My Mind is on Baltimore
My mind is on Baltimore... My two visits to the area, though they happened a few years apart, left me committed to never living on the East coast.
Let me explain; the first visit I stayed closer to D.C., and the area felt rich and cultured, it appeared safe and metropolitan... it felt and looked... whitewashed.
The second visit was closer to Baltimore, and what I found was poverty, gentrification, and disenfranchisement. It appeared wild and semi rural(despite it's nearness to such a big city)... it felt and looked... colorful(all shades of people... even a few whites).
At the time, I was baffled... but not awakened as I am now... and the contrast simply left a bad taste in my mouth. I cried when one of my dark sisters was hateful to me at the store... it hurt to be hated for looking like her oppressor... and, though I am mixed myself... I look white enough that I benefit from the privilege. I did not respond to her hate... for, it took me off guard... and, I am glad for that. Now, I understand her anger... I validate it... I own that part of my ancestory in the same way I do my Lakota roots. I am both, after all.
Today... looking back... I understand what I was seeing. This was the result of generation upon generation of inequality. Under this paradigm, it has been white society, which has benefited... still, benefits.
Take a deep breath... white people... and please hear me out.
When one group of people continues to benefit(this is where all those privileges come in) while others do not, you become complicit in the oppression of those others. Your silence itself, becomes a weapon. There are two things you can do with this REALITY; you must become a true ally to all those who do not benefit, you must reject and call out your own privilege, and then demand that it be granted to all others... or, you must accept that you are a willing tool of an oppressive system, which rewards you for maintaining that status quo, you must embrace the notion that equality is a finite thing... and that your loss of privilege is a redistribution... of liberty. That another gaining... is somehow, your loss.
The white part of me chooses to be an ally... the Lakota part of me, always was.
My mind is on Baltimore... and, my heart is with that dark sister at the store... I'm with her... and, I can live with that choice.
Can you live... with your choice?