How do we empower ourselves in a world where we feel so powerless?

I thought the last question we discussed in class about whether we could confront someone if they said something offensive was very interesting. I think that more than anything else people would like to confront an issue, but don’t end up doing that for many reasons (i.e. fear, shame, guilt embarrassment etc.). Naturally, I am not a confrontational person AT ALL. I am very reserved and keep to myself most of the time. I confront situations when I have to (i.e. as an Event Staff or when safety is compromised). As I said before in class, in the case that someone is in danger I would, no questions asked, confront a situation or do my best to find help if I thought I couldn’t  handle it on my own. If someone said something offensive about someone else but there isn’t an immediate danger, I think I would be more hesitant to say anything, for the fear that I’d be putting a target on my back. However, it all depends on what is said.

It’s sad that we live in a world where we want to do the right thing, because our position/identity doesn’t allow us to and because we fear for our own lives and those we care about the most. This conversation defiantly brings me back to the poem we read earlier in class, “A Prostitute, A Servant…” by Lugo-Lugo. The section about the Jamaican women being checked for drugs at the intersection of two street by police officer, when she never had any to begin with really made me upset. I think from the perspective of an outsider looking in, it’s easy to feel helpless—especially if you are a black woman watching this all happen and not being able to do anything to save the lady that had been to stripped and left naked on the street corner—because you have no power. I personally felt drained after reading this piece. I kept thinking, how many more articles, blog posts, journal entries, poems etc. do there have to be for people to notice that there is a problem? People aren’t writing these things just for fun—they’re real. But I also understand that everyone can confront these things, so  how do we empower ourselves in a world where we feel so powerless?

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