Toward me, my brother has always been very loving, supportive, and kind. He cares about me and he’s shown that in big and small ways throughout my life. I didn’t do anything to earn my brother’s affection – I’ve just always had it.
A few years ago, my mom and sister were talking about her relationship with my brother. My sister said, “I don’t have the same brother that Rachel has. We have very different experiences of the same person.”
I’ve been thinking about this lately because I think the sibling dynamic in my family offers an accurate metaphor of America. Here’s what I mean…
For me, America has been a very safe, loving, and comfortable country to call home. America has always treated me, and generations of my family before me, with kindness and respect. Despite the fact that my family has never been affluent, we never struggled to access safe and affordable housing in areas that were zoned for great schools. I’ve never struggled to land job interviews nor have I been treated unfairly by government or societal systems.
America has been good to me. I didn’t do anything to earn my country’s affection – I’ve just always had it.
Sadly though, my experience of America has not been everyone’s experience of America. Historically, America has been dismissive, unwelcoming, and unjust to major segments of our population who don’t look like me. Those who are white, straight, and able-bodied enjoy many privileges in America that we did not earn.
As I reflected on our nation’s independence this weekend – a day that is filled with celebration for a country that has been good, supportive, and loving to many, I tried to remember that there are also many people in this country who have not enjoyed this same experience of America.
My hope is that America continues to evolve into a country where all people have access to the same innate privileges – affordable housing, good schools, quality healthcare, and equal treatment from our justice system.
I’m committed to doing my part to help make it so for the generations to come.
Are there things you are reflecting on this holiday weekend? If you have anything you’d like to share, I’d love to hear it!