Check Your Political Privilege
My mom has a friendly neighbor, the kind who invites himself over into the backyard because he literally is at the edge of that backyard. Obviously this is a weird time for social friendliness, compared to other summers. But one particular visit came as the world was turning itself over trying to fight for change and justice. And while this guy’s a nice guy, agreeable and all that, when the conversation turned to politics, I was wary. After all, a resounding call during the first few days of the George Floyd protests was that niceness or kindness isn’t the same thing as anti-racism. And kind people aren’t necessarily doing the work to learn about the history of oppression and how their thoughts or opinions can continue that racist social norm. And then I’m directly handed the white-man privilege that my social media channels had been yelling about with the statement:
“The election that I’m most affected by is that of the HOA President.”
Holy shit. HOLY SHIT. We are currently at the mercy of the most temperamental, immature leader of the free world and you’re telling me that the election of our next US executive branch has less of impact on you than that of the HOA organization? While black people are dying and voices on the street are being met with violence and felony convictions thanks to the poor leadership at the top, not to mention the thousands of new coronavirus infections daily? But as bad as that statement was, I did the worse thing — I changed the subject.
At the time I excused it as a need to do more reading and learn the appropriate way to respond. In the meantime I’ve learned that I could read something every day and still not understand as much as the people who are impacted by these policies and societal issues on a daily basis because it’s been a part of their lives. So if I can start a conversation where I automatically get respect due to the unearned privilege of the color of my skin then I’m going to throw out that first word. Now I’m dying to bring this man back across my lawn to challenge him, and challenge myself. It’s time to talk about how that statement is a problem and here’s hoping my social media addiction has provided me with the materials to support that conversation.
Let’s give a hand to the real heroes consolidating resources so that you can never give the excuse I did. My current lifeline is this Justice in June resource (I know it’s August but most months have 30 days and 4 weeks.)
Oh and don’t forget to request your ballot early if your state doesn’t automatically mail it out. This has a great graphic with all the information you need.