Monday, October 14, 2019

What Keeps Me Up At Night: My Privilege

I haven't been able to sleep very well these past few nights, haunted by the image of a young, woman being executed in her home as she played a video game with her eight year old nephew.

It is a frightening feeling, but I do have a family and a job to get to, and I need my sleep.  So, I get out of bed looking for something to take my mind off this latest horror. I think of white privilege, and what it means and feels like for white people who are struggling to make ends meet, people who do not feel or understand that privilege. People who are not me.

I think of Sandra Bland. Like me, she was once feisty and full of fire and not afraid to speak her mind. Unlike me, she was black. I remember a time when I was pulled over for a broken tail light, The cop, in an unmarked car, had been following me down the highway, slowing down then speeding up, scaring me out of my wits because I thought he was someone trying to run me off the road to rape and murder me. When he finally flashed his lights and pulled me over, I was so relieved he was a cop, I broke out in tears, and then I got angry. I got so angry, that when he came to my window, I shouted my anger and a woman's truth and a woman's terror through those tears.
I did not get a ticket, I received an apology.

But that was a different time and a different place, a different  cop, and I was and am a different color.

I look at the headlines and how people and the media are reacting to this latest tragic loss of a young black life at the hands of a cop. I see the battle lines being drawn. The people who will try to use this tragedy to further their own agenda. For a moment, I second guess my impulse to write about this, then again reach for my phone.

I wonder about Atatasia's young nephew, eight years old, playing video games with his loving aunt one minute, and then she is gone the next, shot dead by a policeman through her bedroom window. This is a tragedy. A series of events that went horribly wrong. Relating to the effect of my own brother's death and how it affected me, I feel concern for this child's future.

I find some solace in another writers' words. Shaun King provides me with a moment of relief as I read his facebook post. This child will be OK. He has a community and people looking out for him.

I am grateful for my ability to express myself tbrough the written word, and when that is not enough, the power of a song.

I am grateful for my life experiences, good and bad, for they have shaped me into the person I am today and guide me to where I need to go, to achieve a higher purpose.

That said, at this moment, this is all I have time for, as I have to get to work. And for that, I am grateful.


p.s. While I am proud to claim my Italian ancestry, I celebrate Tony Bennett,  Leonardo DaVinci, Michelangelo, Sophia Loren, Frank Sinatra, Amerigo Vespucci, and many more before I celebrate Columbus.
If you are arguing about the loss of Columbus Day, your priorities are in the wrong place. Check your privilege.

(Please pardon typos. I have limited access to a laptop, and write this from my phone. If you came here expecting a well crafted blog post, this is obviously not that. Most of my personal writing leans toward stream of consciousness with a quick review for most obvious typos. Have a great day. I wish you love, peace and good music. )