2016 was a great year because it allowed me to discover more about myself and the world around me. 2016 was a terrible year because it allowed me to discover more about myself and the world around me.
Teenagers and young people are enjoying a new sense of empowerment with the aid of social media. The internet has existed for a while now, so has Twitter, but it seems like now it’s being used in a completely different way. We can discuss race relations with people across the country. Watch as women all over the world protest in the name of feminism. It’s all pretty cool.
But it’s also possible to view heart wrenching videos of innocent people being killed in Syria. Read numerous articles about child brides and little girls being raped in countries all over the globe and to feel terrible while doing so.
But none of this is really that new. Innocent people have always been at the mercy of those in power and forced to give their lives knowing, or maybe not knowing, that someone somewhere is profiting off of their strife. Girls and women in developing countries, and even close to home, have always been susceptible to some of the worst examples of human nature. This isn’t new.
But the access to it is. And the feeling of knowing that the likelihood of these events happening to me are slim to none while it’s been a reality for several generations of others is. This realization was probably the hardest to deal with.
This feeling of helplessness when it comes to defending the vulnerable. This is when I discovered that as a black woman living in America, I do have privilege.
Okay, so I may not be a shoe in for the Ivy League admissions people because my parents are alumni. I will not inherit a Fortune 500 company, or a fortune. I won’t receive a slap on the the wrist and a fine for committing the same crime a person of color just got life for. White privilege is a whole other ball game, white male privilege is a whole other ball game.
But yes in this context, I contain some sort of privilege. And the reality of this is both good and bad because while it often make me feel like shit, it also forces me to stop complaining about minutiae.
It’s kind of depressing to think that not having to wake up and worry about whether or not today will be my last or if the last hospital in my town will be bombed is a privilege. No one should have to worry about these things, but someone does.
For many people, especially young people, it is ridiculously easy to get trapped into our daily lives and look at minor annoyances as soul crushing. Failing a test, getting into a fender bender, being late for work…
Knowing that there are children being torn apart from their families and bombs being dropped on hospitals while I lay in the comfort of my bed to type this is soul crushing.