Follow Keanu's Lead: Use Willful Ignorance for Good

Artwork by Alison Chisholm

One of my bestest besties (I refer to her as my soulmate and/or my everything) has a very fun blog called The Year of Keanu where she posts weekly life lessons based on Keanu's awesomeness.

In a recent(ish) post, Making Change Through Willful Ignorance, she describes a new tactic for making the world better: tell yourself things are already as they should be and react accordingly.

"What if we actively choose to ignore and disregard all the barriers that prevent us from seeing the change we want to see? What if we chose to say things like 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Defund the Police' in casual conversation, disregarding how uncomfortable it might make some people? What if we chose to forget the oppressor's feelings and just speak up about the world we want to see? What if we choose to forget our fears about the system and just continue doing our part to repeat the names and fight for the legacy of the people who lost their lives to it? What world would we be living in then?"

Obviously, doing this isn't enough to transform our racist, sexist, ableist, and otherwise prejudiced systems, but it's a fun tactic for those of us who find ourselves in more privileged circles. The more we talk about these things with a "we're all on the same page here" friendly casualness, the more those who disagree could feel like mayyyyyybe they are in the wrong wrong. Or at least, in the minority of perspectives.

Basically, it's treating prejudice views the way I treat flat-earthiness: as if anyone who is reasonable would know it's wrong and that society, as a whole, recognizes this.

Best-case scenario? A little friendly gaslighting happens for the bigots and they question themselves. Worst-case scenario? We've still made our views clear.

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