Posts Tagged With: American born

learning to do what’s right

I know what it’s like to be poor in America.
And I mean poor. The kind of poor in which a family is chronically on the verge of homelessness.
I know what it’s like to be a woman in America.
A place in which my rights to my own bodily autonomy hang by a thread. A place where I remain constantly vigilant whenever and wherever I am out in the world.
I understand being fearful.
I understand being hungry.
I understand feeling my effort to improve my life falling consistently short.
But even though I know these situations, I cannot fathom the depth of feelings they would bring if I was a person of color instead of a white woman.

I understand grief. I understand trauma. I know how hard it is to experience these huge feelings.
I understand the need for peaceful protest. My God, I understand the need for non-peaceful protest.
I find myself working so hard to understand how deep and wide is the pool of fear and grief that causes people to destroy their homes and businesses. That the only way to express that desperate depth of feeling is to lash out at your own neighborhoods.
I have no way of understanding the endless generational racial trauma constantly pounding down on people of color. That level of pain. That constant barrage of fear and grief and killing.
No human should be made to live like that!

What is going on in America is frightening!
The status quo is sick and wrong! It needs to change!
I have so many feels and no where to go with them.
I don’t know how to help. I don’t know what to do.
But I have to try!

I don’t know what’s the right thing to do.
I am fearful of doing the wrong thing.
I am fearful that by doing the wrong thing, I’ll contribute to making the situation worse.
I am fearful that by doing nothing to avoid doing the wrong thing I am actively making the situation worse.

Because I’m a white woman, I feel like my voice can be easily misconstrued as disingenuous and I feel unsure about speaking out. However, I realize my silence is me being complicit.
I feel like my duty is to listen and learn as much as I can.
I feel like my duty is to support those who need it.
I feel like my duty is to help educate people. Especially people like me who won’t ever have to worry because of the color of their skin.

We are one human family.
I am resolved learn how to be a true ally.
I may stumble and make things temporarily worse. But I am committed to doing what is right. I am working toward being a true member of this human family.

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adventures in our governmental system

I went to the local Social Security Administration office this afternoon to have my name change processed.
I went to the office because it’s only about ten minutes from home and I could use the necessary documents without having to give them up for any length of time.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I got there…but what I found made the “great unwashed” who frequent the local DMV office seem as pristine as angels.
I was hit with the stench of rank body odor and urine as I walked through the door. Babies were screaming (and I mean SCREAMING!), people were near-shouting in at least four different languages. And the security guard asked the same six people to “keep this area clear” five different times before they chose to move.
After checking in at the computer to get my service number, I sat between a woman and her mother, by best guess is they were Indian (from India, not American Indians) and two little Spanish speaking girls who played a quiet “chopsticks” like hand game to entertain themselves. They smelled of pee pants, but were quiet. (One out of two ain’t bad.)┬áThe Indian ladies were each reading a book. The babies never stopped screaming.

There I sat with my little folder containing my passport, current SS card, birth certificate, and the shiny new marriage certificate feeling increasingly anti”great American melting pot”. (Thank you Schoolhouse Rock.)
I’m not a racist. I’m not anti-immigration. I mean, we all have ancestors from somewhere outside the borders of the US…but as I listened to the questions about medicare and medicaid benefits from individuals who, at that very moment, were applying for social security cards…my hackles went up a little.

I’m not going to soapbox about this.
We all know it’s not my hot-button issue.
Immigration is what it is.
I’m lucky enough to be born American for all the good it does.

When the man finally called D494 I leapt from the seat and followed him through the door as quickly as I could without trampling any of the screaming babies.
I presented him with all my documents and he stapled my old card to my application handed me a receipt and thanked me for having everything I needed before sending me on my way.
A Social Security card with my new name should arrive in my mailbox in seven to ten days and I only sacrificed two and a half hours of my life in that waiting room.
I’ll consider it an adventure!
I did come home and take a shower though…I felt like the smell clung to me and I just couldn’t abide that.

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