To The Family Members Who Start Arguments Over My Liberal Beliefs
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Politics and Activism

To The Family Members Who Start Arguments Over My Liberal Beliefs

I know it may not have been "the way I was raised," but there are some things we really need to discuss.

To The Family Members Who Start Arguments Over My Liberal Beliefs

Let me begin by saying that you're entitled to your opinion and that I am entitled to mine, but that I am also allowed to disagree with you without being disrespected. I am so sick of people throwing the words "communist," "socialist," "libt**d," and "feminazi" at me just because I have opinions they don't like. It's really exhausting to sit and argue with someone when you know you're not going to change his or her opinion, so just save us both the time and don't start something with me.

Now, if you do plan on asking about how I feel, expect me to be honest with you about some things: I'm a feminist. I'm pro-choice. I'm pro-immigration. I support the LBGTQ+ community. I support social welfare. I believe the federal minimum wage should be more than $7.25 per hour. I believe that science is real and should be taken seriously. I don't think anyone needs an AR-15 in their home. I don't think college should cost someone thirty years of debt. I don't think it should cost you an arm and a leg to keep an arm and a leg when you have to go to the hospital.

"But you used to think..." "But when you were younger..."

Yeah, trust me, I am perfectly aware of how I was raised, and I get embarrassed just thinking about the bigoted ideas I was immersed in and accepted as what was right. But even from a young age, I was always inquisitive and began to question my own beliefs, and eventually, I moved away from the rural life and was exposed to so many different people of varying races and ethnicities, religions, beliefs, levels of education, sexualities, and experiences, and I became aware of what was going on in the world around me, not just in the small community I grew up in.

I remember when I met my first gay friend. He was one of the kindest souls I could ever ask to come across and to this day, I still think about how he shaped my life. I saw how people at school treated and talked about him, sometimes even his own family - all because he liked boys. Growing up with a religious family, I knew how people in my life felt about the LGBTQ+ community, but seeing the way people treated him felt so wrong.

This followed me to college, where I met three transgender men that I quickly befriended and still cherish. I remember the way that administrators, students, and family members behaved toward them, deadnaming them, misgendering them, invalidating them. It broke me up to imagine how they felt, to hear them talk about the blatant disregard for their feelings about their own lives, their own bodies. Again, it felt so wrong to sit back and watch.

Growing up, "feminism" was a bad word. Being called a feminist meant you were a bitch, a bossy girl who just wanted to be better than the boys around you. I grew up, I went to college, I became educated, and I learned what feminism is really like. Feminism is women supporting women, but also men supporting women. Feminism is giving a woman who may die giving birth the right to choose NOT to have a child. Feminism is letting a little girl suffering from sexual abuse get the help she needs when she gets pregnant by some monster who thought he had the right to lay a hand on her. It's supporting black makeup artists in the industry. It's voting women into office so that they can represent us and make our voices heard. Feminism is making birth control and menstrual products accessible and affordable. It's giving a woman the chance to make her own decision about getting her tubes tied, without her needing permission from a husband, already having to have three kids, or be over 30 years old. It's supporting and standing behind victims of sexual assault and rape and no longer perpetuating the "boys will be boys" and other negative stigma. Feminism is about fairness and equality for women in all of the day-to-day AND life-changing decisions they have to make.

I also, sadly, grew up immersed in a world where racism was accepted and considered normal. Where I'm from the population is probably 99.9999% white, and lots of people wanted it to remain that way, or in their eyes, it belonged at 100%. I understand that for some of you, you may have gone to school when things were still segregated and you spent your life looking down on POC. But times have changed, and you're still allowing yourself to live with so much hate in your heart. I've had some of you say things to me like, "If you see a bunch of Blacks, don't go around them. They can be dangerous." While the Black Lives Matter protests were still up and running strong, I heard a whole lot of, "Those n*****s think we owe them anything? They need to get off their asses to work instead of looting and rioting! Actually EARN a living!" And yet, all of those same people continue to tell me, "I am NOT racist!"

Speaking as a 5'3" white girl in college, I have never had such negative experiences with POC as I have with straight white men, and in fact, when I was sexually harassed soon after starting my job, the coworkers at my side who most helped me were all POC. Some of the most wonderful, hardworking coworkers I've had have been POC, so stop throwing your stereotypes at me. I've seen racism in action, many times here in my college town, too, so stop denying it.

Let's also discuss this minimum wage deal. I currently work as a waitress at a restaurant here in town, and I often work over 35 hours per week. City-wide, the wage for a server is $2.13 an hour, but I work for an employer who was gracious enough to raise the pay to $5 hourly. With the pay raise, I usually made only around $200 per check every two weeks. And you expect someone making minimum wage to be able to survive?

These are just a few of the many points I could make.

I've heard the whispers about me. I've seen the messages and know the things that my own relatives have said about me, my friends, my choices, and my life, and honestly, I'm disgusted.

I just hear a lot of loud opinions being thrown around about a 20-year-old with a life of her own. Grow up. I promise you, hearing the hateful things you have to say about someone who only wants to show kindness and compassion for others shows a lot more about your character than it does mine.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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