I can’t say I’ve read much that Drew Magary has written recently, especially since I gave up the NFL a couple of years ago. (Okay, still get some joy out of his annual takedown of the Williams–Sonoma holiday catalog.) But over at Lawyers Guns & Money, they flagged the preamble to his NFL preview for this week. It’s good in making one important point. We change.
Or, at least, we all should.
The crux of it is that Magary fesses up to having written awful stuff, made reprehensible jokes in the past. Things he does not now write, jokes he does not now make. In short, he’s working on getting better.
Just like we all should.
I know that I’ve said and done insensitive things in the past. (And probably will in the future, even given my best efforts.) The point is that we—especially those that enjoy some measure of privilege—have to keep working on ourselves.
I think this gets to a larger point that’s worth making. Racism, sexism, ablism, homophobia, etc. and their opposites are not binaries. Not black and white. It’s not an either–or. You don’t get to establish your bonafides, for instance, by labeling yourself a feminist and using some buzzword.
We can easily drop the term intersectionality into a conversation, and yet say and do sexist things. Individuals are not either one—racist—or the other—not racist. We do things, say things, and hold beliefs that are often contradictory.
There are, of course, honest-to-god Nazis. Here. In America. In 2017. But they are few and we are many. We must fight them and probably don’t need to worry about attempting to convert them them. We’ll still have plenty of people to reach.
In short, we must work on ourselves, and help others work on themselves.