Overcoming Marginalized Experiences

December 21st, 2008

Almost any day, when I read the newspaper, I am confronted with the ways social forces try to marginalize minority folks, their experiences, and opinions.  Women, People of Color, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual folks, and Transgender people are often told to quit complaining.  “You’re taking things too seriously.”  “It’s not as bad as you make it out to be.”  “You’re ridiculous.”  All of these messages, from my point of view, are the greater culture’s effort to maintain status quo and keep others from living their lives the way it was meant to be.

Our responses to these comments are often confused.  Sometimes, we ask ourselves, “Maybe I am overreacting.”  Other times, we retreat into shame, embarrassment, depression, and self-hate.  But, maybe, a healthier response comes too.

Perhaps one of anger and frustration.  Why anger?  Because anger can lead to action.  And action oftentimes leads to claiming oneself, without shame or embarrassment.  Loving actions include speaking up, writing the newspaper editor, talking with family, friends, or coworkers.  Actions also take the form of therapy, meditation, and other self-improvement activities.  Perhaps, most importantly, finding community – a place where you belong and are accepted for who you are – can be the most healing.  For in such situations, we learn to see ourselves through more loving eyes.

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