don’t succeed it’s because they didn’t work hard enough. I received a public education that placed 99% of focus and emphasis on the accomplishment of white men and western empirical thought (the other 1% was dedicated to token representations of women and Black Americans through dedicated months like Black History Month). I graduated high school, then graduated college, then joined the Navy. I saw several bad things happen to Black Americans on the news from 2011 until 2015 when I had enough and wanted to learn what was really going on.
If you’re White (or grew up with a White frame of reference) it’s very likely we have had the same experience (location, dates, and other small details will be different). We were socialized to believe in individualism (that we are what we make of ourselves), that there are no systems set up to benefit some while hurting others (“all men were created equally”), and that if we fail in life it’s only our fault (we didn’t try hard enough).
We’re also raised to not really critically examine things around us. In most public schools we’re conditioned to do what is expected of us to get good grades for college, or to play the game enough to pass and then move on with life. Most of us were also raised to know what’s universally right from wrong, so when you saw enough Black Americans dying on TV for no good reason something inside of you clicked. Now you want to learn more, and that’s a really good thing. We are only stronger together, and we can work together when we have a common understanding of the systems that work to rob others of their humanity.
What you decide to do with this newly acquired knowledge is up to you. You can sit on this knowledge and be a better person going forward. But inside you feel that knowledge isn’t just enough. You can put your knowledge into action in basic ways such as speaking out when injustice—no matter how big or small—is committed in public, at work, or at home. You can also join and actively support and participate in organizations that work toward dismantling these systems.
I’m glad you are here and hope you will stay with me in this journey. There is a lot of work that must be done, but by creating and sustaining a community of those committed to personal and societal growth and change we can combine our energy and effort to create lasting impact. The possibilities are endless and the cause is now needed more than ever. It’s all in your hands how you decide to use your new knowledge.