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From Books To Action: How To Become Courageous
aka ‘The Magic Mind Control Trick To Get Off Your Ass’ if you wanna get click-baity about it.
I’m being sneaky! I’m manipulating you!
Welcome, casual internet user! Here we are – I’ve ensnared you with my search engine optimization! HaHA!
I will now try to catch you where you are, and gently, ever-so-stealthily, guide you to the place I think you want to be. Or, sometimes, where you would want to be, if you only knew how much we need your help in smashing the kyriarchy.
- You want to end racism – but are too nervous to even say the word ‘Black’ to your kids.
- You want to talk about reproduction, but are afraid the conversation will swerve into *gasp* talking about recreational sex or sexual assault! (Scary!) Nevermind tackling your personal responsibility to avoid raising a sexual predator.
- You want to protect kids from gun violence – but don’t see any reason to consider talking to your kids about police brutality.
- You are rich, white, abled, and powerful and just love BIPOC, and want to rescue some poor targeted folks and maybe make a few token friends of color to show your kids you’re not racist – and don’t really see how that is a problem.
So one thing about me being sneaky, is that I’m really bad at it. Like really bad at it – I’m all about loudly proclaiming exactly what I’m doing and why.
So here we are.
I write about children’s books because, as Tre Johnson succinctly puts it – “when Black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs.”
I’ll meet you where you’re at. But if you want to stick together we got to move.
Motivating You To Action
When I’m not being too lazy, I try to incorporate three in all of the stuff I create for you.
I let you know there is a problem out there (in case you weren’t aware), or that it really is a problem you, personally, need to address.
And in case you weren’t aware, of how targeted people are people like us, with children just like ours because as internet citizenry acclimated to comfort and power, we tend to forget that.
I explain why you need to take care of that, and like, soon. ‘Cause I know you’re busy (we’re all busy, I know you gotta get Aiden to soccer practice, but Lauren, I have had about enough of your excuses, hush a minute) and it’s easier to put things off.
Oppression and injustice are not someone else’s problem, they’re everbody’s problem because we live in a big global society and we’re all interconnected. This shit affects you whether you realize it or not. These are your problems, and mine.
So I let you know how you’re connected to these problems, and what is (or will) happen if we fail to act. Without some level of urgency, we become apathetic – there’s a problem, but what’s to be done?
If I just dumped a problem on your lap and told you to get up and fix it (hello, social media feeds!) that would send you into a swirly whirlpool of despair and emotional eating, yes?
So I don’t do that. I pick a few things that I know you can do. Simple, free, accessible, easy, quick things. And I say – go do this one thing. Release some of that tension.
Feels good! Right? Yes! Because taking steps to help others and seek justice is pro-social, and you are a social animal and that’s what you’re designed to do. It’s a good thing!
And even though that problem seemed REALLY REALLY BIG and it was SCARILY URGENT, suddenly, you realize – you can tackle hard problems and scary things!
How this works
Now…I wonder what else you could do?
See – the problem is still here. All this injustice still exists.
And you have now internalized an identity as a Kind and Courageous Person Who Does Hard Things. (KCPWDHT)
And it gets a little addictive. If I can just keep nudging you a little farther along your comfort zone…well hey. We just went from having *gasp* hard conversations! to a Wednesday afternoon putting your money, your career, your reputation on the line to speak up against injustice and disrupt cycles of harm and abuses of power
Because that’s just who you are. How could you stand by and not take action?
Knowledge + Urgency + Capability = Action
That’s where our need for of identity consistency comes in. Now that you’re who you are, this KCPWDHT, it’s going to be psychologically painful when you see that this problem still exists, knowing there are things you can do. It’s kind of hard not not get off your ass and take action now.
I’m not gonna infodump on you about neurology, social patterns of behavior, and persuasion psychology, but this is where, if I was a little less lazy, I’d list about 20 books and 100 or so studies on how to get along with other people. Because I’m autistic, and I had to learn this all manually. I had to learn ‘how to do hard things’ to exist as a person with social, communicative, and executive functioning disabilities without being killed by angry strangers who didn’t like the way I did/did-not maintain eye contact.
I go into all of this in more detail over here. Basically though – this stuff we’re sharing here – it’s not about books. It was never about the books. It’s not even really about raising kind and brilliant children.
This is about how you stop reading about and looking for the damn helpers and become the helper.