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Poor me

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I am 67 years old and for the last eight months have been unemployed. I know that I have been rejected from four jobs because of my age. Phrases such as “You’re over-qualified” or “You have too much experience for this job to be fulfilling for you,” are codes for “You’re too old.” So I know, for the last eight months, what discrimination feels like. Poor me.

STOP!

Here’s what I really know: I’m white and privileged. Because of the color of my skin I was privileged to go to good schools. Because of the color of my skin I have had a successful career, been paid well, live in a “good” neighborhood in a “nice” house, and have driven “nice” cars. I’ve traveled the world, half of it because of the jobs I’ve had … because of the color of my skin. I know that if I want to birdwatch, I can do so without being accused of attacking a privileged white woman, because of the color of my skin. I know that if I get sick, I can go to my doctor, or be admitted into a hospital, no questions asked, because of the color of my skin.

Here’s what I really don’t know: What it is like to be forced to go to inferior schools, be assigned to  live in policy driven run-down neighborhoods, shop in inferior stores, and live in policy driven sub-standard housing … because of the color of my skin. I don’t know what it’s like to take a walk and wonder if I’ll be viciously violated and attacked by someone I pay to protect me and my family, because of the color of my skin. I don’t know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck. I don’t know what it is like to be afraid in my house, and every time I walk out of my house, because of the color of my skin. Or what it’s like to have “the talk” with my son, because of the color of his skin. I don’t know what it’s like to be called “articulate,” as if it’s a surprise that a black person could speak clearly and effectively. I don’t know what it’s like to be forced to keep my children sick because I don’t have the health plan to take them to the doctor, because of the color of my skin.

Oh yeah, I also know: If I paid for something with a counterfeit $20 bill, the store would probably let me know that it’s counterfeit and let me pay with an authentic twenty, because of the color of my skin. I know that if the store did call a cop, at most I would get a summons and have to pay a fine, because of the color of my skin.

And here’s what I really know if I paid for something with a counterfeit $20 bill: I wouldn’t be murdered … because of the color of my skin.

I can write, and I can read, and I can march. All of that is good, but only if followed by action. Unless I pester the government for fair housing, demand that the school system teach authentic history by people who have lived that history, feed the hungry, make sure there is health care for all, it’s only writing and reading and taking a walk to make me feel good.

It’s poor me.

 

Bob Giolitto

17 comments

Alexis June 7, 2020 at 11:34 am

Thank you for this thoughtful and informed commentary. If you haven’t already, please share this with your peers, associates, and family to help contribute to the dismantling of systemic racism.

JustaTaxpayer June 7, 2020 at 2:07 pm

Much truth to this opinion. Also, because of the color of my skin I was less likely to be aborted, I’m less likely to lose the attention from teachers in my school as they have to spend too much time catching up ELL students and I’m much less likely to seek a father figure in my life. Unfortunately, these are truths as well.

I’ll pray for this man in his search for employment. COVID sure doesn’t help matters.

Karen June 8, 2020 at 8:20 am

Thank you Bob, for a deep perspective of white privilege in America. Very well said!! America Black Lives Matter!!! Long overdue ‼️

Valerie Bucci June 8, 2020 at 11:04 am

Every one has the ability to go to the same schools we did. To work hard to accomplish whatever they want and to live wherever they want. I don’t understand your thinking. Tell this to Ben Carson, Candace Owens and many other successful people of color.

Ron Morris June 8, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Valerie Bucci
Ben Carson, Candace Owens are the exceptions. Most people of color do not have the same ability to go to good schools. That is a fact.

BOB GIOLITTO June 8, 2020 at 4:22 pm

Hi Valerie, Thank you for your comments. Might I suggest that you read “Waking Up White” by Debbie Irving? Written by a white woman who grew up in a community much like those in Fairfield County, it addresses your statements and much more. Peace

Dana Pevsner June 8, 2020 at 7:36 pm

Bob writes beautifully about white privilege and how it makes life easier and safer for some because of skin color.
Let’s hope our society becomes more aware of the viciousness of racism and the truth that white privilege means non-whites are cheated.
Black lives matter.

John ONeill June 8, 2020 at 11:27 pm

I have to be honest….I truly feel sorry for anyone who feels sorry for himself. Good Luck and let me know if you need a good shrink to overcome your self pity. One caveat – I think shrinks are a white privilege. Central Park Karen is an example of that…

Eleanor Lx. June 9, 2020 at 8:43 am

This is complete nonsense – pinning the problems of African Americans solely on non-existent “systemic discrimination” is intellectually dishonest and an insult to African Americans. Please stop stoking racial division – disgraceful!

Bryan Meek June 9, 2020 at 9:00 am

Listen to Ron. Only two people have ever had chance to get ahead in this rotten country. Ignore that whites make up the single largest group of people living in poverty in this country. Ignore the failed liberal policies that have disintegrated the family unit, created untouchable government workers, pack poor people into cheap run down housing, profit like no other nation on the criminal justice system that can be bought off with the right amount of money. Ignore all these liberal constructs and blame racism. Then when that doesn’t work, label everyone a racist and burn it all down.

Michael McGuire June 10, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Ron – Candace Owens went to Stamford public school, then to University of Rhode Island (URI) but I don’t believe she graduated having dropped out in her Junior year.

While I whole-heartedly agree with you that the majority of the black community do not have access to good schools, that did not seem to stop her from succeeding. In fact, she is very clear on the short comings of our public school system. Her solutions are very much worth hearing.

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