In other news – Writing Day 29 -So, not an easy post, but a necessary one. Earlier this month, I saw the raw video of this incident on the FB page of an acquaintance.
I was hurt, and then angry.
“End of discussion”. The employee didn’t even feel the need to explain his logic. It was a given. Without anything but their skin color, these boys were pegged as potential thieves. Let’s just be honest, many people will never know what it is like to experience this, and it is probably not something you will ever think about for more than a moment if you’re never personally faced with such a situation. I have a feeling if it were not caught on tape, we would never know about it. Sometimes privilege or lack thereof is based on our skin color.
Waring: the video has some strong language. Do you remember the 2009 movie Up in the Air? It hit a cord with so many people when it came out. It was the most popular movie in the country for many weeks. Not because of George Clooney, but because so many people could relate to having been laid off. Many of the people featured were not actors, but relaying their own experiences of having had to lay people off, or having been laid off. There was a second story line about unrequited love, but I have a feeling that the movie was more popular because of the job loss theme.
Around this time I used to read the blog of a young lady who was so excited to see the movie, that she hosted a movie night at her house. When she posted to her blog again, she was upset. What in the world were people talking about? This movie wasn’t good, it didn’t even make any sense. And because most of her friends had similar upbringings and backgrounds, they thought the same. It never dawned on her, that she was missing an experience that would have clued her in. One of the readers of the blog (and I imagine her to be an older woman with beautiful gray hair) just gently replied, “You don’t understand it, because you’ve never had to live it.”
Sometimes, privilege is in how we’ve grown up. The education we have been given and the communities we have been a part of. Many times, we don’t even realize the privilege we have. It is just life to us. It is ours. Then we see someone who has so much less. Someone who never even had the opportunity to not know what poverty is like. And at times we find it difficult to relate, unless we have a memory to draw on.
We as writers in America have privileges that we don’t even consider to be privileges. Some privileges we treat as if they were our rights.
Some people tattoo targets on their bodies with every word that they write, and they are willing to die for their words. Die for what they believe in.
Yet we just put words out there willy-nilly – it is our right. There are thousands of blogs and websites giving a platform to people saying exactly what they want, whenever they want. When I realize that I couldn’t keep my devotional blog in many places in the world, it is difficult to comprehend. I could die for the things I share there. It makes believing in what I write that much more important. I don’t think I really understand the gravity of it all. It can be difficult for us to understand because we’ve never had to live it. Yet we should not forget that our fellow writers, authors and novelists in other parts of the world break the law when they write their truth. Let’s not forget about this privilege that we have in writing our truth.