Sir, man on the street who I have never met before and will likely never see again, what I really want to say to you is that oppressing me will not benefit you.
What I really want to say is that I understand you’ve been horribly oppressed by a society who turns a blind eye to your problems. This is not ok. You have been born into an environment you did not choose, born into problems you did not create, and born into oppression that will likely remain until the day you die.
And if you’re pissed, sir, I get it. I reserve no judgment for being pissed about your incredibly unfair treatment. But please, sir, please don’t even for a minute entertain the thought that treating someone else poorly will free you. Just as hate does not bear fruits of love, neither does oppression bear fruits of liberation.
Sir, I have never met you. I do not know you. But we are tied together. Like it or not, we are bonded. Just as our oppression is connected, so too is our liberation. Neither of us will be free until we both are free.
What I really want to say to you is that I get pissed too. What I really want to say is that I do not know your pain but I know my own and I do not wish it upon anyone.
But sir, being pissed is not how we as people progress. Yelling offensive slurs at me as I bike by you will not change your current situation in life. It is a false understanding of power, one that ultimately does more harm than good. We do not progress by tearing each other down.
What I really want to say to you, sir, is that if you want a temporary fix to a long-term problem, then maybe you’ve made the right choice tonight. But sir, I’d much prefer that you join me as we work toward something better, something different than what we’re living right now. And actually, I believe you’d prefer that too.