The Blue Dot in a Red Sea

When you think of your hometown, you probably think of childhood memories with friends and bittersweet summer nights before the first day of school. I think of those moments too; such as the bike rides with my favorite neighbor and the fun summer days at the pool. Many of these memories were set within the gated community of Aurora, Ohio I grew up in. Middle school was like the movies filled with silly crushes on boys and drama from last Friday’s football game. We were able to go home to freshly cooked meals and financial stability. What more could someone ask for in a childhood? 

High school was a time of change and development, much like other teenagers who are trying to figure out who the hell they are. Little did I know that my new all-girls high school in Shaker Heights would open my eyes to the ignorance of my hometown. Female empowerment, gay rights, and Black Lives Matter were never talked about in Aurora. This blue wave hit me like a truck once I immersed myself into the social justice classes offered at my school, as well as the diversity/activism student led clubs in which I joined the leadership teams.  

Why was I never aware of the oppression and struggles that so many people had been facing right by me, and why was I unaware of my position within it all? The answer to that was the white privilege that I lived with in the little bubble of Aurora. My hometown leans very right when it comes to politics and the ignorance I grew up in shielded me from the terrible values I was surrounded by. Educating myself within an all-girls institution helped me develop a well rounded perspective on the social systems within our country, which I otherwise never would have developed if I remained in my small town high school. Without the accessibility to explore and unpack the influences of these systems, my passion for equity and empathy would have never been discovered.

Living in a bubble of white privilege can be so comforting because you are not required to fight for your existence and everything is already built to help you succeed. As a white person, you can remain ignorant and enjoy the fruits of oppression or you can take action to change the continuous cycles of oppression against everything outside of the bubble. As the blue dot in a red sea, I try to voice my opinions and explain the dangers of ignorance to the people around me.