To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, October 18, 2021

Observercast

Privilege

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BY SHARON MARTIN

Sharon MartinThe thing about privilege is that those who have it often don’t realize it.

The divide between those who believe it is OK to shoot an unarmed teenager [or even a 12-year-old with a pellet gun] and those who believe a crime has been committed, comes down to whether or not you comprehend these facts:

– A poor boy is more likely to end up in prison, even if he isn’t more likely to commit a crime.

–Young black and Hispanic males end up in prison at higher rates than whites.

This is deliberate.

School funding based on property values rewards the wealthy and hurts the poor.

Starvation wages impact marriage rates, home ownership, and quality of childcare.

Prohibition and punitive measures for specific crimes hurts those most who can least afford legal services. In our country’s bloody history, laws have been used to control and lock away specific groups of mostly young men.

As the protests continue, so does the denial of what this is all about. It’s not about Michael Brown anymore. It’s about centuries of injustice. And many on the privileged side just aren’t seeing it.

This week in the teacher’s lounge, we were discussing the unrest. I suggested the link between economically poor schools and joblessness.

“Then why don’t they move?” one of the teachers asked.

Very quietly, her aide said, “They can’t afford to.”

This has been going on for generations, this systematic dismantling of self-reliance. And when anyone suggests that the system we’ve created might be to blame, we shift it instead onto those whom the system has slighted.

“It’s not my fault,” say those who have never been victims of segregation, racism, or an unequal justice system.

Well, it is. The fault belongs to all of us, both those who deny there is a problem and those who feel hopeless in the face of the problem’s enormity.

We can turn the injustice around, but it won’t be quick. It might not happen during the first generation or even the second. But it won’t happen at all if we don’t start. Now is the time to be honest. Now is the time to speak out. Now.

Make schools work for everyone. Insure that everyone has access to healthcare and healthy food. Pay wages that will feed, clothe, and house a family.

Demand justice. That means a black teen’s life is worth as much as a white teen’s, that a rich man’s daughter and a poor man’s get equal treatment under the law. The promise of this country is liberty for all.

We haven’t gotten there yet, but we can get to Jordan if we start the journey now.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

1 COMMENT

  1. There was definitely a few crimes commited. Strong-arm robbery and assaulting a LEO are two of them. Why don’t we judge a person by the content of their character instead of by the color or their skin? If a person commits strong armed robbery and assaults an leo, what does that say about that individuals character?

    Cops killing unarmed teens happened before Mike Brown. What about Gilbert Collar or Dillon Taylor? Do they not matter because they are not black?

    If a person is statistically more likely to end up in prison, then they are also more likely to commit a crime, unless you are suggesting we are imprisoning people that have not been convicted of a crime. If so, please reference your statistics.

    “This is deliberate”. I am trying to figure out how you know the intentions of every LEO and judge in the country that arrests and prosecutes people across the country?

    “School funding based on property values rewards the wealthy and hurts the poor.” I agree! This is why school choice is a great concept! Why are students forced to attend the school that the district requires them to attend based on their address? Why are parents not allowed to choose which school their children can attend regardless of their physical location? Furthermore, if a person has no children and they live next door to a person with five kids, why are they both paying equally to educate the children? How is that fair to the person with no children?

    “In our country’s bloody history, laws have been used to control and lock away specific groups of mostly young men.” Korematsu vs. the united states comes to mind.

    “This has been going on for generations, this systematic dismantling of self-reliance. And when anyone suggests that the system we’ve created might be to blame, we shift it instead onto those whom the system has slighted.” I completely agree. We do not have a safety net, we have a safety “web”. We need to modify the dozens of welfare systems to help people get back to work. The only way that this will happen is if there is more localized jurisdiction. A individual in Lawton is going to have different struggles finding a job compared to an individual in Denver. What we don’t need to do is increase the benefits of the welfare state, making it even less lucrative to get out and find a job.

    “Make schools work for everyone. Insure that everyone has access to healthcare and healthy food. Pay wages that will feed, clothe, and house a family.” Anyone, even an “undocumented immigrant”, can walk into an ER and get emergency care without insurance. If someone is poor, that is what medicaid is for?

    As far as paying wages that will feed, cloth, and house a family, if raising the minimum wage is the answer, then why don’t we raise it to $20 or $30 an hour?

    But what do I know. I have no college degree, I have no real skills. I am just a truck driver that makes $85k//yr, feeding, clothing, and housing my family while paying 40% in taxes that just happened to stumble upon your article while I was home for Thanksgiving.

    God Bless America, and God Bless our Troops.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.