I want to argue, that whether you are white or black, rich or poor, in this country you will at some point encounter, “First World Problems”.
Yes, there are a variety of issues surrounding race and equity in this country. But, no matter your background and demographics, the fact remains that as a citizen of this country you have access to so much more than millions around the world. Whether you are on welfare, or run a fortune 500 company, there are things we expect as Americans, myself included, and most of the world cannot relate.
I think that acknowledging this sense of entitlement within the African American community is helpful. Why? Because, while white privilege runs rampant in this country, we are still privileged in comparison to the rest of the world. Some of our brothers and sisters across the world wouldn’t dream of being as outspoken as Ta-Nehisi Coates or Dr. Umar Johnson. Freedom of speech is taboo, illegal, grounds for death…
I do not want to ever take this for granted, and if you are reading this, you shouldn’t either.
My encounter with Bobby Seale is still on my mind…especially his talk of a “New Guard”. I worry that somewhere along the way we traded in the zest in our fight for equality for the latest Jordans, IPhones, and various forms of Bling.
I am working on a mindset shift, which includes pausing and reflecting on the things I truly need in this life. Having nice things is great, especially if you’ve worked hard to get where you are. But, placing emphasis on status is a trap I am trying very hard to break free of…
So instead of…
I “need” two tv’s so I can have background noise when I go to bed.
I “need” bottled water because the taste of tap water is disgusting.
I “need” to buy a new pair of sneakers every year because I don’t like for my shoes to look run down.
I am aiming for…
I need to remember that things are just things, and equality for all is priceless.
I need to remember that my material possessions don’t level the racial playing field in this country.
I need to remember that educational degrees, financial security, no criminal record, and professional status do not change that fact that I am still Black in America.
Basically, I am trying to get my life…I will let you know how it goes.