The short answer is this. It makes me angry. Why is it that now that a lot of White people have problems shit is serious?
Where was the Occupy movement when I (I will be using I in both the personal and larger sense) and millions of people just like me had to decide between food and medication. Decide between bus fare and food, rent and new shoes.
Where was all this righteous indignation when in order to help support a household I worked under the table cleaning the toilets of a woman who routinely called me a dirty cunt just so some children could have food?
To my view these things are suddenly worth mobilizing because they are no longer just poor and people of color problems. The type of problems I have dealt with since I paid my first bill have become the problems of Nice White Folks everywhere.
It is the people who fully expected to get out of college and assume their position in middle class America.
The economy has been tanking for more than a decade and yet, somehow a lot of these people expected that everything would be okay.
This is where I have a problem because I've never had the privilege to be in a position to assume that I am supposed to have more.
Perhaps one too many times where I have gone hungry or eaten bullshit food just so I could eat has made me jaded. I can't be passionate about people who expected more and are suddenly not getting it.
This isn't to say that I don't believe that we're all entitled to a living wage and all that jazz. The thing that sticks in my side is that all of a sudden people are mad.
Furthermore I am a Black person. I am a Black Person in Seattle and I don't feel entirely welcome or represented.
If I were to go plant my ass at the protests, I don't have faith that I would be okay. I'm pretty sure that in a sea of White faces I would a.) stick out and b.) be an easy target for law enforcement.
I don't see a lot of acknowledgement from OWS that protest is a privilege and for a lot of us a major danger.
I do have the privilege of having a full time job. I am the bread winner in my household. I don't have savings. I don't have money for lawyers. I don't have the money to get sick because I've been sitting around in the shitty weather.
When law enforcement comes, what if I were protesting. Would you pay my bail? Would any of the other apparently broke ass people protesting pay my bail? Would you pay any missed wages for court dates or fines? For lawyers fees?
Given the tone of my previous interactions with Seattle police I could promise you I would go to jail.
For a movement so pre occupied with economics, please work those out.
Now when talking about OWS around the nations I can't even.
People with faces like mine straight up got called nigger at a protest. Women carrying a Pan African flag were harassed both at the protest and on the internet.
It is too stressful for me to even contemplate. I haven't had enough mental energy or spoons to deal with that.
I don't want my White friends to take this as some kind of now Shannon hates White people thing because it's not. I will quote a post from Racialicious about it:
This unintended marginalization is occurring daily at #OWS. We know this may be hard for some people to understand. Of course, who could expect us to understand what it is like to be reminded of your skin color every time you leave your home? Who could expect white people to understand that the spaces we feel so comfortable in may feel exclusive or even hostile to people of color? After all, we are never told; we are not forced to learn that our skin color is related to our social status; and we are not taught black and brown history, so many of us do not know how we got here–and cannot imagine it any other way.
From an open letter by Two White Men.
That is the only link I'm giving you. I cannot and will not expose myself to more thing that stress me out and upset me.
Could I go into more detail? Yes.
I won't because dealing with these same type of issues over and over again for my entire damn life is exhausting. I'm not offering up more documentation because if you're reading this you can use the googles. If you don't want to use the googles, use your empathy. It is just too exhausting and painful to me.
If you were me. If you were in my position of having most of the problems the 99% are up in arms about not due to an economic downturn but because you're just fucking poor how would you feel? What if this wasn't a big sudden social justice movement and was just the only life you've ever known?
If you still don't understand then never mind. We're not going to see eye to eye.
I also suggest googling information about Occupy Wall Street and colonialism, racism and Philly. Do things to calm yourself down first because some of that makes for upsetting reading.
I am not part of the 99% as they are showing themselves.
I am part of the who knows how many who have been and remain the working poor. Who regardless of how the economy spins have lost homes, have had no money and no recourse for help. I am one of those people.