When I see things like: If you were born in the US or Canada, you were born with a “winning lottery ticket”, I automatically assume that person is either white, rich and white, or just rich and without realizing their painting with a DAMN broad brush… I came across as site like this today and usually I do not post in “the comments” section – but today, I lost my ability to refrain. The page upon which I landed (Link right below)(I’m always checking out self-help pages and gaining inspiration for my own creative ways of healing old shit) did not fit my bill.
After reading this and most of the comments, becoming more and more uncomfortable and irritated, I felt the urge to write something. I didn’t read anything of the sort in any of the other comments. (Maybe it was stated prior in a comment I scrolled through toward the bottom.) Here’s what I posted (it’s being reviewed right now, I wonder if the moderator will let it be posted? Maybe? Who knows.). All that said, Some may think of my ideas here as a poo-poo on “positive self-transformation” but that brand simply isn’t for me.
It is very important to remember this: even though some have “won the lottery” in the US and Canada, there are those who were born here who did not win any such lottery. Similar to the person from Iran, we do not have freedom of speech to the degree in which everyone believes. We do not have lawmakers who represent the interests of the people, they work for those who pay for their campaigns. We do not have freedom to be Black and feel safe driving in your car. We do not all have the blessing of having what we need to eat, nourishing food in our bellies and for our children.
The concept that we have won the lottery (the broad stroke painted here) creates the illusion that it’s all good here, when, for marginalized groups and the poor, the chances of “climbing” outside of your class and out of poverty are slim to none. “4 percent of children from low-income families achieved a college education, compared to 45 percent of children from higher-income families.” – (https://www.newsweek.com/why-rich-stay-rich-and-poor-stay-poor-363611)
And , starting on page 10 and on into page 11 – https://www.bostonfed.org/inequality2014/papers/reeves-sawhill.pdf – “Half the black children born into the bottom quintile remain there in adulthood, compared to just one in four whites. Only 3 percent join the top income quintile, implying that a real-life “rags to riches” story is unlikely for black children.
Moreover, unlike white children and the population as a whole, black children with
middle-class roots are more likely to fall than to rise. Of black children born to parents in the middle income quintile, only 14 percent move upward in the distribution, 37 percent remain 14 middle class, and 69 percent move downward. The equivalent breakdown in the white distribution is 44 percent, 23 percent, and 34 percent, respectively.”
All this is to say, that if we congratulate ourselves, without acknowledging the SYSTEMs of protections for some people vs. others, in terms of the proverbial “lottery ticket”, then we are doing a tremendous disservice to ourselves and an even more tremendous disservice and even HARM to those who do not share those winning tickets – THOSE WHO ARE LIKELY your neighbors. Their circumstances, WHERE THEY WERE BORN was not their choice, are most certainly the fate to which they are bestowed. There are still people eating out of the garbage and women who do not feel safe at work, even in the US and UK – however, it’s more hidden and the disparities are swept under the rug (or a 15 second soundbite on the news) to maintain the idea that the “American Dream” or whatever you call it in Canada, is available to everyone, when clearly it is not.
Pontification over for today. JEEZ LOUISE!