I am saddened that in the 21st century this nation has not made more progress into equality and basic needs for all people.
Having visited different countries in the industrialized and in the developing world, having studied the history of colonialism and prejudice in Francophone Africa, the basic reality that as humans we continue to judge each other and care for ourselves and our own whole ignoring the pain of our neighbors pains me.
I have studied France’s relationship with its colonial history and its institutionalized prejudice against Muslims as a critical theory model for what I see with American imperialism and what I see with our own world legacy of hatred.
Race always enters into these studies because the African American experience shares a lot of commonalities with the French of Muslim Descent community; neither population asked to be enslaved by an empire. Yet, both populations are now belittled and mistrusted by their historical populations.
And both populations are judged and denied opportunities based on their appearance, on something genetic.
It’s so sad.
It’s 2020, America. We have outdated social classes, corrupted government systems, unsustainable consumption, unattainable educational opportunities, a capitalistic drive that values the work over the person, and a healthcare system that threatens our financial wellbeing more than it helps.
So it’s hard.
And I am fortunate to be white. But I am a woman, and I am a woman with a disability, so I understand the lens of judgment. I live every day wondering if I will be judged inferior or incapable because I walk a little funny.
But at least I don’t have to live every day in fear that I may be perceived as dangerous, or manipulated into a situation where I am suddenly an enemy merely because of the color of my skin. I won’t be killed for being dark skinned and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Or near the wrong people.
It’s so sad that some of the best, most helpful people I know have to live in this reality.
That Black men have to swallow their fear.
That Black parents have to hope their sons come home.
That people with power
- whether the power of law (the criminal justice system which favors the white),
- the power of occupation and authority (police officers, prison guards),
- the power of messaging (advertising, media, even entertainment)
- or the power of mass control (our government and the systems perpetuated by it)
can continue this nonsense of us against them is a classic battle of the “haves” and the “have nots.” It’s really time you listened to your mama and started to share.
Anyway, on a much lighter note, I made macaroni and cheese for the teenager.
I used rigatoni and made a sauce of mostly cheddar and 1% milk, with a chunk of Monterey Jack and a chunk of dill havarti.
I put the rest of my fresh spinach in there, put some smoked paprika, purple peppercorns, and smoked provolone on top and it was amazing.
I called it rainbow macaroni and cheese which got me thinking of the larger racial and prejudice issues.
And that made me sad.
But I did have a very heartening conversation with the teenager today. She’s cleaning her room because, as she told me, she needs to get her act together to be able to help me more.