"I don’t talk about politics": Code for "I’m privileged enough not to care"

Are you warm? Are you cozy? Are you comfortable? Is it nice being so insulated by your race, gender, and status that you don’t have to bare the chilling reality that millions of people are being oppressed and discriminated against? That children are dying at the border. That women’s autonomy is being ripped away. That the proportion of plastic to water continues to increase and animals continue to die. That people are spending years in prison for a drug that has now been legalized in 23 states. 

If these injustices do not elicit a visceral anger within you, one that you cannot help but to speak out about, then yes, you are privileged, and the decision to stay complicit in these wrongdoings is your privilege in its realest, purest form. The ability to overlook social injustice is privilege in action. It allows you to sit in a state of bliss, far removed from the reality of today. More worried about your Facebook feed being “too political,” and annoyed that “everyone can’t just get along,” than the fact that kids are now learning the best place to hide in case of another school shooting. 

Because of your privilege, you do not have to worry about your child being ripped away from your arms as you seek asylum from a country that offers nothing but poverty and violence. You do not have to worry about your rights hinging on your sexual orientation. You do not have to worry about your next encounter with a police officer possibly leading to your death. You just don’t. 

The important thing is, just because you don’t have to worry about all these things, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Just know, the next time you avoid talking about politics for the sake of social simplicity, you’re silencing your voice. You’re limiting your potential to echo the thunderous outcry for equality in this country. Your voice is no small thing. It reverberates in the hearts and minds of those around you, and opens eyes to injustices and perspectives that need to be heard, understood, and accepted. 

As fellow human beings, we should worry every day about the people whose rights are being targeted, manhandled by Trump’s administration, and discarded; like the only people on the president’s agenda involves wealthy, heterosexual, white men. The next time politics comes up in the conversation, don’t avoid it, seize the moment and speak up for the people who, unlike you, have to worry. Every. Single. Day.