I have been lumped into a group of the viIe. I have been defriended, told I was wrong, referred to personally as being deplorable, silenced briefly by hurtful words and placed into the category of white privilege. I am White, but am I also privileged or does that adjective travel by law with my color?
The definition of privilege by Webster’s is described as, “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.” Certainly all white people are not privileged because poverty crosses color lines. Maybe it’s less about color and more about economic status truthfully.
I’m not rich, though my parents probably are. My husband and I have four children and he is trying to buy into a law firm or start his own if that doesn’t work out. I don’t work per say, though I am busting my ass at this writing thing and my plan is for it to be financially beneficial for my family. Maybe not to purchase food or clothing, but certainly to pay property taxes, rising health care costs, contributions to empty college funds, and to tithe a bit more to our church. We have school loans which will be paid off in another 13 years and our health insurance is now over double our mortgage.
I relish freedom. Perhaps I have watched too many documentaries on North Korea but I deeply value the rights afforded to me and admittedly, through no work of my own. Freedom of speech, the right to vote…neither taken for granted by me and yet, I am obliterated for being one of the few that voted. One hundred and forty six million of Americans of voting age did not even register or show up to cast a ballot and yet, I have been cast aside for my thoughtful and intentional choosing of a candidate, a right afforded by our constitution.
You want my truth? I voted for Obama eight years ago, but I really don’t like Obamacare. I voted for Roy Cooper this go round because I think the bathroom law is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I voted for Trump because my family is drowning in medical bills and all we can buy is crappy insurance. I can’t buy a policy that meets the needs of my darling son. I swallowed my pride and have applied for Medicaid not once, but twice and been denied. The benefits of Medicaid for children are spectacular and nearly identical to the benefits of federal employees. Why can’t I buy insurance that is as good as Medicaid? $43,300 next year for medical expenses and today my pediatrician called to tell me that BCBS has denied every test that he requested. I’m so tired of arguing and fighting and being broke.
My family is desperate, ashamed and admittedly the once silent middle class. If I speak, I am accused of white privilege because I have food and health insurance. What about the school loans we have been paying for 12 years? What about the credit card debt for $13,000 that only includes the therapy visits for my special needs son? What about the physical therapy we haven’t been able to afford since the spring? There must be others like my family that are too embarrassed to speak up, shameful to admit they have debt and no savings, worried because they have done everything right and still can not make proper ends meet.
I can handle the accusations, part of the rights that travel with free speech mean I will gratefully turn the other cheek. I speak now after deciding that my silence only fueled the misconception of who voted for Trump. I must be true to myself and the hope I have for families in my community. I care so very much about them. I really do. Our four children are part of the minority at their wonderful title 1 schools. I have raised money for swimming lessons and personally shivered for one month in a pool so that children could save themselves. My husband and I have collectively volunteered to coach over a half dozen seasons of soccer and basketball combined. I have signed up the same child nine times for recreation sports. We have reached out to his family, taken him to see the ocean for the first time in his ten years. It’s just an hour away. He has studied at our table and joined us for family dinners and we have talked about his future. We are hoping he will be granted a scholarship for Camp SeaGull this summer. As for my children, I have applied for a position in the same camp’s health center as I want them to have the same opportunity and it is a luxury we can not afford if not.
I have been writing a blog for nearly a year now. Over the last two days, I have lost over one hundred followers. Do I like seeing my numbers plummet? No. Am I desperately trying to reach 10,000 so I can try to obtain a publishing contract? Yes. Does my family’s financial well- being depend on it, particularly my special needs son? Yes. It’s worth it to me though as I vowed a year ago that I would be transparent and truthful and so I speak. I choose not to falter on my promise. If you want to invite your friends to like my blog, that would be great. If you want to erase me and my words from your life, that’s okay too.
Just know that I adore my community and want the best for the children that spend their days with my own. It’s just a little town in Eastern NC on the Albemarle Sound, but the people here matter. I don’t need to travel a thousand miles when I can ride my bike a few blocks. I want the children that I call by name at our one elementary school to have options and opportunities. I have this son, Amos, too. He is three and can only say Mama and we need a diagnosis and testing and more therapy. We are desperate and saw no way out with the alternative plan, so we gambled. After tonight, I’ll get back to business though my heart longs for a truce of understanding.