Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Perimeter of Poverty

I rarely feel or experience white privilege as such. As someone who grew up in poverty in rural Texas, I always thought the battle was between the poor and the rich. My entire experience growing up corroborated that fact.

At no other time do I feel white privilege more acutely than when poor black people are protesting. But do the privileged even protest? They (you see I still align myself with my socioeconomic upbringing) have other means guaranteed them by systems of power/knowledge.

What I know I need to say now as a comfortable and highly educated middle-aged white man: we (as privileged, wealthy whites) have other means of being heard. But despite the house, the PhD, the many passports I've worked my way through, I still feel poor.

It is one of a few things that I will always drag with me from my past. (Poor me, no?) No matter how much money is in my bank account, or in my investment account, the perimeter of poverty informs–no! limits–my perception of what opportunity lies before me. And I write this as a white man.

I still, however, know in ways foreign to many white people in the United States that protest (as riot) is more than a seemingly self-destructive act wrecking infrastructure and opportunity for the protesters. While I cannot even begin to imagine the toll poverty has had on black communities across this country, I do know my own experience with poverty and lack of access and at least the perception of a lack of opportunity.

And for what it's worth: I will always root for the one willing to burn down his own house in order to be heard. Perhaps one day another white person, perhaps one with considerably more power and influence than I, will also hear and understand this message. Until then: Thug on!

No comments:

Post a Comment