I take no pleasure in wounding others. None. However, no equal rights advocate gets to choose the oppressors. They are who they are. They are accountable and must be held accountable.
You can’t play favorites as an advocate. Silence in the face of oppression is never an option. Silence empowers the oppressor. Silence in the face of oppression is not in my repertoire. It never has been.
As an advocate you will inevitably wound others along the way. But if, for example, someone denies people with disabilities a seat at the table, I am going to say so. If a company providing services to people with disabilities in the community engages in community-based warehousing, I am going to say so. If a non-profit organization designed to help others offers little more than lip service, I am going to say so. If leaders from any walk of life are are among the oppressors, I am going to say so. It’s what advocates do.
Knowing people have been wounded by my advocacy is not pleasant. There are, however, reasons I will not stop. At the top of the list, those being oppressed suffer the deepest wounds of all. And then there’s this. Knowing that oppressors have a found a way to live with themselves as oppressors has made it much easier to live with myself as an advocate.
Those who have been wounded by my advocacy should take a moment to reflect. Perhaps they will realize their wounds are self-inflicted. Those that have complained about me remind me of someone complaining to a friend about getting a speeding ticket. Complainer: “That S.O.B. cop gave me a speeding ticket, can you believe it?” Friend: “How fast were you going?” Complainer: “Around 70.” Friend: “What was the speed limit?” Complainer: “Forty-five.”
Sunshine is the best disinfectant and my task as an advocate is to bring things that impede or deny equal rights into the light of day. My suggestion? Don’t speed.