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[i know i’m not a great blogger – i post when the mood strikes. in an effort, though, to post more regularly, i’ve been thinking about post topics… as i rode the train/trolley/bus yesterday, i was staring out the window and thinking about posts, and was distracted by everything i saw. this will be a little repetitive, i think from the themes of other posts, but this is what’s on my mind, so here y’go…]
when i walk around, i keep looking around. i look around the city and i see broken systems – people who are angry – and i would be angry, too. the society in which we (me and them) live has given me more opportunity from birth than it has given them. i am white and middle-class. i see people in my neighborhood who have been born into single-parent families in a poverty-stricken, violence-ridden urban community. and their skin color, as much as i want to deny it blindly, has made it harder for them to find the same opportunities that i have found.
i have struggled, since leaving iowa, to reconcile my cultural majority status with the difficulties facing cultural minorities that i encounter here. i feel guilty about it, to be honest. it’s almost like a survivor’s guilt: why did i get to go to the good public school, to win the scholarship, to earn the degree, to land the fellowship, to get the job that pays me enough to support myself? that was an apparent accident of birth: God’s sovereign choice that i can’t understand. there are kids who ride my bus every morning who hop off at the corner for a school with more than 50% dropout rate. more than once, the police have been called to that high school this year to put out trash can fires and/or arrest disruptive students (for assault). teachers are beat up and burned out, and these kids are trapped in a system that can’t help them.
out my living room window, there’s a brick apartment building. most of the tenants are young men from west africa – immigrants from countries whose peace has been torn, top to bottom, like the sackcloth garments of those who mourn. why has that happened in their towns and not in mine? why have i not had to leave my home, my family?
it’s springtime now, in philadelphia – evenings are warm, and the ice cream truck has started its usual circuit. is the ice cream truck in your neighborhood still circling at eleven at night? in mine, it is. you think they’re still selling bomb-pops to eleven-year-olds? really? how have i been protected from things that hold so many in the vise-grip of addiction?
i am an adult white female, supporting myself through my own work, living comfortably in my own apartment, driving my own car. my family is safe and healthy; i don’t worry for the lives of my friends. i am indescribably blessed! but how, how, do i reconcile these blessings in my life with the brokenness all around me?