Fear and shame are tools of the oppressor. They use these tools to keep us from demanding humanity. These tools are constantly being used in various ways and it is now more than ever that we need to name these tools anywhere we see them being used.
In my work on psychological safety, I constantly note the needed foundations for safe relationships: trust, honesty, respect and the prioritization of safety throughout. They are all intertwined and it is almost impossible to have one without the other. Yet we see these seemingly basic human needs being dismissed by people in positions of power daily.
I had reasoned this out in my mind; one of two things I had the right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.- Harriett Tubman
As the United States government continues to make decisions that do not align with majority of their people’s beliefs, it becomes more apparent that not only are they not interested in a safe relationship like they promised, but that this relationship has been built on fear and shame.
The biggest fear being thrown in our faces is the fear of death. Specifically, the fear that we will be killed for speaking against oppression in any and all forms. They want us to cower at the thought of losing our lives to them even though we are already losing it under their oppression. They want us to be ashamed of our truths and ignorant to the truths of others. They want an unsafe relationship fueled by fear, shame with no room for trust, honesty, or respect.
We have access to truth more than ever before. We are closer to death than ever before. These truths drive out fear. This closeness drives out shame. Mass murders at the hand of the oppressor happening anywhere are proof enough that they can happen anywhere. Death is an inevitable part of life and should not be used as a tool for power and greed. The next time you fear death please think about where it is coming from. Audre Lorde told us that "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." When we prioritize the fear of death over the pursuit of an oppression-free life for all, we build with the master's tools. The next time you fear death please think about where it is coming from.
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