By ADDISON ARNDT | rural Ontario
I’m staying in Madison for the night, and Mom just called to check in on me: she heard about the riots and wanted to make sure I was okay. I hadn’t heard a thing and was just getting started on “The Book of Joy,” completely oblivious to the fact that this was happening about a mile away.
This got me to thinking… That little fear that my mom felt pales in comparison to the lived experience of people of color every single day of their lives. She was worried about her kid being safe, while every day individuals have to worry for their very lives. Here I sit, living life largely oblivious, reading my book while utter turmoil unfolds around me, privileged so deeply that it doesn’t even cross my consciousness. I can park on a curb without worry of being harassed as a possible suspect for a crime. I can jog around my neighborhood and look into a new house being built without being brutally murdered. I can buy a pack of cigarettes and not have to fear being aggressively detained (and ultimately suffocated and killed) by a police officer.
Those facts aren’t true for people of color, and we have to face that if we ever hope to see equality and equity in America.
To be so systemically oppressed that riots are the only option to get your voice heard is inherently wrong. Instead of confronting what that means for society, we dismiss it as something that doesn’t matter or exist. We get to ignore the privilege because we benefit from it.
We can do and be better than this.