One great (?) thing about being a journalist is that you get to do a lot of your learning in public.
I made a series of mistakes last week on this website and I want to share what I did, why it was wrong, and how I ended up harming people that I respect the most.
When I posted a tweet that included my opinion, I tagged people who I had learned a lot from on that topic, thinking that I was amplifying their expertise.
This is the wrong thing to do. Not only is it wrong to assume they'd agree with me, I did it in a way that was tokenizing.
This is, I've come to realize, a pattern of mine, as I'm someone who for some reason has a blue check, a relatively large platform, and benefits from white privilege.
Just because you want to make a point doesn't make it okay to draw people into your arguments or discussions.
What ended up happening was in my own eagerness to assert my position publicly, and align it with voices I admire, I created a toxic environment.
And I did it in a way that was completely oblivious to the fact that the voices I admire don't or can't engage the same way I do.
There's more to this, which I've tried to articulate clumsily before but haven't succeeded.
My writing, which shares a lot of the same qualities as my tweets, has caused a lot of damage for the same reasons—it's loud, aggressive, and makes many white privileged assumptions.
As I was trying to isolate all these problems in the discourse (AH I SWORE I WOULDN’T SAY THAT WORD) I realize that one of the biggest problems is me.
And it completely undermines my own argument—which is to listen to the needs of other people—if I'm abusing my own power.
I’ve tried hard to change course in my writing to cover people, topics, and causes I've previously ignored because it was "easier" to stick to my affluent, white-centered focus.
But I still find myself making mistakes online when the aggressive old me tries to dominate.
I am sorry to the people who have been hurt by my writing and my words due to my privilege and ignorance. I still have a lot of damage to repair and I promise to do better.
And my deepest appreciation to the #unurbanist community, which is helping me unlearn more every day.
Here's a better link to support http://unurbanist.com —and, again, instead of sharing my tweets, please share the knowledge that I learned from here
You can follow @awalkerinLA.
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