|1000 points if you can find Waldo.|
1000 more points if you ever found Waldo in a book.
Lose 1000 points if you're too young to know Waldo, whippersnapper.
|My eye doctor has yet to pinpoint the issue.|
|I'm afraid of snakes.|
The cop asked us what happened, made a few notes, and sent the other driver on her way. Then he handed me my ticket and said, "Why didn't you stop?" "Well, officer, the light was out." "Yes, but didn't you see the stop sign?!" I hadn't seen it at all until he said that. But then I saw it. And it was oversized. Like twice the normal size of a stop sign. I'm not even making this up. "No, honestly I didn't see it." "Well, hopefully you'll pay closer attention next time. Make sure you show up for your court date." I still couldn't tell you why I didn't see it. Sure, I was looking at the light that wasn't working. But criminy, that was a big stop sign.
|Well why didn't you say so?!|
|Seriously, I mashed your peas. Get out there.|
He called the penalty on himself. He saw the original position of the ball. He saw its new position. He couldn't unsee either one. And he dealt with it.
Well, I've seen something. I'm not sure how I missed it before. And I'm not sure what opened my eyes to it either. Maybe it was Charlottesville. Maybe it was the 2016 election and the hate that bubbled up during it (and since). I'm not even sure exactly when I saw it. But I can't unsee it now. It's everywhere.
It's racism. And sexism. And discrimination on a wide variety of traits. I see plainly how my gender and my color and my sexual orientation have given me an advantage, mostly because I see now so clearly how the very same factors disadvantage others.
Sure, nobody who has privilege wants to admit it. We'd rather believe we earned everything we have through our own blood and sweat and tears. Privilege doesn't mean you never worked for what you have. Privilege means someone else who works just as hard as you should have access to the same things you do. And admitting we are privileged...will ultimately mean losing some of what we have. It has to. It's not about feeling bad or guilty. It's about seeing the uneven field. And it's about taking some action to even it.
Last time I wrote about this, I wasn't sure what to do about it. Honestly I'm still not. But I can't unsee it. So there are a few things I'm going to do.
1. Don't contribute to the uneven field. When I make decisions, I will consciously consider the ways in which discrimination may play a role in the decision and avoid it.
2. Let other people know when they are contributing to the uneven field. When I see someone discriminating unfairly, I will not be silent. Not to be mean or because I'm better than they are...because they most likely are like I was--they just don't see it.
3. Don't tell or laugh at "politically incorrect jokes." Let's be real. "Politically incorrect" is a politically correct way of saying "offensive" or "racist." These jokes aren't funny. What makes me a sad is that I realize now they never were.
4. Raise children who are sensitive to discrimination. I will make sure they learn history. I will open their eyes to the hate when they are old enough to understand. I will teach them the value of life and love and the cost of hate. I will help them see their privilege, and encourage them to seek to level the field in their own way. I will lead them by example.
5. Don't count the cost. For those of us with privilege, leveling the field will feel like we are losing something. It may feel unfair. I will remember that it is not unfair...as it has been for those without privilege.
There may be more. There has to be. But this is a start.
How did I miss this before? How did I not see it? If it were a snake...well, if it were a snake it probably would have left me alone unless it felt threatened by me, in which case it would have acted out of self-defense.