Privilege Blog

All Is Well And How Will All Be Well? Or, Saturday Morning at 9:21am

In my little house surrounded by my little garden, all is well.

The new sleeper sofa for the guest room/study/workout space arrived (I’ll show you all once the space is all set up), the stovetop is clean, and one of several loads of laundry just slowed to a stop. Outside, the native iris are in flower. They’re very short, mostly white, and bloom profusely, looking therefore for all the world like tiny flocks of seagulls caught by tiny threads. The roses are budding and I’ll be able to smell them soon, the dogwood are popping, and forget-me-nots, bleeding hearts and miniature strawberries cover the garden floor.

But our country. I wish I had some useful thoughts here in my well-to-do and largely white suburb but I do not. Well, I know two things. It’s much harder, at the level above any single person’s struggle*, to be Black or Asian or Latino in America than to be white. I know that guns kill more people that not-guns, and that when scared or angry people have guns in their hands other people die in ways that they should not. Beyond that, I know nothing.

We’re making good progress against COVID, for the most part, in most places. But the tools we’d developed “before” to address pandemics were applicable here. What tools do we have to address our other ingrained sorrows?

I don’t know if there is a workable solution. If there is, I don’t know if we as country can agree to institute it, and I don’t know if it could be fully implemented and enforced once agreed upon.

But I won’t assume that my not knowing the answer doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. Other people study psychology, sociology, public policy, and management of resources and surely they know more. Let’s just say yes, they do. In that case, somewhere out there is a network, a team even if they don’t know each other yet, of human beings with the talent and skill and knowledge and willingness to help us as a nation make progress. And if they tell me what to do, I’m in.

Sturdy Gals aren’t fans of surrender.

I wish you a good weekend.


(*I say this because commenters before have taken my statements here to mean that if they’re white they have not struggled. No. I simply mean that on aggregate it’s undeniably much harder to be not-white. Just like it’s hard to be a policeman, but it’s harder to have your child get shot. We have to expand our hearts and understand that shining a light on someone else’s profound hardship doesn’t mean our own is not seen.)

19 Responses

  1. Your parenthetical remark is so beautifully phrased; I will refer to it when I think it is a good idea to explain this concept. Thank you!

  2. I have no idea what the answers are, but I am sure those elusive answers include making the need for community paramount , listening (to everyone), respect for everyone, and listening to what scientists know, top priorities for all of us.

  3. What a poignant summation of the state of our affairs.
    I was recently with a “friend”. I doubt I will see her again as she consistently denies the need for others equity.(Not for a privileged few but for those who have less).
    We stand on each others backs whether we want to believe it or not.

    Good for you Lisa!


    1. @luci, Thank you. And I think those conversations with your “friend” are our task, and we do them until it becomes clear we can’t have any impact.

  4. Not knowing what the answers are, all that I know to do is try to have empathy for others and trust in the scientists (and even they don’t have all the answers).

  5. Please, please, please let those someones figure this out and tell us what to do. Please.

  6. I think the people are there but it’s not enough to be waiting for them to tell you what to do.

    We can continue to be more aware of the struggle and we can struggle with our own bias.

    We can demand that the “team” be empowered and support them, even if it seems like it’s coming with a cost to us.

    We can open those Corporate proxy statements that are filling our inboxes and see if there are any votes we can cast to make sure make sure American Business, which by the way is the source of my future retirement living, is treating their employees, business partners and customers equally.

    1. @RoseAG, That’s a really good point, to look at the proxy statements and try to have an impact that way. And totally agree. This will cost us who have, but it will be worth it.

  7. So well and compassionately put, especially the last part. Privilege doesn’t mean we’re free of struggle or misery — all it means is our struggles aren’t made more miserable due to our skin color, immigration status, sexual orientation/identity, or other characteristic that’s a target of discrimination.

    Since so much of what I consider evil seems to stem from voter suppression in many forms, I’ve started to get involved in redistricting initiatives. Those in power have contorted election maps to crush the voices of those they’re supposed to serve for far too long. My small contribution to the fight, one line of a ward boundary at a time.

  8. It starts with me. I’m old, white and quite privileged. We recently moved to downsize. We left my favorite neighborhood in which we had lived for 31 years. It was a wonderful mix of people. I told my husband that when we choose a condo, I will not live in a condo in which no black people live.

  9. Yes, yes, yes !
    I believe there are newly enlightened US Citizens that transition to complete deniers or become fighters of injustice .

  10. “We have to expand our hearts and understand that shining a light on someone else’s profound hardship doesn’t mean our own is not seen.”

    Thank you for saying this.

  11. Very, very well put. I also feel privileged and know I can, and need to do more for those less well fixed. Pay more attention, and act on what I notice. It’s good to have in mind as we face the next week. Thank you.

  12. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”…Martin Luther King
    Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as “racists.”…Thomas Sowell

    Spoken by two very wise men of Color…

    Character…Integrity…Until ALL of us embrace this concept within ourselves and act on it I’m afraid we are just like lost children looking for someone else to lead us…One can either have Character and Integrity or not…They go hand in hand and are one of the few things for which we have a choice…Let’s hope people start making this choice and begin to shut out the “noise” and concentrate more doing what is Right and Just…In other words…Be a Decent Human Being!

  13. Beautifully put. I am all in in terms of supporting those who are able and willing to guide us. Sometimes life seems like a wild river negotiating difficult shoals, friends, or once friends, who refuse to acknowledge any need for change, and others who surprise me daily as they engage in conversations and wonder how they could have been, even recently so blindly naive. This gives me profound hope.

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