I am pro human.
It’s crazy to me that, in 2014, we are still talking about race. No one should be made to feel inferior because of the color of their skin.
Whether you believe there is such a thing as “white privilege” or not, though, there are entire communities that feel as if they have been forgotten, as if they are being beaten down because of their skin color.
Failing to acknowledge that is disgraceful. As a society, we need to change the conversations that we are having. Instead of making it about race, we need to make it about improving our circumstances.
In my city, the majority of people are lower class. I grew up in a family that always “made do.” I have friends who fled New York City and came here in search of a better life—and found that better life in one of Waterbury’s nicer neighborhoods. My neighborhood is a hot spot for drug and alcohol addiction, and the house I grew up in is surrounded by crumbling buildings, sidewalks, and streets. The unemployment rate in Waterbury, Connecticut is 10.7%. The unemployment rate in St. Louis, Missouri is 8.2%.
I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to live in Ferguson or St. Louis. I only know the circumstances in my own city. I know how it feels to live in a place that feels forgotten. For decades, we had mayors who made us promises… then turned around and stole from us. This city was once bursting with opportunities, but we lost our main economy, and businesses fled, taking the money and any interest in Waterbury with them. Only recently have we voted a mayor into office who actually keeps his promises and has been working to improve our city.
I don’t know what the answer is. I do know that our country is very, very broken when a city of people feels like they are being oppressed and ignored by the rest of the country. We have a responsibility to acknowledge that and open up some dialogue, rather than simply saying “no, that can’t be.” We need to come together, arm ourselves with information and education, and talk to each other.