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White men who oppose Trump: Make yourselves known

November 11, 2016

• James Kaelan

I am a straight white man, born in a conservative California country to upper middle-class parents. I went to school in a wealthy district, and my classmates were almost exclusively white. College was not just an option for my friends and me growing up: it was a requirement. I earned two liberal arts degrees. And after grad school, with no job prospects, I moved back in with my parents and worked part-time for my dad—because he ran a company that could hire me. When my grandmother passed away, my mom used part of her inheritance to pay off my student debt.
In other words, I am privilege manifest. 
If I wanted to capitalize on this moment, I could literally pen a "red pill" blog claiming that I'd seen the light emanating from Trump, don a MAGA hat, and join the fascist movement. In fact, as a turncoat, I imagine I'd be welcomed with open arms. Like Genghis Kahn, Trump's power comes in part from the fact that he celebrates his vanquished enemies once they've pledged their allegiance. 
All of this is to say, I was born with the freedom to do as I please. Power is mine to claim because of my gender, my skin color, and my class.
But, suffice it to say, I reject the offer. 
Instead, I vow today to work to oppose tyranny, and defend the rights of all people who don't enjoy my privilege. If you've followed my hyperbolic political statements over the last four years, I've talked a lot about revolution, and "risking my life" for justice. I always thought I meant it. But those statements were lobbed from a theoretical battlement.
Today, though, I find myself in a real battlefield, holding a shovel. Women, people of color, Muslims, the LGBTQI community, the poor, the differently-abled—everyone singled out for attack—I'm with you. I will help you dig this trench and hold the line. 
This is real. It's going to be terrifying, and frequently disheartening. We will be arrested. Some of us will actually be killed. But in the long run, it will be worth it. Because to do anything less is to capitulate to tyranny.
Fellow white men of privilege who reject hate: Make yourselves known.
Don't just assume your allies know you're there. Reach out personally. Show up for rallies. Listen to people's fears before you prejudge them. Make action plans. Then take action.
Like that? Then you'll definitely dig this.


James Kaelan

James Kaelen is a co-founder of Seed&Spark and the Editor-in-Chief of BRIGHT IDEAS.



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