Crossing a great divide

Tonight, watching the PBS Newshour, I was again struck by how unfair life is for so many people, so many women. And these are women living in the same country I do. These women likely have the same fears I had when I was a single mom: what happens to my child if something happens to me? What if I can’t provide for him? What if I get sick and die?

But here’s the difference: somehow, despite the glaring lack of any essential quality to a single thing I do for my job, I have little to fear where Covid-19 is concerned. My job and salary is safe; my healthcare, which I have through Dr Marry, is intact. My entire extended family is healthy and safe. I am welcome everywhere I go, and I have the incredible luxury to chose to work from home and leave my safe haven very rarely and always by choice.

So, how do I reconcile this? How do any of us reconcile this? I ask this question over and over because I am struggling with the recent horrifying realization that my generation, that I, have done little to move the race needle any further than my predecessor generations.

What has really changed for people of color in the past 45+ years that I have walked the Earth? How has life improved for women of color who live in this country, always at higher risk of domestic violence, higher risk of burying their children because of violence, higher risk of earning significantly less than white men…and women? Than me?

I listened to these women; I watched their vulnerability and fear exposed for all to see, and I wondered, again, what I could do to make a difference for them, for anyone.

I feel such despair about this. And I detest myself for doing nothing more than feeling bad about it. Who the hell cares about my despair? It’s not real. In 30 minutes or so, I’ll very likely be reading in any number of locations throughout our perfectly air-conditioned home, wondering what I want for dessert. Hoping I haven’t put on a pound or two today.

And then I’ll go to bed, and tomorrow, I’ll get up and go about my day. And so will these women and all the others who didn’t even get this small platform. But their day will look nothing like mine; in fact, it’s entirely likely that no day they live will look anything like any of mine.

And I hate knowing that that is my truth. And I keep writing in the hope that somehow it will spur something, someone, to move me to action to do more with my privilege than to just write about how unfair it all is.

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