Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Privilege is a bitch to spell

Black lives matter. We can say it. We can mean it. But don't let's pretend all lives matter.
If we really meant all lives, it wouldn't be so damned hard to convince my community to allow a homeless shelter in. If we really meant that, we'd actually help the mentally ill and disabled. But we don't. Some lives matter. Some of them are black and some of them are white. Most of them are white and the ones whose voices are heard most are male.

A note on privilege. I haven't written or commented more about white privilege because that word's too hard to spell. Privlidge, privaledge, privledge....

In all seriousness though, I think white people who disregard the existence of inequality are stuck in the possible precedent admitting someone's been mistreated based on their skin color will create and how it might impact someone from their own group down the line and mostly they're stuck in themselves and their own suffering in this life. We all have suffering in our lives. Every one of us. And here's where I'm at with that. I hate that. But more than that I hate that amid someone's own suffering, they're so attached to their pain, so afraid of letting go of their own suffering they can't see someone else's.

I want all my white friends to know, that if you're honest about that word, "privilege" you can still complain. Your suffering is still real. As silly as it sounds, I think some white people are reluctant to admit their privilege because they think it means that nothing can be wrong in their lives, that if you have a privileged life, you can't have problems. But that's not true.

The existence of privilege does not negate all inequity in the world. Among the best parts of being human, I think, is the drive toward fairness, the need for it and the fighting for it. Admitting privilege doesn't mean you can't complain about how the mentally ill are treated or the bum deal you were given with your home or student loans. It just means you can extend a hand to convince others to join in the struggle for a more equal world. And that, is worth doing. Even if I can't spell for shit, I can reach out a hand, and, with all my faults, try to connect myself with the human family in its efforts to be ever greater.

So reach out a hand. Help someone else up. We are better together.