When I was a teenager, I said some really dumb things. Some of them didn’t really affect anyone, but some of them were completely prejudiced and racist. Some of the terrible things that I said then, I was proud of at the time. The tiny Peter Pan in my head shouting “oh the cleverness of me!”
I won’t list those things here. Those thoughts do not need to be recorded for others to have to read, and it isn’t fair to apologize to the world before the people who heard me (whose names I’ve long forgotten).
I hope I’ve learned my lesson, but I probably haven’t. I know that teenage me did not recognize any of her horrible thoughts or words as racist. In fact, she thought that she was acting out of kindness and love.
I am so glad that she never published anything.
Now, I find myself in a dilemma. How on earth can I go forward with publishing anything knowing that I might be reinforcing prejudices that I don’t even know I have?
In all honesty, I don’t know the answer.
Right now, I’ve resigned myself to accept that I will never be perfect, to know that I am wrong in ways I may never fully understand. I’ve promised myself that, if anyone calls me out, I will listen to them and carefully consider their criticism.
But, I also know that I am prone to reacting too quickly when I feel threatened. I hope that when I do walk into a whole pile of stupid, I control my temper and look past my own ego. If I don’t, I hope someone who is willing and able to expend the energy shows me this post.