I went to a dinner with friends this weekend, some old, some new but all instantly friends thanks to our wonderful host. We talked about life, love, everything such as our cultural obsession with KK’s booty, our ignorance to the going ons around the world, there was definitely a group Tinder session and some talk about Ferguson. We all agreed that we are over the K word and would be happy if they would fade into oblivion. We discussed Hollywood being created as a distraction from the negative in the world and how it still plays that role today. We hit a snag when we got to Ferguson. To give you some background to the group dynamic, it was a group made of mainly minorities in various ways. Some guests were racially diverse, some cultural and some varied in sexual orientation but I felt that we all have varied understandings of facing discrimination. Now I am not one to put weight into someone’s experience. I do not have it tougher cause I’m black than someone who is gay. We both struggle, just in different ways and with different responses. I will say though that unless you are incredibly fair or ambiguous, there are certain traits that are on display for the world to judge. This affects our privilege. I really like this Buzzfeed article on privilege, it keeps it simple, easy to understand and gives you a visual.
Imagine the front row is white men and women, the middle row would often be Asian men and the back row is people of color. Now don’t get me wrong, there are other factors that effect things but it often starts with race and gender. “The closer you were to the recycling bin, the better your odds. This is what privilege looks like. Did you notice how the only ones who complained about fairness were in the back of the room? By contrast, people in the front of the room were less likely to be aware of the privilege they were born into. All they can see is 10 feet between them and their goal.”
So why am I talking about this. When the discussion last night turned to Ferguson, and I brought up my lack of understanding as to why a black teenager is gunned down during a police encounter (for whatever the reason cause no one will agree on what occurred and none of us were there) but a white teenager gets high and is able to snatch a gun and shoot it and they do everything to not kill him but to detain him!!! Why are people so afraid of young black men?!? If you want to call me sensitive, read this and try not to cry…
Well apparently someone last night drank the post racial kool-aid and could not handle what I was saying. After a brief exchange and my questions, I backed off and said we all have our opinions, I just don’t see the need for there to be so much fear and hate, but we all have our opinions. The conversation moved on to simpler things but no one else noticed my sparing partner was still fuming and he soon heatedly interrupted that I was wrong and that this was not a race thing and that he was tired of people using their difference as a crutch. When I calmly tried to explain that it is not a crutch if it is true, the world is not fair and we are not post racial and race does indeed play a role! It was too much for him and to the shock of those who knew him (I did not) he blew up and left. No one could understand why he was so mad except for me. Despite being yelled at (I’m a big girl, I can take it), I understood why he was mad.
Because WHAT IF MINORITIES ARE RIGHT?!? What does it mean if the world isn’t fair?? What does it mean if your life is easier because you were born a white man?? What does it mean if I’m treated differently because I’m black woman?? What does it mean if all those times that you dismissed your minority friends as paranoid or sensitive they really were being singled out?!? It would mean that the fair balanced world where you pulled yourself up by your boot straps is full of shit… Look we all know they lied to us about Columbus!!! Is this really all that surprising??
Life isn’t fair, it’s never gonna be. But don’t ignore your neighbor when he complains about it, cause next time instead of aiming for the recycling bin from his seat behind you, he might aim for the back of your head to give his future child a better shot. Let’s realize that this is a global problem that will not go away just cause you try and deny it, let’s try and change the world instead.