I live in a Minneapolis suburb, though I am far enough away that I cannot see the smoke. I cannot hear the protests. My sleep is not disturbed by the sounds of gunfire and sirens. While the murder of George Floyd has angered me, I have been separated from the cacophony of a world aflame.
I have felt helpless and rooted in place, and it has forced some introspection. I know I do not truly understand the emotions or thoughts of the communities affected by this murder. So I have been listening. As I hear the anguish, the powerlessness, the frustration, and as I read what it’s like to fear a similar fate as George Floyd, I have been reminded that I have lived a privileged life compared to many people in my country.
A decision lay before me: to live within the comfort and protection of my privilege or to use it for something positive. I chose the latter.
I took what I heard and wrote this.
I am not black.
I am not of eastern Asian descent, nor Slavic or Middle Eastern, nor a member of most of the other wonderful ancestries that humans are blessed to have.
I am not Muslim, nor a member of any of the non-Christian religions that bring people comfort across the world.
I am not female, nor any of the other genders we are discovering in our DNA.
I am not gay, and I do not fit into any of the sexual orientations that close-minded people refuse to acknowledge.
I am not missing any of my five senses or four limbs. My brain doesn’t process the world in a way that requires additional interpretation.
I’ve never been impoverished or homeless.
I am a straight white male living in America and there are very few words that we use to modify that description. We live in a country that must label people to remind them they are different than a particular type of person – that they are other. That they do not have my privilege.
I recognize that in the United States, I have more privilege than all of these wonderfully different ways to be human.