"No, thanks. And Condi, call me George. Stop with that ebonics crap."
This site represents things that I, Matt Dragon, though worthy of posting to the internet to be publicly consumed from age 18-27. Many of those things were, and are, wrong. I used words here at the time I hadn't bothered to educate myself about the harms of. The fact they were more widely used then doesn't absolve my use of them. Many of my opinions reek of what I now understand to be white male privilege.
But I'm not going to take those posts or this site down. For one because it wouldn't matter, the internet is forever and people would still be able to find it. But also because it's important to acknowledge that people should and do change over time. Merely changing doesn't reverse the wrongs or forgive us of what we said or did before. But the actions we take in response to those personal changes should be evaluated to see if they can offset at least some of the harms we caused. I no longer believe people are beyond redemption if they put in the work and the communities their prior words or acts hurt decide to accept their help going forward.
Taking this down entirely wouldn't address the harms nor hold me accountable. So instead I'm adding this note and asking people to evaluate for themselves if they think that 2021 Matt has done enough to offset 2010 Matt. To be honest, these were not my worst takes. Around this time I also stated less publicly that when people run from the police they should hit them with their cars to catch them. If you run you must have done something, right? I had an argument with someone about how no one who wasn't guilty would ever confess to a crime. (Sorry random dude in MegaBYTES)
Obviously those takes were bad, uninformed, and I was wrong for voicing then at the time.
I share them because I feel they represent how easy it was to feel empowered as a white male teenager and young
adult despite knowing almost nothing. I share them because I think they represent the rock bottom of my opinions and show how much someone's thoughts can
change when you simply seek out first hand knowledge and then listen.
Those are just terrible opinions I can remember right now. I'm sure there were others. I haven't exhaustively read all the posts here so there may be similar or worse things I said here. But today, I'm writing letters to the editor about the need for civilian oversight over jails and the police and advocating for the police to be taken out of traffic enforcement. I'm speaking at County Commissioners meetings about civilian jail oversight and the need for accountability. I'm constantly trying to unlearn my bad habits and challenge my initial responses to things. Not because the world has changed but because I have learned to listen. Because people took the risk, the time, and the emotional effort to share and luckily I realized I needed to hear them.
So I leave this up, with this now lengthy disclaimer to try to push folks reading my bad takes to also learn to listen, and to be explicit, not always and only listen to white dudes like me. Where I'm at now, I'm trying to lift other voices. Folks actually experiencing the struggles I have ideas about trying to lessen or solve. Folks who's opinions I trust not because they have degrees or status, but because they're talking about their community, their friends, their family, their life, their struggles. For some of my later posts elsewhere, I chose to channel Dennis Miller when naming that blog. That decision didn't age any better than he did. He's now a racist bigot or at least he is publicly, maybe he always was. He's probably beyond redemption at this point. Andrew Gutmann is probably beyond redemption too, but it's honestly not my decision. I think people definitely can change, and they can change for better or for worse.
My whiteness and maleness have given me all the second, third, and fourth chances anyone could ever ask for. It's up to me to prove I've changed for the better. Hopefully this is a step in that direction.