Multi-Talented Multi-Tasker

3 Nov

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I’m a multi-talented multi-tasker. I am able to do several things at once. I can figure out my grocery list while in the middle of a 6-mile run. I can time manage my day while doing laps at the pool. As I’m typing this, I’m also editing a story for work, watching a football game and engaged in conversation about this past weekend’s activities.

I also enjoy spinning, reading, long walks on the beach and pancakes.

I’m a woman of various interests.

I’m saying all this because my recent post about street harassment, along with the national conversation the Hollaback video stirred up, has also brought forth the issue of distraction. Specifically, many of the video’s detractors seem to feel that women’s concerns with street harassment is distracting us from the real issues, like that of police harassment of black men.

Interesting, seeing as how not three months ago I wrote another post about how upset I was at the turmoil taking over my hometown of St. Louis with the death of Michael Brown. I was still upset when I took my dog to the vet the following weekend only to have a man say to me, “I’d kidnap that dog and hold him for ransom,” as a way of getting my attention. I was still upset about Michael Brown when a few weeks later a man in my neighborhood with whom I’d only exchanged simple hellos decided to let me know he followed me for several blocks while I was out walking my dog (a separate incident from the one I blogged about last week). I’m still upset about Michael Brown now, even though just this weekend as I was walking to the train station a stranger decided lean in to say, “Hey, ma, looking good” only inches from my ear.

Look at that. I can do two things at once. I can begrudge the actions of several men who refuse to respect my personal space and still fight hard for the men who are being hurt by those sworn to protect them.

It is terribly frustrating that the street harassment video has caused this kind of furor. There is a large crowd of women who are nodding their heads in solidarity with what is happening in that video. But there’s an equally large crowd of men telling women they don’t get the point.

I beg to differ.

I have been dealing with street harassment since I was 11 years old. And yet I’ve still been able to devote my attention to other pressing issues: 9/11, Iraq/Afghanistan, Syria, Russia/Ukraine, Boko Haram, Trayvon Martin/Michael Brown/Jordan Davis/Ranisha McBride.

If I am capable of having feelings about and devoting efforts to all of these issues PLUS expressing discomfort when I know a man’s hello isn’t just a hello, why can’t the detractors? Why can’t they see that racism is an important issue as well as sexism as well as terrorism as well as poverty as well as so many other things?

You don’t have to stretch yourself thin backing causes. But just acknowledging that there are many things for us to fight against helps matters so much. Showing a solidarity with people does more than you can imagine. And it’s possible to be in more than one fight at a time.

photo credit: (Carrie Sloan) via photopin cc

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