Date: 7/23/20 6:43 am From: R. Adney Jr. <rfadney...> Subject: [obol] Re: No we can't let that one go unaddressed
Thanks for your response Matt. I'm truly sorry you have experienced bias due to your sexual orientation. While I can't know what racial bias feels like, let me tell everyone something. I grew up poor, we lived near where Sam R road is located in Eugene when I was born. That is where the black folks lived because Eugene did not tolerate black folks for much of its history. I had the good fortune to be born with red hair. That red hair was a reason to be bullied, beaten, threatened and scared to the point of nausea to go to school for fear of more of the same. I have the facial scars from having my face ground into the curb by several boys from the beat downs. One of these bullies cost me my right eye because I had red hair. I won't elaborate on the names I was called because most everyone probably knows them. I was a diminutive shy, skinny kid with flaming red hair. Usually the only one in school with red hair so I hung out with all the other kids who were "different". Different in many ways, among them effeminate boys, Tom Boy girls, nerds and even kids of different races. I don't see things in folks that are "different" by how they are different, no matter what anyone on OBOL thinks. I see a person and so should everyone else. It irks me that we have to see everything today though eyes filtered by the differences in people. Sorry if that makes me a bad person.
From: <obol-bounce...> <obol-bounce...> on behalf of Matt Cahill <matt.c.cahill...>
Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 2020 9:57 PM
To: OBOL <obol...>
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.