You can’t look at societal problems through the lens of personal identity — well you can, but it’s not productive. Societal dynamics exist regardless of how you the individual behave. To say, “I don’t see gender” or “I don’t see race” is to discount the pervasive experiences of the people in those categories. Rather than being progressive and egalitarian, it’s sexist or racist.

I’m saying it again:

It is not that we have created the patriarchy around us. Or the working conditions, or even the dominant culture. What we have done is colluded with it. We cannot mature inside a culture without having internalized aspects of it. Our ability to change our political environment begins with the understanding of how we have helped create it. Our consciousness is where the revolution begins. Fifty percent of the work we need to do is on ourselves. The other 50 percent is to focus outward and use ideas like stewardship to redesign the practices, policies, and structures that institutionalize what we wish to become.

The we in that sentence is all of us — women participate in upholding patriarchy also, and there are potentially places where people of color participate in upholding racism. It’s great to take responsibility for our own words and actions, but that is still only half the work. Until what is wrong that has been institutionalized gets made right, your personal integrity or lack thereof is largely inconsequential.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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