18 August 2017

Justice Is Indivisible



I think of myself as Irish-American first of all, both of those things one and inseparable. I think about the history of my country and the country of my ancestors, beyond which I think of the history of Europe because that is where my people come from and that is the civilization that had the largest influence on the culture I live in. And just because these cultures are important to me doesn't mean I believe they are immaculate, or alone in the contribution they make to the world.

About the last thing I consider of any importance is the color of my skin, which I like just fine, but it doesn't make me better than anyone else. Admittedly, there are lots of things I don't have to worry about much, if at all, because of the color of my skin. The same goes for my being a straight male. And let's not forget that I am a Christian as well (though not a particularly good one). These accidents of birth confer undeserved privileges on me. As little privileged as I feel, it's hard to fail to see that others have a harder time, sometimes a terribly hard time, without them.

But what kind of idiot would I have to be to think that I am being threatened because others want the same privileges as I was born with? If others can reach a point where they don't have to worry about violence and discrimination because of their color or gender or religion or sexuality, how does that harm me? How is my 'race' diminished? Is there somehow only a finite amount of justice or decency or safety or even just plain courtesy in this world? So some of us have to lose justice in order for others to gain it? 

That's stupid, just plain stupid. I'll just stay Irish-American, if that's what it means to be white. I have nothing in common with people who think like that. Nor do I wish to. There's so much I don't understand about the world today, about people and how they see themselves and what they think is important, but 'I know that justice is indivisible. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'