I’m grateful that I can make mistakes and still be able to succeed. I’m grateful that when my parents couldn’t pay for my schooling, I was able to receive federal student aid. I’m grateful that I can go through most of my life without certain worries, including the fear of not being able to see any one member of my family for reasons outside of my control.
These are the privileges I hold because of my citizenship, among other reasons like race, social class, and gender.
As Kyle writes in his column, the language we use is powerful. The world “privilege” has been one used and reused, on both liberal and conservative sides, and has in a way been sensationalized. You probably have a connotation to the word by now, but I implore you to consider the recognized definition: privilege – a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.
My point is that you may have a privilege over immigrants in our community and if you are already not recognizing this, it is your job to do so. Realizing that your worldview and your circumstance may be privileged over others’ is your responsibility.
With that said, you should be able to look at the recent ICE activity in our community and identify that these individuals we considered our fellow community members don’t, in fact, have the same privileges as we citizens do.
My hope is that while recognizing your privileges as a citizen, you also recognize that what has happened is wrong. On Sunday, March 26, both Emmanuel Ayala Frutos and Francisco Dominguez were arrested by ICE, without warrants, and detained across state lines in a Tacoma, Washington, holding facility. Dominguez was a former MHCC student and has since been released; Ayala Frutos is still detained in Tacoma. I hope you see that those were unjust arrests.
So, I implore you to question what you see and hear. I implore you to consider your privileges. And most importantly, listen to those in our community who may not have those same privileges.