POLITICS + RACISM
"Americans Have It So Good" Is a Lie From People Who Don't Know
There's nothing easy about living poor, Black, or marginalized in America
In the wake of a Ukrainian invasion, many people are busy trying to humble Americans. One man insisted that "every American ought to be required to live elsewhere in the world for at least six months." First of all, this statement reeks of American exceptionalism, an ideology that assumes life in America is easy-going and better than in other countries. The man went on to say that living elsewhere would increase Americans' "compassion and understanding." Excuse me, have you met Americans?
According to a study published in 2021, 61% of Americans live check-to-check and can barely afford to pay their bills. So, most Americans are not living in luxury; they are trying to maintain their jobs to have a roof over their heads and put food on the table. It's hard out here, and even though America is not in the midst of war, many Americans are struggling just to survive. In 2020, 24% of Black Americans experienced food insecurity. There was nothing easy about growing up poor, and traveling to another country would have been a fantasy for many of my classmates, not an experiment to spark empathy.
My point here is Black Americans and poor Americans of any race, don't have to go anywhere to supplement compassion and understanding — it's the rich folks amongst us that don't have much empathy for others. Due to inflation, more Americans need assistance from food banks, and wealthy people are not stepping in to improve conditions. In our capitalistic system, only their continued profits seem to matter.
When considering the humanitarian upheaval, remember Trump's administration separated families at the border, putting "kids in cages." And President Roosevelt's policy put Japanese Americans and immigrants in internment camps during World War II. And, at the height of the Antebellum period, White Americans enslaved four million Black people. And over a century later, racist policies continue to diminish Black people's quality of life and potential in this nation. Black Americans don't need to travel the seas looking for a wartorn country to visit — we know firsthand what it's like to…