Modern Canaries

I am committed to the values of our country, flawed though the implementation may be at times. Democracy offers hope of a different way. It requires more of us than self-interest. As people, we fail in this at times. And the stories we tell are victim centered. Women are harmed by men. Immigrants are harmed by citizens. Black people are harmed by white people, cops. The harm happens. The stories confuse the issue. 

The story we fail to tell is the larger story. Black people bear the burden of the stigma of racism. Immigrants are disproportionately affected by the stigma of xenophobia. Women show the more obvious wounds of patriarchal assumptions. And we all suffer. They aren't the victims. They are the canary in the coal mine, indicating the toxicity we are walking toward. Warning us of a future we can avoid. 

Being black is being strong and resilient. Being an immigrant is a sign of courage and strength. Being female is a simple fact of living. Who a person is, is not the problem. None of these identities are the reason folks suffer. They suffer because as a society, we have put the burden of our fears on these identities. Citizens aren't going to lose jobs because immigrants are working. White people aren't going to be less capable because black people are treated as the capable people they are. Men aren't going to be diminished because women are acknowledged as strong and powerful. 

As long as we make this about the identity of the people suffering, it sounds like a hand out to a victim. It is insulting. Who they are isn't the problem. Who we are is. We, all of the different 'we's' need to fix our problems, deal with our insecurities, so other people don't walk around carrying our problems and their problems. We need to intervene and work to create equity.  We need to create equity to address the suffering we handed off to immigrants, women, and black people to hold for us.