I've had a few experiences recently that have convinced me of the existence of a contingent of people who "mansplain" in the form of "sympathy." I put sympathy in quotes because true sympathy is not a gimmick and requires real care and interest. This is not that. This is when white, Christian, young men tell me they feel sorry for me if I experience hardship without taking any ownership that they may be part of the problem. If I have been the victim of religion-enforced patriarchy, I must have misunderstood what was said, done, implied or intended. Poor deceived woman. There must be some misunderstanding here. Let me explain to you what must have happened and you can see how your perception of grievances is, in fact, the problem. Here's a gentle pat on the head and let me lead you to the right path.
I recently had someone shame and "poor you" me when I openly admitted that I am racist. I have had racist thoughts. I have lived in racial privilege. I have judged people of color with biased reasoning. I have participated in systems that actively oppress people of color as someone who owns a home and was educated and was an albeit unspoken leader in a conservative religion. Granted, I did those things out of ignorance. But that is no excuse. We can't correct racist thoughts, slurs, actions, intent if we don't first SEE IT. So I was openly seeing it. And because of that, I received a pat on the head. How sad for you.
My life is not a pet project for you to approve of. My activism is not intended for you feel pity. My honesty is not out in the world to make you feel so good about yourself, one who has used having no idea what I'm talking about as some sort of "get out of biased jail free" card. Your ignorance is your condemnation not your salvation. Don't tell me I misunderstood when I was not allowed to share my faith publicly at church. Don't tell me I misunderstood when it was clear that I needed to be a virgin in order to have spiritual currency with which to garner a Christian husband. Don't tell me I misunderstood when it was my responsibility to dress in a way to keep all the young men around me from going to hell with my displayed body. Don't.
These things are not accidental or anecdotal. When patriarchy and white supremacy are hinted at, you better believe that the root of that plant is bold and intentional. If the fruit is fragrant, that seed created something ripe and alive ON PURPOSE. Those who suffer do not need another pat on the head and more "poor you"s. Those who have been marginalized need to be heard. We don't need your validation but we especially don't need your denial encased in false sympathy. Don't talk to me about good intentions. Don't tell me when the church supports a maniac that it's about abortion or health care or taxes. Here's the thing: when lies are exposed, it becomes clear that your ignorance is part of the problem. Until you can learn to listen, learn to look the fuck up, then I can't help you. And your patronizing, mansplaining "sadness" for me, your sentiment of "can't we all just get along" becomes very hollow, very quickly. If you want to get along, do something to help others get along. Put yourself in the shoes of a recipient of DACA right now. Don't use my admonition to wallow in shame and feel sorry for yourself. Believe it or not, this is not about you.
WAKE. THE. FUCK. UP.