An Assumption of Safety

I read her blog post about how maybe she’s a racist.  And it got me thinking…

am I a racist?

For those of you who do not follow Well Read Hostess, her post is about how two family members are in Haiti.  And how part of her just assumed these people would be okay.  Because they are white, priveledged and American.

And I can totally see that.

So I had to examine why I think it’s true.  Not that I thought her loved ones were safe (they were) but how I would have done the same thing she did.  I would have assumed their safety.

So this is what I came up with.  It is because I am American.

It is because I don’t worry my children will be blown up by a car bomb when I send them off to school.

I don’t worry that a Tsunami will wipe out my village.

I don’t worry that a member of a rival tribe will rape me on my way back from the well.

I don’t have those worries.

I sometimes worry that my husband has had a car wreck if he doesn’t answer his phone the second time I call him.

I sometimes clutch my keys in my hand like a knife as I walk to my car at night.

I sometimes, fleetingly, worry about ways I am not safe.  But, fundamentally I am safe.

My government is corrupt and troubled but it is also strong and doing what it should.

There are corrupt police officers but I am confident that if I am trouble, a police person will help me.

I assume I am safe.

Being unsafe is my exception.

And while 9/11 brought home the reality that there is danger here. That there is an evil that can touch even our grounds, it is the exception.

And there are places where fear and evil are the rule.

The every day reality.

And this is what thinking about Haiti has taught me.

The greatest privilege we have as Americans is an assumption of safety.

This is what true freedom is about.

Because bickering about healthcare reform cannot happen if your citizens are afraid to leave their homes.

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