progress is precarious

Dr. Maya Angelou thinks you should vote:

As a country, we can scarcely perceive the magnitude of our progress.

My grandmother and my uncle experienced circumstances that would break your heart. When they went to vote, they were asked impossible questions like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” When they couldn’t answer, they couldn’t vote.

I once debated with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about whether an African American would ever be elected president. He believed it would happen within the next 40 years at the time—I believed it would never happen within my lifetime.

I have never been happier to have been proven wrong.

And since President Barack Obama’s historic election, we’ve moved forward in courageous and beautiful ways. More students can afford college, and more families have access to affordable health insurance. Women have greater opportunities to get equal pay for equal work.

Yet as Rev. King wrote, “All progress is precarious.”

So don’t sit on the sidelines. Don’t hesitate. Don’t have any regrets. Vote.

Hey, here’s my wild Steven Universe theory … The Homeworld both represents forces of violent colonialism, slavery, and bigotry, and also is made up of individuals that are each ultimately portrayed as three dimensional people with sympathetic motivations and needs. And why is that? 

Because colonialism, slavery, and bigotry all exist in the real nonfictional world, and all exist because of the actions and inactions of every day people.  Yes, all people - but I’m looking at you specifically, fellow white fans!!  We all knowingly and unknowingly exploit the oppressive structures we live in, to get a leg up, to get by, to protect ourselves and our families.  And we hurt people.  And most of the time, we rationalize away that fact, and we refuse to face it, because facing it is hard, frightening, and humbling work.   But it’s the exact kind of work that Steven Universe champions, and we do it a great disservice to ignore that message!

SU is not about how a few “Villains” with cruel, wicked intentions ruin it for all the Good People of the world.  SU is about how every last living creature in the world has a right to be alive in their own way, about understanding how and why we hurt each other in our attempts to to live - AND - it’s about taking responsibility for the ways we do great harm to each other, and taking active steps to change that.  And perhaps most subversively, SU is about how decent intentions are not enough if you aren’t willing to change yourself.  If you don’t fight to be truly kind in this world, you’ll stay trapped in toxic systems and relationships where you keep hurting and being hurt. 

Again and again, SU has stressed that “healing” is neither an easy or a simple process.  Steven’s greatest abilities are of course not his sparkly magical ones, but his great empathy and willingness to understand every living creature - intertwined with his choice to defend those who are being hurt, even when doing so means he has to stand up against the people he loves (Monster Buddies, Mirror Gem). 

If you walk away from SU thinking that you’re nothing like Homeworld Gems and our culture in the USA is nothing like Homeworld’s, you’re wrong.  If you only take away the theme that bigots also deserve a chance to learn and heal, and don’t also understand bigots must work hard to rectify the harm they’ve caused, you’re missing half the show!  If you thinking that the show’s message is simply a passive “love everyone,” you’ve missed an incredible vital message that love and healing take action, and a willingness to challenge both injustice and your own assumptions about people.

Keep reading