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A Letter to the World of Everything2

My fellow men and women of Everything2,

On April 6th, 2013, I became a member of this society. I remember the day when I opened up Google, typed into the search box "Star Trek is stupid," and hit the enter key on my computer at work. There were many (many, many) choices to choose from on this...uh...topic, but one caught my eye. I clicked on the link, and lo, a writeup!

Absorbing the writeup as I read it, I was utterly fascinated and amused. It was a wonderful experience! So enjoyable was this work of writing, I showed it to my wife, my biological brother, and to my friends. They, too, enjoyed the writeup.

This experience stuck with me. At my next chance, I went back to the site (E2) and began to explore it. I saw so many different topics and views and writers. I began to read about being a member of this community. This site was a place where one's skill in writing was judged, and not so much the content. With writing skill taking precedence over content, I could hardly believe this site existed. My love for writing pushed me to become a member of this society, especially since becoming one was free! I couldn't wait to contribute.

Excited, I coughed up a draft which had theological implications (naturally) and pushed it onto the board for all to see. I was eager to see what would happen! The following day, when I had a chance to log on, my smile faded rather quickly. I had already received numerous messages, but not of a desirable nature. Harsh, derisive, and abrasive words were directed my way in regard to the content, and I was shocked. However, there were a few who offered criticism on the writing. I later discovered that they are editors.

These editors told me that if I were to bring up such topics, I would have to do more research and offer more material, as with any other topic. The first few writeups were removed. My interest in the site began to wean, and questions began to rise, such as, "Is it even worth my time?" A few noders kept messaging me, though, encouraging me to stay. Put in the time and effort! Offer substance, they said. I made the decision to "man up" and stay the course.

Ever since then, I have been trying to post writeups that have time and effort invested in them, because you, my fellow noder, are spending your time to read it. It is only fair. My writeups have generally been centered on theology, and so my road has been somewhat...bumpy. The major part of the audience being liberal, atheistic, or agnostic (according to my observations), I have found myself hesitating to click the "Publish" button sometimes. Nevertheless, there has always been a noder who has encouraged me to keep on keeping on. I do not say this in an attempt to insult anyone, but rather to convey my condition and emotional state at the time.

Many interesting conversations have I had with a number of you. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to all of you for engaging me in those conversations. My faith has been tried over and over as a result of being here, and consequently has grown stronger. I realized that this site has so many intelligent noders, many of which I have grown to respect.

There came a phase in which I tried to conform myself to the liberalistic view, because I wanted to earn respect here. But then it hit me. If I deny my personal beliefs and pretend to be someone else---then I have lost respect for A.M.Gulenko. E2, you have served to remind me never to deny who I am, and not to change things within my beliefs or thinking in order to have respect from those who can't respect you for who you already are. I respect people who stand firm in what they believe and are not swayed. Therefore, I must do the same. This is not to say that no one must ever change, but that we must never deny ourselves. I have changed my beliefs when I saw profound evidence and reason to do so. Today, I am unchanged.

My fellow noders, there is much I would like to thank you for. You have taught me much, and I will employ that which I have learned here in more ways than one. Please accept my sincerest thanks, and may this site, this nation, continue to teach strength to all who come across it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the U.S. noders!

On a different note ....

Here's my 2 cents for the day: either you want to be an ally to a marginalized group, or you don't. 

If you do, there's a whole world of information out there you can use to educate yourself. We're not living in 1980 anymore; many resources are just a Google search away. It's not up to any given member of the marginalized group to educate you. 

If you decide the problems of the marginalized group in question are no big deal to you, or that thinking about them too hard makes you feel uncomfortable, or that the social injustices they face pale in comparison to some other issue and you don't want to spend your time worrying about what you think of as being lesser problems, that's also your choice! We all have to prioritize our time and energy

But if you don't take the basic steps of educating yourself about issues like racism, classism, sexism, ablism, homophobia and privilege, you are likely to eventually do or say something that will come off as not very cool, and someone may then call you out on it. Heck, even if you do take those basic steps, you're likely to get it wrong someday and stick your foot right down your throat in a conversation. One of the challenges for people who do have privilege isn't knowing the right answers, it's being aware of that a particular question or problem exists.

And when someone calls you out, you have a few choices in your response.You can shrug and let it go, because hey, you chose to remain ignorant and you knew this was bound to happen, right? Or you can take a step back and politely say "Whoops, sorry, I will try to do better next time" and follow up with some attempt at self-education. Or you can start thrashing around insisting you aren't a bigot and demanding a retraction

Educating yourself is a whole lot more graceful than that last choice.

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