We, the People of Color
Most days I wish I weren't reasonably smart or insatiably curious or so willing to learn everything there is to learn. All those things make me absorb information every day of my life in a world where information is right at my literal fingertips. Most days, if not all days, I wish I were oblivious to the plight of our nation and the struggles of the world, but that privilege doesn't belong to me.
I was having a conversation with one of my best friends a few weeks back and we talked about this idea of privilege. My white, male friend doesn't believe it exists. You can't lump a whole group of people together that way. Not every white person is privileged, not every white man even more so. Same old, same old over here in America.
That's the kind of stuff I wish I didn't care about. Maybe life would be so much simpler if I didn't know I would have to work 10 times as hard as my friend to "succeed" in the world. Maybe being a complacent person of color would be more peaceful. Maybe I'd sleep better at night if I didn't fear for the legal status of my family because I know what that all means.
It's so easy for me to fester a hate for this country, my country, in my heart. In a world with racist, sexual offender presidents of all shapes and shades, it's easier to raise my middle finger to the air out of pure, unadulterated contempt. But I've never had the luxury of easy and I don't want it.
A little while ago now, I visited a friend in the South and I didn't hide my fear so well. I had an idea of what it would be like for me down there. I looked over my shoulder a little more than I ever have, metaphorically and literally. I kept my mouth shut as best I could and I am ashamed to say that I was glad for my light skin privilege more than ever before. But people were nice down there, in their different world and different culture. Even if it was all on the surface and even if the depths of the South still won't welcome me, I'm alright with the few.
Taking the hard road to understanding is... hard. Every cell in my body wants to ignore the notion of worldview and cultural perspectives. I don't want to accept that racist people are racist because they're scared. I don't want to see that fear and empathize with it, but I think I have to. Even if it is just for my own sake, I have to forget the easy road to America's "success." We people of color are good at being part of the difficult parts of this country. I think it's up to us. Damn, damn, damn. Doesn't that fucking suck?