Speaking Up Matters @mrdearybury

On July 15th, someone sent me a tweet, maybe two. I regret I missed those since I don't follow the person and, hey, I'm working full-time. After reading them a few moments ago, I realized my response would end up as several long tweets, and then I said, "Why not put it in a blog entry?"


I regret I missed your tweet when it came out earlier this week. You ask a few questions that I cannot answer. I will not speculate as to the motivations of others. As such, I can only offer my uninformed opinions and thoughts.

My training in Crucial Confrontations suggests to me that trying to have this conversation over twitter, email would be difficult, if not impossible. Also, I am not empowered speak on anyone's behalf except my own. The older I get, the more certain I am that certainty about how wrong others are is wrong. So, here's my imperfect response.

A Quick Acknowledgement

First, please allow me to acknowledge your efforts and those of others. I refer to the efforts of those in LGBTQ+ Communities, as well as BlackLivesMatter. This has never been more needed, especially in education, given the level of hate and bias. I cannot support hatred of individuals. I do not accept LGBTQ+ as a reason for poor treatment of other people.

Being who you are should not result in blind bias or hatred. I reject that and the frames that people have adopted that result in such hate.
Matthew 5:15-16

What Do I Believe?

I remain someone dedicated to the advancement of all marginalized groups. That means that I continue to supplement my limited life experiences. I do so with information on how to support the LGBTQ+ community, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

But let's be honest. I'm a Christian who works to make money for my family. I have already failed the fundamental test that Jesus set a wannabe follower. Nothing I write, say or do will measure up to that standard. Nothing others try to shame me with will touch that failure. I am a sinner.
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
As a Latinx who grew up in the Republic of Panama and then Texas, I have my own perspective. My own identity as a cisgender, a bilingual/bicultural speaker, a person caught between two cultures, I have not suffered the slings and arrows of bias, prejudice that Black or LGBTQ+ members have.

And, since I speak and write in Standard English, I enjoy a level of white privilege due to my skin color (from my Swedish father) and my last name ("Guhlin" is Swedish, not Latino), I know that my life experience does not give me the authority to speak in more certain terms.

So, I offer my perspective in a tentative way.

My Perspective

First, my perspective matters little. I am not the one who has been allegedly harmed or hurt. Although I sympathize and support the views of the LGBTQ+ community, I am nothing but an observing supporter.

My view comes from my time and privilege in K-12 education and being a member. My own identity is more accepted than others. This is true in K-12 education, and in the non-profit organization we work to represent our best selves. I've explained why I enjoy such privilege already. It's ironic that I have faced my own small share of discrimination in Texas. No doubt, it would be even greater if I were LGBTQ+. It is wrong that who a person is should result in discrimination. My own dual citizenship teaches me that this is part of the human condition.

Organizations Can Amplify Our Service To Others

The non-profit organization you reference has served me as a member (teacher, tech director, employee). It has been a great organization for me as a cisgender, Latinx. Whether as a member, Area 20 Director back in the day, as a SIG officer, it's enabled me to grow. More importantly, it has amplified my own efforts to serve others.

In my own experience, I have found that celebrating diversity, including Brown/Black and LGBQT+, is the source of our collective strength. In fact, it is the differences that make any membership powerful. The power of a member organization flows from the membership and who they select for placement as board members.

It is only our authentic love and appreciation of people as they are, not as we would have them be, that transforms us for the better. The truth does set you free.

As ignorant as I am of the specifics of the struggle you have lived and endured, I have some small measure of empathy from my own life experiences with willful bias, prejudice and discrimination. I wish you well as you seek to resolve the challenges and vote in alignment with those who affirm life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

Simply, whenever our worst selves arise, we must strive to be better. Understanding why is but the first step.

O God, be merciful to me a sinner.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


doug0077 said…
Very thoughtful, Miguel. I wish I had your insight. Good to hear your voice.


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