Let’s Get Personal: Get Uncomfortable, Listen, & the Necessity of Diversifying the Views in Your Life

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  • March 07, 2017

Images: Sarah Williams

With all the doom & gloom happening in the country (world?) right now, and constant fury & fear on my Twitter, I am constantly searching for slivers of positivity, or good that game from November’s election. For one, it’s opened my eyes to the need to participate in our government, and no longer be a privileged bystander. I’ve had multiple conversations with friends and family at this point, that if you are not called to action at this point, then you have the privilege to be complacent.

But this post is meant to be less about privilege (though I plan to tackle that topic again because I’ve never been more aware of mine, personally), and more about the need to diversify the¬†people you talk to and interact with on a daily basis. After the election, I was one of those women that was SHOCKED that white women voted so heavily for Trump and I was also one of those women that considered myself a feminist, though had never heard the term intersectional feminism before. I consider myself to be aware of others, however¬†I was aware only as much as I was exposed to from the media I ingested and the people I surrounded myself with. One of the best things (for me personally) that came from the Women’s March, was reading about intersectional feminism, and understanding that there are different degrees & levels of feminism, and that feminism for women of color is a whole other arena. When I thought of feminism, I thought of the most basic version: equality for women! What I never even considered was dividing that group of ‘women’ up further to look at black vs hispanic vs muslim vs poor vs trans women.

One of the first things I started doing (thanks to the countless op-eds I started reading post election & women’s march) was to start following women of colors on Twitter. We all know how I feel about Twitter (it is my everything), but when I took a hard look at my feed, it was filled with mostly white women, neighbors (still heavily white), and DC area businesses. Yikes – this needed to change.

I also keep going back to this video I watched recently about implicit bias. So much of this video has been swirling in my mind – the need to diversify the vantage points in your life, the way children assimilate to similar groups they are brought up in, and how humans naturally assimilate toward more comfortable groups of beings because it’s just that, comfortable. Well it’s time to get uncomfortable. It’s time to follow accounts that are having completely different experiences and are being affected differently by this currently political climate/current administration’s dealings. And in my discomfort, it is time to LISTEN (yes I see the irony in writing that as I type my own thoughts/opinions out in this blog post), and for those of you that know me, you know that I am much more likely the one sharing my opinion, than listening to someone elses.

But that needs to change too. So while I settle into my new realm of discomfort, taking harder looks at my privilege, the people I have in my life, and the circles I keep, I must continue to push myself harder to diversify further and listen more. I think we could all benefit from this. So if you have Twitter accounts for me to follow, books to read, or columns to check out – please send them my way.

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