I realize the title of this blog post could mean any number of things.
First and foremost it could mean that I am in a position to be working at all these days. I have a job and I can do it from home and still take care of my family at the same time. I recognize that being able to say that puts me in a select category.
But I was thinking about something else this time.
Today I finished writing Wednesday’s podcast episode so I can record it this weekend. I fretted over this one because it’s over a delicate subject that I want to handle well. I asked for help from people with better insight than I. Because on Wednesday I’m releasing an episode on Minneapolis, protest, and #BlackLivesMatter. These are incredibly important subjects to me. But ultimately I am not affected by them in the same way that other people are.
And I was thinking what it says about me that I could confine that work to the first half of the day. I got up this morning and while my son was playing video games I wrote for a few hours on systemic racism and then I put that project away and ate lunch and exercised and ran errands.
What a privilege is that work? What life am I living that I can not think about the harsh realities of racism for the afternoon?
A White one.
The fact that I could put away that project and save it for some editing later says I am benefiting from systemic racism. Because those are your options – you are the oppressed or the oppressor. And I am not oppressed by racism.
Those of us who can go for a day or two and not think about racism are living wildly different lives than our Brothers and Sisters of Color, whose days are defined by systemic racism. If you can live in your skin and not think about how your skin changes your relationship to the world, you are privileged in indescribable ways.
The thing is, nothing will change until people like me begin to realize how we are part of this system of oppression. Until all of us recognize how we fit into these patterns and stop depending on already marginalized communities to do the work of progress, racism will remain systemic.
For me this work is a privilege. I can put it away when it makes me tired or uncomfortable. For People of Color it is survival. Their lives depend on the success of this work.
It is up to people like me to even the score.