When We Are Ignorant

During 2020, many privileged people in the United States were made aware of problems that most people face on a regular basis, largely because many were home and were being bombarded by the truth from different populations. Once a democratic president was elected, those same people interpreted the election as an invitation to stop engaging with the truth and eagerly anticipated the restoration of life before the pandemic. As a result, the offered “solutions” to many of the problems we face are the same “solutions” that people offered before, but this time, no one is pretending that there will be funding or even acceptance of such proposals, and many are just as outlandish as they sound. Understanding history and patterns is the first step in correcting many of the issues we currently face, which is why there has been such a push to ignore how our present has been shaped by the past.

Washington, DC is one of the most beautiful and controversial cities in the United States, being hailed as “Chocolate City” due to the large Black population, but also experiencing some of the worst displacement based on politicians needing to maintain lavish lifestyles funded by both taxpayers and lobbyists. Consequently, many families who enjoyed their existence and the accompanying vibrant communities were pushed into housing insecurity by people who finally realized the value of density and proximity to public transportation, and a common refrain among the mainstream media is how “improved” the neighborhoods have become. A mayoral candidate recently announced a potential solution for public school students experiencing housing insecurity: public boarding schools. While this idea may sound innocuous, Indigenous and immigrant populations would be correct in viewing this as a hostile correction to problems they did not create, since they are not responsible for the rising cost of living; the Appraisal Foundation is. Despite the rise in “awareness,” a political candidate is proposing cultural violence as a “solution,” once again placing the burden on the distressed, instead of looking for a real solution that dealt with housing insecurity.

Likewise, one of the reasons that unhoused people “smell” is because public space is becoming more privatized, meaning that there are fewer opportunities for showers and bathrooms. The pattern of privatization has become even more egregious in light of stagnant wages and rising costs of living, yet people still complain about “smells” while praising the hip, new businesses. A DC councilmember came up with a solution for this problem: those with specific medical conditions could show a card and direct businesses to open their bathrooms. This idea is not only administratively cumbersome, but before wealthy people took over the majority of public space, there was no problem. People are literally being forced to address a problem that failed to exist before the city enabled said difficulty, and this was even before people began screaming about the injustice of having to show a vaccine card.

At this point in time, many people are evaluating the deficiencies of the current system and considering what to do moving forward; unfortunately, almost none of these people are in positions of power nor do they have resources to enact these solutions. Instead, most government on all levels are run by people incapable to seeing anything other that what they already understand, and as a result, others are at risk for further traumatization. We can fix a lot of the problems that currently exist, but to do so, we will need to be honest that those in power who have allowed the problems to endure for decades while failing to fix them 1) will not have anything innovative to say; and 2) do not see any of the current issues as problems. We no longer have time to have “conversations” and “dialogues” because of our fear of a future we cannot control.

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