To be Blind, Pretending not to See Their Need

To the wealthy, one benefit of living wherever one wants is the ability to see whatever one wants to see. If one wants to see specific land formations, such is there for the taking, even to the most of reducing such areas as seen with the dissipation of the “smoke” in the Smoky Mountains due to a decreasing tree canopy. If one wants to see the bustle of the streets, there are properties that offer access to restaurants and stores galore, even as the workers in those restaurants and stores are forced to live elsewhere. Point being, if those with means only see what they want to see, they will never be in the proper position to address those concerns.

The worst part of racial and socioeconomic segregation is that people can ignore the realities that others face. People can ignore racial tensions if they have no people of color around them, and/or they can ignore the lack of resources which make social programs necessary. The longer one lives without exposure to problems, the less inclined one is to react and solve those problems. When resources were more dissipated throughout the country, more people were exposed to every kind of lifestyle available, but these days, children only know how other children like them live. With such a foundation, the students of today will be less prepared and willing to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Several school districts are more segregated now than they were during the Civil Rights era, which means that the opportunities to connect with various lifestyles can only come from shared social activities–something marginalized populations can barely enjoy–or from social media, which usually has a prerequisite of at least one real life introduction. Therefore, most students learn with and live near people who only understand life the same way. On one occasion, a young student complained about an older sibling who worked in fast food, treating the older sibling like a loser. Upon hearing from another adult who had worked in the service industry, that young student was able to comprehend the global struggle being experienced by many younger adults. Without that interaction, the young student might have grow up dismissive of those who work hard, but are kept in the margins by the less sympathetic.

Children should learn to be around all types of families who live all ways, because without exposure, they could grow to become callous. The inequities of today will continue for at least one generation, and the communities of today are cultivating the perceptions of tomorrow. It is irresponsible to allow children to grow up not knowing that there are no assets that “everybody has.”


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