Who is Zack Ford?

 Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I blogged about the trail I blazed…

Who am I?  Glad you asked.

I’m just a regular guy, I think.  Well, maybe.  I don’t know what “regular” means or if it’s something I want to be!  All I can say for myself is I’ve had some unique experiences and I have some unique identities.  Most importantly, I resent the idea that millenials are apathetic, because I care a lot about making a difference in other people’s lives!  Here are some of the specifics about me and why I write:

First of all, my name really is Zack Ford.  It’s important to me that you know that.  I’m a real person.  When I say things, I stand behind them.  People who blog anonymously or write anonymous letters but expect to be taken seriously do not get a whole lot of respect from me, because it seems to me they are more or less cowards. Here’s a post with a more extensive perspective on this issue. (Those of you who are anonymous bloggers that are aggravated by this are welcome to protest, but without a name behind your words, your protest will mean little to me!)

I work in Student Affairs in Higher Education.  You should know this, because when I blog, I have NO intentions of representing in any way the university or college at which I work.  I am proud to live in America (though I may not always be crazy about it) because I have the right to express my own personal thoughts.  Most of my posts will be motivated by a context of social justice that parallels the work I strive to do in my field, but I wanted to make sure this disclaimer was clear.  I represent only myself. (If you’re curious, I earned my Master’s in this field from Iowa State University in 2009.)

I am gay.  This is important and yet it is not.  “Gay” does not describe my personality—merely my motivations.  I care about being out, because I do not want to benefit from heterosexual privilege.  I am who I am, and my sexual orientation is only a small part of that, but it has a great impact on my experience in this society.  I want that to be known and understood.

I am an atheist.  Coming out as an atheist was much more difficult than coming out as gay was, and this difficulty persists.  Unlike being gay, being an atheist is a choice, and a choice I make proudly.  Like my sexual orientation, I am quite out about my worldview because I do not wish to benefit from Christian or theistic privilege if I can help it.  God is found in many places in many forms to many people, and I want the world to know that I am not one of them, and I want people to understand why.

I also happen to be white, male, and nondisabled.  As a result of these identities, I benefit from many privileges in our society.  I hope to find opportunities to address these issues from a lens of social justice.  We achieve social justice when we all work to resist our privileges and become allies to those who are oppressed.  I hope to convince you to be an ally to the LGBT community and the non-believer community, but I would be quite the hypocrite if I did not also work to be an ally on behalf of others simultaneously.

zackpianoI am a musician.  Music, to me, is the closest thing I have to “spirituality.”  There is an amazing emotional bond to be found through music.  My piano is the friend who always listens, and my song is something I can share joyfully with any person.  Music is relaxing, invigorating, and powerful.  It can challenge us or comfort us.  It is a guide and a destination itself.  Music is my favorite form of therapy, and my favorite gift to share.  Most of what I do in my life does not involve music so much anymore, but I cherish every moment that does. (If you’re curious, I got my bachelor’s in Music Education from Ithaca College in 2007.)

I am snarky and an ENTJ through and through.  So far, this introduction has been pretty proper and straightforward.  I mean, I seriously want you to know who I am and what I am about, because that should inform your choice to read this blog.  But, you really have to know that I am often quite sarcastic.  When I post, it’s usually in response to some sort of emotional trigger, and I sure enjoy some good banter!  If you have ever watched The West Wing or House or read xkcd or Questionable Content, then you might understand what I am talking about.  If you haven’t watched those shows or read those comics, please start now!  They exude a certain kind of brilliance I really appreciate.

I am writing this blog because I have a lot of thoughts I want to share with the world, and I am serious about my intent.  I want to make people think!  I want to challenge norms!  I want to help people recognize some of the things I see in the world that do not need to be as awful as they are.  I really am motivated by making this world a better place, so you will see that I intentionally avoid language that is specifically designed to hurt people, like “retarded” or “faggot.”  If I get emotionally charged, I will sometimes use words like “fuck” and “shit”  because you know what?  Sometimes I get fuckin’ pissed about the shit that happens in this world!  If that offends you, please loosen up!  You are probably making it harder to enjoy life than you need to!

Comments are more than welcome.  I want debate!  I want feedback!  I want to know how other people are reacting to my ideas!  I want to learn from this experience! I created a blog to attract a community of learners.  Please do not hesitate to share your feedback either through comments or by emailing me directly at zackfordblogs@gmail.com.  I am quite diligent about responding. (Here is my contact page.)

If you have any questions, let me know.  Happy reading!