In my attempt to begin blogging I have run into an interesting and unexpected conundrum: though I love having touchy, interesting, relevant, political conversations with friends and colleagues, I am reluctant to do so on a blog. This is regardless of the fact that I have explicitly set this up as an “experiment” and a “discussion” where I can be wrong, and I will change my mind.
My interests are varied, I have strong opinions, and I have what I think is enough intellect to say things on the internet: there is no shortage of topics to discuss. I want to write about environmentalism and my qualms with the movement as it relates to various anti-science initiatives (anti-vaxxers, anti-GMO movement, etc.); and I want to write about political correctness and how although I recently felt that there was something to the argument that ‘PC Culture’ is working as a censor to free speech, I have come to realize that it is the responsibility of privileged people (i.e. anyone participating in a discourse wherein political correctness can/should be employed) to be polite and politically correct because the words they use otherwise will normalize oppression, turn a blind eye to suffering, and suffocate marginalized voices.
But still, I am stuck. Why should I write about any of this? I am not an expert by any means. I am young, not as well-read as I should be, and not necessarily the source I want people to use for think-pieces (or at least certainly not the only place). Not only that, but I am also not the first to say any of this. If there is any inherent value in being first, then I have lost it: I will not be the first white man to renege on my reluctance to be politically correct, and certainly not the first young person from a small town to have fallen out with religion but soften on hardline positions in University.
The only reason I’m able to own and write on a website while sitting at my computer in my underwear at 10:51pm in the basement of my affluent parents’ modern, Canadian home is because I was born into a position of privilege. Though I don’t necessarily feel guilty for this (maybe I should), I do feel like my rambling has the potential to take away from the voices of others who desperately need to be heard.
Yet I write this now. I am stuck between two opposing ideas: the first that I am in a privileged position and am undeserving of this voice, and the second that I have a voice and therefore an obligation to use it (regardless of anyone listening).
I will try my best to write out my opinions and explain my thoughts, understanding full well that I may not deserve this platform and that I am probably causing problems for people who don’t need more of them. If you are one of those people, please contact me, I’d love to hear from you and for you to convince me to stop blogging.
Below is a quote from my sarcastic and wonderful friend Shannon who studies social psychology and calls the thing I am dealing with a kind of ‘imposter syndrome’.
“Kostyn is white AF but at least he’s kinda genderqueer, so that helps with marginalization which is apparently required in order to validate his opinions and experiences.” – Shannon, “21, also white, also privileged, also genderqueer”
This blog entry is entirely an attempt to justify further writing and current privilege while conveying frustration. For example: those I just used words were too big and too academic, and too much like bluffing my intellect. I’m writing this to make myself feel less bad about having lots of opportunities when others have so few because of where I was born and what I look like. Building vocabulary is important as a journalist and an academic but it’s also important to translate and to communicate well (not to ‘dumb-down’, but to simplify for clarity).
This blog was edited by the brilliant 21-year-old Shannon, quoted above, and her adjustments and suggestions made this readable, —or in my case, postable. She also, correctly, pointed out that the end of the previous paragraph was a non-ending. So here is one:
All it takes is attitude.
Also, check out Shannon’s Blog: No Marketable Skills