What about me?

Kim Rig­gins lives in Smyrna with her two in­cred­i­bly spoiled dogs and an un­healthy ob­ses­sion with Star Wars.

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

I have a love/hate re­la­tion­ship with so­cial me­dia. Okay, I have a hate/hate re­la­tion­ship with so­cial me­dia in that I hate al­most every­thing about it and I hate that I can’t stay away from it. I tell my­self things like, “Don’t read the com­ments,” or “Okay, read the com­ments but don’t say any­thing be­cause it will be­come a long, in­volved dis­cus­sion that will solve noth­ing.”

Then, “What did he say?! Okay, com­ment be­cause this guy needs some ed­u­ca­tion.” It never re­ally turns into any­thing ed­u­ca­tional be­cause so­cial me­dia has given any­one with an opin­ion, ed­u­cated or not, a plat­form from which to spew it and we get to lis­ten to it—or read it. Yippee!

The trend I have no­ticed lately, what with all the protests and shoot­ings, is that there are a lot of white peo­ple who are overly de­fen­sive about be­ing white. “Well, I guess it’s my fault be­cause I’m white,” they lament sar­cas­ti­cally. Or, “I’m not al­lowed to have white Pride be­cause be­ing white is bad.” And my per­sonal fa­vorite, “Why don’t we get white his­tory month?” Where is mine? What about me? Me, me, me. Mine, mine, mine.

“Why can’t we just say all lives mat­ter? Don’t all lives mat­ter? Why do we have to cel­e­brate gay Pride and black gay Pride? All these la­bels do are di­vide us.” But my ques­tion is, “Why do those things di­vide us?” They only di­vide if we al­low them to. As a white woman, I do not feel marginal­ized by Black Lives Mat­ter. As a white les­bian, I do not feel marginal­ized by black gay Pride. To be frank, as a white per­son, even a white gay per­son, I doubt very se­ri­ously that I know what it feels like to be truly marginal­ized at all and the lit­tle I do know about it only fosters a sense of in­jus­tice for those who know about it on a much deeper level.

I get it, though. I re­ally do. I used to throw tantrums when I didn’t get presents on my brother’s birth­day. That is es­sen­tially what our “what about me?” so­ci­ety has come to. Why don’t we get to have straight Pride? Or white Pride? Why don’t all lives mat­ter? Or blue lives? Why do only black lives mat­ter? These ques­tions stem from a mind­set akin to that of a four-year-old who can­not com­pre­hend the world be­yond their own small bub­ble. It is not in the na­ture of a small child to think of oth­ers. The only things they can grasp are things that af­fect them. It isn’t that they are hate­ful. They are chil­dren. They lack un­der­stand­ing. They haven’t grown up enough to see that the world doesn’t re­volve around them—an un­der­stand­able state for a child that is far less tol­er­a­ble when we en­counter it in adults.

No one has ever asked me to apol­o­gize for the color of my skin. No one has in­sisted that I apol­o­gize for the ac­tions of peo­ple long dead and gone. No one has ever asked me to sit in the back of a bus. No one has ever asked me to use a dif­fer­ent wa­ter foun­tain. No one has asked me to feel ashamed or to hang my head be­cause I’m white. Those things are not nec­es­sary for us to be on the right side of his­tory here. I can ac­knowl­edge that there are in­jus­tices that I will never ex­pe­ri­ence and that priv­i­lege does not equal mon­e­tary wealth. There is no shame in that. The shame comes when we see those who do not en­joy the same ad­van­tages and we ask, “What about me?”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.