We all have those family members. The ones who insist they’re "just having a laugh" when being openly racist towards the guy who runs the local take away. Or the one who exclaims angrily that "homeless people don’t deserve help, they’re all on drugs! Its their own fault!" when you mention you bought lunch for the woman in the doorway you pass daily on your morning commute. Or the one who says they love Trump because he "just says it how it is". We all have them. They might be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or a partner. The ones who dismiss your opinions and objections because “you cant say anything these days”, and that you’re just, “too sensitive”, “too confrontational”, “too political”.
How can I be too political? Politics is a reflection of my attitudes towards society and beliefs as a human being. It’s coded into my DNA and makes me who I am. Its essentially saying that I’m too me.
My first experience of this came when I was a teenager. I went to a white dominated all girls secondary school with excellent funding, great teaching resources and amazing support for any student that would need it. That being said, politics was not a subject taught at any level (which is an entirely different rant all together), the only opportunity we had to discuss politics in an academic setting was if we had any extra time during a history lesson, and it would normally center around whatever the teacher wanted to hear anyway. I was quite shy and socially inept in school, but when it came to something I was passionate about, the guns came out. I loved debating about things I cared about, expressing my views and emotions about something so important to my character and me. This was often dismissed, viewed as ‘bossy’ and ‘aggressive’. We were taught from an early age that politics is fun to discuss but at the end of the day, its not massively serious and shouldn’t really be taken too seriously because it doesn’t affect you.
Are we taking about the same thing here hun? Politics? The thing about how the whole country is run or something like that? The thing that decides whether families can eat a hot meal every night or not? The thing that’s supposed to keep the nation healthy and safe? The thing that makes sure the world is just and fair and equal? The thing that literally determines peoples quality of life? Sorry Miss Smith you must have your wires crossed because I think those things really, really, REALLY matter.
Being viewed as ‘too political’ stems from this very belief that politics is a game. How can caring about the quality of peoples lives be too anything? Why is it a bad thing I want to stop the suffering of hundreds of thousands of families living in poverty? Why is it a bad thing that I want to see more women in positions of power? Or worry about the safety of homeless people in the winter? Why am I the bad guy for challenging inequality? Society has taught people that white opinions are more important than black feelings and lives, that men’s opinions are more important than women’s feelings and lives, that rich opinions are more important than poor feelings and lives.
DO NOT LET PEOPLE TELL YOU THAT YOURE TOO POLITAL FOR THEIR TASTE. You stick to your guns, you continue to use that bravery, fire and passion inside and challenge those who need it. Yes, you can still have debates, you can still argue and learn and explore other people’s views. If you hear something that makes you think, makes you look at situations or policies different then that’s great, that’s growth. But don’t you ever change your beliefs because of someone trying to belittle and trivialize your thirst for politics and the world around you. Do not allow yourself to be silences. Don’t worry, you can never be too political.