In response to John Hubbuch’s “What I did and didn’t do on vacation” [Viewpoints, Aug. 26]:
Let’s get a slow clap going for this local hero, who, as a privileged white man who has vacationed in Northern Michigan for the past 40 years, “did not worry about institutional racism and income disparity” and “did not fret over the burden” of his white privilege.
That must have been so hard for him as he frolicked in the Michigan waves, while the people who actually do have to worry and fret about their survival didn’t have the option to just “not worry” about their daily experience and reality.
This viewpoint was absolutely mind boggling and the problem with the bubbles white people are living in — that it is an option for us to “turn off” our worries. I will make an assumption here that Hubbuch does not actually worry or fret over these things because if he did, he would not say that he cares about “other things that are more important to me.”
As an eight-year educator and graduate student in UIC’s Youth Development program, the injustice that our BIPOC (both young people and their families and communities) face every day does not leave my mind, or my heart, ever. Being in the real world, being able to just “not think about” institutional racism and income disparity is not an option when a homeless student comes late to class, or another student is crying because her relative got deported last night. These are people’s lives out here. Where is the empathy? Where is the love? Where is the fire, for us to say enough is enough — of the poison of this corrupt system and reality for so many wonderful people whose only crime is not being born white?
P.S. All of us have agency over this world, John. It’s called “taking responsibility and advocacy,” especially on behalf of those who are ignored, silenced, tortured, or killed. It is our duty to speak and not be silent. It is our duty to be allies in the real world — not in our lawn signs or bumper stickers. If you don’t know any BIPOC, ask yourself why. If you don’t know the realities of the School-to-Prison Pipeline, ask yourself why. If you don’t have to ever worry about your child coming home to you alive every night, ask yourself why. And then count your blessings, roll up your sleeves, and ask yourself how you can help make this world right.
Chicago school social justice educator