Date: 7/22/20 10:00 pm
From: Matt Cahill <matt.c.cahill...>
Subject: [obol] No we can't let that one go unaddressed

I really believe you think you are justified and not harming anyone with
what you wrote. But it is so hurtful. Your wish for a colorblind world is
painful and othering because it overlooks that our world is constantly and
relentlessly evaluating a person's color. We are constantly and
relentlessly evaluating a person's color. And by denying it, we are just
protecting our preferred normal, a normal that countless black people tell
us is threatening, dehumanizing, and dangerous.

Of course you didn't choose your race, but if the pursuit of happiness is a
marathon, you were born at mile 13. If you want life to be a fair event,
you can't deny where others started from. Losing privilege feels like
oppression, but is so definitely not.

As a gay man, I encounter exclusive remarks nearly every time I bird with a
group of straight men. Small, seemingly inconsequential events invisible to
others because they have no idea what to look for. It would certainly be
uncomfortable for me to point them out. So I grit my teeth and carry on.
And I can pretty much hide my minority status. For people who wear it as
their skin, I struggle to imagine how often they feel overlooked.

The conservation organization I work for directly links racial equity with
protecting the environment, and so do most organizations I work with. We
cannot avoid these topics and have our special spaces. We cannot pretend
that birding is somehow removed. That's the whole point. We don't get to
ignore it anymore, when people are figuratively and literally saying they
can't breathe.

Black lives matter.

Matt Cahill

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