The best way to truly comprehend the inequality in the USA is to use the metaphor of a Monopoly game. The rules are pretty simple- everyone starts with the same amount of money, and as you work your way around the board, you can buy real estate when you land on a property. You then get to charge your opponents rent when they land on your spot, and rent keeps increasing as you buy houses and hotels to add to youe property. The goal of the game? When everyone is bankrupt, you win. Simple, right?
Let’s imagine the African American experience in the US. If each time around the board of a Monopoly game represents a year, then the first 350 times around the board, the African American player got nothing (slavery started in this land in roughly 1619). The rest of the players are using the income they were given at the beginning of the game. Finally, in the next 50 rounds around the board, the African American player gets a tiny bit of money to start catching up. If you have ever been that far into Monopoly game, the chances of EVER catching up are simply impossible. The frustration felt in the game is the SAME frustration many African Americans experience every single day. This metaphor might seem silly, but this the easiest way to comprehend our situation that was 401 years in the making. What do we do? How do we switch to a new game?
The economic disparaties in the US are massive. Please read more to learn about our shocking stats that happened in just the past decade: Pew Reserach Center. When our expectations no longer meet our reality, anger, frustration and disquiet erupt in what is often referred to as the Tocquville effect.
What is the short term solution at this point in the story? Stay curious. Stay open. Listen. Learn. Vote. Ask questions. Real change is something ALL of us have to do together. Let’s sort this hope thing out together, one conversation at a time. This is not a time to sit this one out or stay quiet. Let’s evolve together.
Things are changing fast here in the United States. Perhaps the woman in this video can/should/will become a voice to lead the way. She speaks for so many who do not have a voice. Please watch this powerful video of Desiree Barnes as she admonishes the looters outside of her apartment in NYC.
Yes, people are angry. Yes, people have a right to be angry. Yes, this is the bumpy ride into the 21st century, as we dust off the oppression and disequilibrium of the past centuries. Let’s start a new conversation so the looters, and people who are destroying public and private property are held accountable. What we are seeing today following days of civil unrest in the US is our soldiers, deployed by our president to protect these public and private places. This is not freedom. This is something swampy and ugly. Let’s follow Desiree Barnes’ powerful expression of anger to make change in a meaningful way. “When the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.” -Edith Hamilton