Ignorance is bliss. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. What would it be like to sit back, enjoy my white privilege, and coast through life? Sure, I mean I might have to combat the wage gap at some point or another, but as a white, middle-class female raised in suburban Massachusetts, I have faced a comical lack of obstacles.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying that I do not benefit from my privileges. I am simply recognising them. I am white. This is one of my privileges. I have never experienced racism first-hand. There are few negative stereotypes about my race, and I have never felt unsafe around law enforcement. I have never felt like the minority, because I have never been in the minority. I also benefit immensely from my standard of education. Few people are fortunate enough to attend private school, and then proceed to attend their dream college internationally. I am not smarter, I am luckier. I had a leg up in this world since the day I was born. I may have worked hard, but I always had a head start. It would be reckless of me not to acknowledge this.
Back to ignorance – apparently it’s bliss. And honestly, I get the appeal sometimes. Believe me, I know life is hard. People are all working through their own issues, and trying to create meaningful lives for themselves. Life gets busy, and I guess I could understand how some people aren’t that aware or invested in the social, economic, and political issues that plague the world. I really don’t mean to be cynical, but I hope they sleep well at night, because I don’t.
Studying Law with Social Justice, I have committed my entire life to these issues, and it baffles me how people can sit idly by and just not care. That is the thing that gets me the most. How can you not care? I am not black. That doesn’t mean I do not care about the countless black men that have been shot down by police. I am not transgender. That does not mean I do not care about using proper pronouns. I am not a rape victim. That does not mean I do not care about the victim shaming they suffer through. I am not a refugee. That does not mean I do not care about those uprooted from their home countries and forced to flee for their own safety. I am not gay. That does not mean I do not care about marriage equality for all. I don’t know how to put it, except that I care. I really care.
If ignorance is bliss, screw bliss. I don’t want bliss. Bliss is discrimination. And inequality. And naiveté. And selfishness. Bliss is a bubble that I don’t want to live in. I don’t want to be blissful. I can’t be blissful. I am enraged. I am enraged that I live in a world where each one of my efforts to make a difference seems futile. I am enraged that millions of children lack access to quality education, clean drinking water, and healthy food. I am enraged that schools get shot up weekly, and people are more concerned with protecting a dated amendment than the lives of children. I am enraged that sex workers lack respect in our society, and are almost skinned of their humanity. I am enraged that global warming is seen as a myth, even when science proves otherwise. I am enraged that people don’t care.
I am enraged, but more than that, I am afraid. This much passion is painful, and I fear I will not make a difference in this world. But, I have taken the first step. I care.