The Detoxing Man is Trusted (to root out injustice wherever it is found).
I do not face oppression in my daily life. As a married white straight-passing gainfully employed able-bodied cisgendered American man who was born into a two-parent household, both of whom held advanced degrees, I know that I won the lottery of privilege. I never faced food insecurity, nor did I fear for my safety. I was neurotypical enough to make friends and date consistently. I did not struggle with eating disorders, mental illness, or chronic pain. I have never been out of work, and every time I have switched positions, it was for an opportunity I genuinely wanted.
I do not say these things as a way of bragging, although when put them all together like that, it it hard to interpret it as anything besides unearned compounding interest since the day I was born. I say this in full recognition of the position I hold within our society that prizes the identity that I have just described. I also say this because I feel an enormous responsibility to provide to others who do not share my story with the same kinds of opportunities that I have been afforded.
And if I cannot provide those things, I should not be trusted. If I cannot extend the world into which I was born to include marginalized populations, I should not be given the power to make important decisions or perhaps even to parent my children. Injustice is all around us, and if I cannot take the privileges that were bestowed to me for just existing and leverage them to create positive change, then I should not be trusted to keep them.
The injustices of women being talked over in a meeting or being objectively paid less than me are easy for me to speak up about, and it costs me nothing to do so. So too can I advocate against the culture-altering injustices of black men and women being murdered while jogging, wearing a hoodie, or after being pulled over and it doesn’t lessen my relative wealth or make me less mentally fit. Asking for all websites and services to be accessible for blind and deaf users doesn’t change the safety I feel in my home. Just as ensuring that transgender youth have access to healthcare doesn’t diminish any of my other unearned rights and privileges.
In fact, there is nothing that I can do to give back the privileges I was born with. I have been entrusted with good fortune, and it is imperative that I never break that trust. That I never rest upon my privilege or try to concentrate yet more power into my own hands. It is essential that I earn the trust that was given, by making it that much easier for others to share in the bounty, to possess what has been denied, to open what has thus far been closed.