You’ve done it before, you can do it again

The things functional members of a society are expected to know change over time.

You’re expected to know how to use a credit card & a cell phone & an elevator, but not how to use an oil lamp or a or a sundial or a slide rule.

Keeping up with expectations of what you should know is part of how you remain a member of society. And you do it all the time! This was written on and for instagram, a platform that didn’t exist 10 years ago (and now I’ve shared it on a blog, a concept that didn’t exist 30 years ago). Yet here you are reading it, because you learned something new and incorporated that knowledge into your life. If you’ve spent the last two months working from home or helping your kid learn at home or wearing a mask when you go out or limiting your trips to the grocery store or washing your hands more, you did it because you learned something new and incorporated that knowledge into your life.

Right now, if you want to be a functional member of this society, you need to know that it’s deeply flawed. You need to learn to acknowledge those flaws. And you need to know that you have a responsibility to do what you can to make things at least a little bit better (or at least stop actively making them worse).

You need to know that responding to Black Lives Matter with “all lives matter” is a lousy thing to do.

You need to know that excusing pervasive, ongoing police brutality with “it’s just a few bad apples” is a lousy thing to do.

You need to know that responding to a reminder of your privilege with “well I’ve faced hardships too” is a lousy thing to do.

You need to know that finding broken windows or stolen property more important than people’s lives is a lousy thing to do.

You need to know that telling people to object to their persistent, systemic oppression in a more palatable, less disruptive way is a lousy thing to do.

Stop it.

You have a lifetime of practice at with learning new things and incorporating that knowledge into your life. There are a huge number of resources out there to help you learn this stuff. Get to work.

You won’t learn it overnight (I’m still learning). You’ll screw up and feel uncomfortable (I sure do). But it’s what you need to do if you want to be a functional member of this society.