Willis Gordon is a stand up comedian, actor, author, essayist, musician, activist, and veteran of the War on Terror. Gordon is committed to quality entertainment and the improvement of our communities through art, action, and inclusion. He organized the “Rock the Block” voter registration concert in 2016, and will continue the tradition in 2018. He is the author of The Long Road Home and The Empty Boulevards as well as the political column “Torn and Frayed” in the Drunken Absurdity ‘zine. He is also the host of “Impolite Conversation,” a YouTube discussion show about finding solutions to our community’s problems without getting stuck on our differences. A firm optimist, Gordon believes love is not just tender, but tough, and the only way the arc of history bends towards justice is through the hard work of ordinary people. He writes the monthly column "The Road Forward: Practical Discussions on Seeking a Better World" for Unlikely Stories Mark V.
We can’t give in to the sheer volume of problems. The people who want to stifle our voices want us to be overwhelmed and checked out so that we don’t engage in our communities and vote in these crucial elections.
It was recently discovered that 22% of Millennials in the US either haven’t heard of, or aren’t sure if they’ve heard of the Holocaust... That same study found that 11% of ALL US ADULTS fell into these categories.
A big reason there are fewer bigots in the military than in the civilian world is that prejudice does not stand well under contact. It’s hard to hate or stereotype a people if you are constantly confronted with their reality. When you eat together, laugh together, work together, and yes, sometimes suffer together, it becomes near impossible to create a false or hateful image of them.
We have to work together, side by side in pursuit of a common goal. That doesn’t mean we never have to disagree. It doesn’t mean we don’t have our issues or qualms: This isn’t kumbaya, this is survival.
Many people in this country have been conditioned to believe that racism is an American-made product and that something can only be racist if it's filled with or inspired by hatred. That's not the case. Subconscious bias is a massive part of racism.
Now cannot be the time for passivity; love is kind, but it is also fierce. As we go forward we can’t get lost in the weeds arguing with people about the very basics of human decency. People know right from wrong, and if they want so badly to hurt other people we know exactly where they stand.