Sunday, January 29, 2017

friday in seattle

I used to pride myself on being able to blend in well. I'm pretty intuitive and can navigate new with an innate sense of cautious yet curious direction. I've been mistaken as French/Dutch/Italian/Turkish in the corresponding country that I entered seamlessly with my American passport. What I haven't regularly recognized, is that this natural skill is actually a privilege I happened to be born with. Perhaps I learned to understand its utility while socializing with "white" kids on the playground or taking summer leadership courses with those who hadn't gotten full scholarships to do so, but I played no part in acquiring my light-to-medium skin or soft brown hair or relatively slender figure; I did not choose to be born into a religion that doesn't inform my daily wear; I had no control over the fact that my parents' cells combined, aligned, and duplicated "normally" nor that I ended up having crushes on boys, not girls. Besides the fact that I'm clearly a woman, I'm conveniently able to hide most markers of identity (difference) that some might consider less than.
The morning after the 2016 election, I flew up to Seattle for work. Two days following, Leslie joined. We walked through Olympic Sculpture Park to the Elliot Bay Trail. We—the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, the grandchild of Jewish refugees—were perfectly safe and thoroughly devastated. Nearly every signature coming out of the White House this past week has validated our response then.

Yesterday, the ACLU won a case to issue "an emergency stay", halting deportations under the President's executive order to ban entry to the U.S. from seven predominately-Muslim countries. The simplified rationale: sending these immigrants back could cause them "irreparable harm". Although hope is not lost, there are still so many reasons to be horrified. Screw blending in.


Penny for your thoughts...