awareness ≠ understanding ≠ acceptance

I’ve thought a lot about this title since it first appeared as a Facebook status from a friend of mine. A message like “awareness ≠ understanding ≠ acceptance” is quick to unmask privilege. It’s borderline incendiary–and for good reason. It’s a tough pill to swallow when a lot of what I feel I can do is spread awareness or promote acceptance. But my friend is right. These aren’t the same things. And they rely on different modes of expression. There’s much, much more to do besides talk, but what do we do when our principal mode of engaging others is in writing? For those in the academy, where does this place us on the sliding scale of activism?

Bringing it down to earth a bit more, what am I doing wrong? What are you doing wrong?

What are we doing right? And what can we do to make things right?

What do you think?

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