RANT (non-medical, avoid if talking about racism is a sensitive topic for you)🚨

I lived in Harlem, literally across the streets from the projects.

I didn’t believe in systemic racism and oppression until the age of 23 when I saw it play out in plain site.
It’s hard for people who don’t see it or feel it to believe. So I don’t blame most people who don’t think racisms exists

Just some random examples:
Harlem post office: long lines, bulletproof glass, no self-checkout kiosks
20 blocks south: post office with smiles, no lines, many kiosks

Public schools too. Harlem had brutally underfunded schools with teachers not trained to deal with or understand the unique issues of the community. 20 blocks south everything was fine.
The healthcare disparities were insane literally in neighboring zip codes. Life expectancy literally drops 10 years in 20 blocks
My roommate was a black medical school student. He was stopped several times a year by police. I was never stopped once.
my father and mother came to this country with nothing. They experienced prejudice and hardship as they were immigrants. But they worked very hard, two jobs each while finishing college
Early in my childhood my father showed me a story of a black child who scored a near perfect score on his SAT
Apparently this homeless child would sleep on the subways and study for the SAT.

My father would encourage me and say anyone could do anything.

And I believed that for 23 years, until I moved to Harlem
What I saw was a web-like system of control/influence that seemed insurmountable. From poverty, police, family units, schools, hospitals, literally everything ...
I still believe that anyone can do ANYTHING, and we each have the potential to rise up and achieve greatness. But I also recognize that there are serious problems in this country that may never be solved without top-down cultural/institutional change
There are systems in place keeping The poor, oppressed and uneducated, to remain poor, pressed and uneducated
Growing up I believe my father knew of these issues. He knew very well the systems of control designed to prevent or hamper success. But interestingly I think he hid me from it, I never felt it. Maybe that is white privledge, not feeling it
He described to me a phenomenon observed in flies. He explained, that if you trap a fly in a jar with a clear lid, it will fly up to the lid about 100 times. Then even when the lid is gone that fly will fly for some time as if that lid is still there.
My father cautioned me to not be that fly
Although, clearly I was white... I never felt “white”. I felt like a minority. I am Armenian heritage, likely the most massacred race/nationality of all time
the history I was taught was basically that armenia was oppressed by the Greeks, romans, Persians, Turks, Europeans, Russians... we even oppressed ourselves for a bit!

(but I also guess that means we are persevering sons of bitches!)
I grew up hearing stories of how our great grandparents died in terrible systematic persecution.

I was a minority.
My skin was white, but I felt black. I was different, I was a minority.

I empathize more with oppressed ethnicities than my skin color affords.

I feel likes Jews, native Americans, blacks, Hispanic, Irish/Scottish, these are my brothers!
I don’t feel “white”, but I am white.

I see racism, my eyes are opened. I am sensitive to these things. But I truly see no solution which upsets me at my core. I don’t have a clear vision for how this country heals other than time, mentorship and allowing bigotry to die.
In any case my fathers words for me still guide me today.
We can all be that big who slept on the subway and scored a 1600 on the SAT.

•Don’t trap yourself (think of the fly)
•Follow your vision
•Question authority
•Teach your teachers

I am so thankful for the guidance of my father & mother. Without them I would be lost.
I think without these powerful mentors in my life, I would have been lost. I imagine that I would have been much worse than lost without these mentors and with a different skin tone.
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