Okay, so this is my first blog post in a very long time because I am on a tear. Basically, I’m pissed.
When I last ran for AOTA Vice-President, diversity in the profession was rightfully a major issue. I was glad to see that as I believe I have shown myself to me a strong advocate for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) in our profession and our society. During the “campaign” I heard from several practitioners and students who, in one way or another told me that because I am white, a male and Cis, my opinions were irrelevant. It’s true folks. I am openly white, male, and Cis. I am also Gay and have been an OT for 38 years and supported JEDI initiatives actively in my paid and volunteer work.
Today I read a response to a thread where my (unpopular with some) opinion that a boycott of AOTA Inspire 2024 will not achieve the outcomes that some people hope to achieve. I believe that economic boycotts of states are largely ineffective and that boycotting our professional conference will have zero impact on the discriminatory and hateful legislation in Florida. I believe that it is more likely that it will have the impact of leaving our profession and our professional organization in a weaker place. The response read, “Oh Ew. Thanks so much, cis, white man, for letting us know what is and isn’t helpful for supporting people.”
Evidently being white, male, and Cis, trumps the fact that I am a 61-year-old Gay male who has volunteered for LGBTQIA+ organizations and been involved in advocacy for marginalized populations for decades. The fact that I am white, male, and Cis renders all experience and insight useless. I no longer deserve the respect that you might think would be shown to a colleague who has practiced for 38 year and volunteered at the state and national level for almost that long.
Recently, the practice of mining social media for posts that can be used to help enrage others to support your position is becoming more common. If you want to convince people that your viewpoint is the only acceptable one, it is easier if they are angry and it is easier for them to be angry if you give them targets. No need to think beyond a sound bite or single Instagram post.
I am completely fine if you disagree with my opinion. It happens ALL the time. And I am aware that there is, the very slight chance that I could be wrong about Inspire 2024. But come at me with logic. Don’t discount who I am and all that I have done and contributed because of the color of my skin, my gender, and that I like to think I am butch. Shouldn’t we all be better than that?
The opinions expressed in my blog are personal and neither represent the views of my employer nor any organization.