“Sometimes you have two children born at the same time; one is stillborn but the other one alive and healthy because the dead one gave the other a life transfusion in the womb and in essence sacrificed itself” Edwidge Danticat’s.
Danticat likens discrimination, and the subsequent prejudice and oppression, caused by a perceived scarcity of resources, prompting unnecessary competition. The limitations of the mother’s womb symbolize the perceived scarcity of resources in society which promotes intolerance and oppression.
As an aspiring ethnographer, I proudly claim that I advocate for cultural competency, inclusion and that there is room for everyone, but I realized at 4:18 a.m. on January 4 that I still have a long way to go.
I read a Facebook post that demanding regular gym goers to stop being a**holes, complaining about the increased number of people now frequent the gym as a part of their New Year’s resolution. The author of the post encouraged regular gym goers, to welcome the new comers, learn their names, sit next to them in class, and complement them as they made progress on their new lifestyle goals.
I thought about my recent holiday weight gains and clothes that had become slightly smaller since Thanksgiving, and I was deeply warmed and felt encouraged with my own plans to visit the gym more often in the new year.
Earlier that day I had also read the post of one of my best friends, who is an avid fitness advocate. She also reflected the increase of gym goers, her reflection was not mean but it was definitely less inviting.
“Intolerance,” one of my mentors stated, “Stems from a monkey bar mentality, that perpetuates from middle to upper class whites in America, suggesting that someone else’s success will cause me to have to let go of some of my own.” There is room for everyone to succeed, and everyone, in America and in a society, deserves to better themselves in whatever area of life that they choose.
Nevertheless, I was the same person who after spending weeks in the library last semester, I became indignant and cracked jokes when library saw more traffic during finals week. “If you haven’t learned it by now you’re not going to get it,” “If this is your first time in the library this semester it’s too late,” I would confidently say to a friend.
And this morning at 4:18 a.m. I realized that I was just as guilty of shutting others as those who went to the gym religiously and complained of newcomers and political activists who limit immigration and opportunity to certain demographics.
This fictitious idea of scarcity is what allows prejudice to bloom into more serious matters than going to the gym or studying for finals. Wanting others to succeed and ensuring that they have the opportunity to do so is the foundation of an equitable society.