Free to Be, You & Me (a Little on Privilege)

I just got to hear my little sisters sad voice over the phone as she mustered enough strength to tell me that her long awaited visit would have to wait until next summer.

I could hear small cracks in her voice that betrayed exhaustion, and weariness. She is my baby sister, and I cannot stand to hear her cries.

I think for anyone who is my friend, there has been a slow change in my focus. I don’t want to just talk about the things that make me happy (and goodness, there are so many) when there is so much actively hacking at my existance. And for those who would dismiss said pain by asking that I refocus, I want to ask- why does my pain make you uncomfortable? Why is the demand of your notice not to mourn with me but rather a demand that I make my pain presentable?

I have not seen my sister in 5 years. This is a grievance. I have not met my youngest niece and nephew. This is an afront to me. I have not sat for an evening with my family in over 5 years and I will wail like a banshee and cry and if you don’t want to be a witness to it then you can look away. But do realize that your ability to look away- to not be confronted by this reality, to take a break from it is a rivilege so many lack.

Immigration has become such a loaded, racialized topic, constructed by people who are afforded power by privilege of their skin color, their gender, their money. 

What is privilege? Privilege is the amount of things that you can afford to not think about. Privilege is an unspoken benefit, an assumed right, an understood perk. Am I saying your life isn’t hard? No. Everyone has hard lives. Everyone has struggles. I am sure if you sat Carlos Slim, or Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet down they would gladly speak to you of current troubles or past hard times. 

Privilege does not negate that peoples lives are difficult. It simply acknowledges that there have been systems put in place that benefit a certain set of people- and it is the acknowledgement of this intersection that allows us to see the cracks in the castles we’ve built and make something better.

I don’t want to be part of a world where people are forced into a box built by the words and actions of those who can build otherwise. We are all architects in this- we can tear these systems down.

We can build castles greater than any fairy tale could assume- castles where families can be together, where people have the liberty to be themselves as seamlessly as society permits rich white males to be. We can allow for a multitude of expression and make for better fairy tales than have been ever told because they will be real, and they will be ours- but we have to do it together.


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