Next time they say they don't want to talk about politics, remind them of a concept that is frequently forgotten - privilege.
Being in quarantine these past few months has had its ups and downs for sure. We're all learning to adapt to being together 24/7. We do our best to make quarantine somewhat reflective of the "old" days pre-pandemic. We do our own thing during the day and end it with a sit-down family dinner. Every. Single. Night.
While we have the usual dinner conversations about classes and work, one topic comes up almost every night without fail - politics. We were talking and eating as usual when politics came up to which my brother suggested that we avoid talking about the subject. "It's all we talk about anymore." This sparked an interesting discussion and got me thinking.
I am fully aware that I will never truly be able to grasp the challenges that so many are facing, especially in today's day and age.
I'll never understand how it feels to lose my home in the middle of a pandemic because my parents make enough to support us.
I'll never understand how it feels to be racially profiled because I am white in a world that caters to light-skinned individuals.
Or how it feels to be an immigrant starting over.
I am privileged.
Those of us who can turn a blind eye to politics for a while are forgetting to acknowledge that our privilege is the sole reason for it. When we refuse to talk about politics, no matter your position, we're forgetting to think about others. We're forgetting the 3 million Americans who just filed for unemployment. We're forgetting the parents struggling to put food on the table for their family. We're forgetting the healthcare workers and first responders putting themselves and their families at risk. We're forgetting those who do not have access to critical healthcare services. To refuse something as seemingly trivial as talking about politics is refusing to recognize the influence of your privilege.
We are also forgetting that not getting involved in politics isn't really an option anymore. We need to address the issues pressing the nation and the world today. In addition to the coronavirus, we need to talk about climate change, poverty, the education system, government transparency....the list just goes on and on. Regardless of your political affiliation, there is a lot to be done. In a country that was built on the concepts of equality and freedom, there sure are a lot of Americans being left out of the equation.
So maybe next time you hear someone refuse to talk about politics, kindly remind them that it is a privilege to be in a place to live in a way that allows you to dismiss political issues and it is a privilege to be in a place to do something about it. Just because we choose not to talk about/or participate in politics doesn't make it any less of a reality for those facing the consequences of it.
We can't solve everything... but we can at least try.