The First Step

Odds are, if you’re reading this, than this post probably isn’t essential reading for you.

Great opening line, right?

I know my audience, so I am just making an educated guess. However, many of the people that are inclined to read the things I write here know people that could use this and if this reaches just one of those people, it will be worth it.

Alright, there we go. Everyone else is gone. It’s just you and me now. You decided you’d stick around to read whatever crazy radical left point-of-view because we are all kind of addicted to the stuff that makes us mad on the internet.

I’m glad you’re here. Let’s rip off the band-aid.

You have privilege. You were born with it. I know, I know, it stings… breathe, it will get better.

Very few know more privilege than I do. I’m a white, upper-middle class, college educated (paid for by my father… who is a doctor), male in the United States of America.

And since you’re here the odds are extremely high that you have checked some of those same boxes.

Wait! Wait! Wait!

Don’t go.

Having this mirror held up to your face is uncomfortable, I know it is for me. It makes you feel like you should have done more. I know that I do, daily. In no way am I saying that you didn’t struggle at some point or at many points throughout.

I do not doubt that you have overcome obstacles and hardships in your life. I don’t doubt that you have had disadvantages. I don’t doubt that you could easily prove that my life has been vastly easier than yours.

Have a seat with me. Let’s play some cards.

If it were a game of Texas Hold Em, I’d have pocket kings, suited and you’d have jacks, also suited. I’ve definitely got the upper hand, but you could be crafty and beat me. Hell, you wouldn’t even need to be crafty, just a slight bit of luck and you are taking me down.

And if everybody else at the table were white, they’d all be dealt solid hands and we’d all have a good time beating each other here or there and watch the money flow around the table.

Now, imagine that at the empty seat a black person sits down. All night, they are going to be dealt 2-7 off suit. They can still win, but it is going to be a long, difficult grind for them to get there. Unfortunately, the odds tell us, they are going to lose and after a long night of getting terrible cards they will be furious. They are going to yell and point out that the deck was stacked in our favor.

They might even get so mad that they flip the entire table over. Breaking the table, scattering our chips on the floor, mixing them up so that you and I lose some of the money we had won, fairly, by playing the same game at the same table.

This is where we are now in our country.

We don’t get to be mad because our table is broken, the cards are scattered, and we lost a bit of money.

We were playing the same game, yes, but we didn’t choose our table. We were placed here, just like they were.

Our job right now is to talk to the dealer. Tell the security guard to stop roughing the other guy up. Talk to the pit boss. Talk to the manager. Scream up at the owner’s penthouse, and demand to know what they are going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

This is how we move forward as a country. We need to call everybody that we come across on their bullshit.

Nothing is going to change quickly. It is going to take a long time to deconstruct something that has been built over centuries.

Right now we are at a fork in the road. One direction is the same way we have always gone, it’s paved, well lit, and safe (for us). But, maybe if the things I have written make any kind of sense, you have already taken a step toward the other path by simply acknowledging your privilege.

As you look up from your shoes, the new path looks dark and overgrown.

The good news is, you won’t be alone. We can all do it together.

We are probably going to zig-zag all over the place trying to get through the thorny branches, but together we will get through. And when our children encounter this same fork in the road the path will be clear and they’ll have a chance to pave it.

2020 is clearly going to be a year that history books will have to reserve chapters for, let’s all take the path to be on the right side of that history.

Cheers.

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