I am lucky

light
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.

I am lucky that I am white.

I am lucky that, as a Brit, I have been perceived as the “right” kind of foreigner in the countries I have lived in (even after Brexit).

I am lucky that nobody has ever tried to blame me for the actions of others who I just happen to share a nationality with (again: Brexit).

I am lucky that I have never suffered abuse – whether physical or verbal – due to my nationality, race, or religion (other than the harmless but not very funny “jokes” about how I should be used to rain).

I am lucky that I was able to live in two EU countries before Britain left the EU, which will presumably make it much harder for Brits to do the same thing in the future.

I am lucky that I had the opportunity to move to Switzerland based partly on the the fact that I was a European Union citizen.

I am lucky that I was able to search for and find a job in Germany without worrying about how to get a work permit.

I am lucky that I could marry my boyfriend next week if I wanted to with very little fuss (other than a bit of bureaucracy).

I am lucky that I will never have to correct anyone who automatically refers to my partner as “he”.

I am lucky that, through their father, my future children will be EU citizens and will be in a position to enjoy the same privileges I did if they want to live, work, or study in another EU country at any point.

I am lucky that the only discrimination I am likely to face is because I am a woman (for example, maternity laws in Switzerland are abysmal. And by the way Britain, the reason they’re currently half decent in the UK is due to an EU law!). I will never be told to “go back to where I came from” despite the fact that I am currently not actually living in the country of my birth. I would never have been assumed to be a foreigner in my country of birth based on where my grandparents came from (despite the fact that my grandfather was Ukrainian). I will never be refused permission to marry the person I love because they happen to have the same gender I do. I will never be beaten up for wearing the “wrong” kind of clothes or for kissing my partner in public. I will never be accused of being a terrorist because of my religion and country of origin.

It would be so easy for me to turn a blind eye to everything that’s going on and assume that the world will go on, somehow, and things will eventually get better.

However, other people are not so lucky, and those are the people we need to be there for in these awful, awful times. We need to reach out to those who may need help. We need to not ignore it if we see discrimination in action. Above all, we need to be kind to each other.

The world may seem like a dark place at the moment, but every single one of us is capable of doing something to spread a little light in our own small part of it.

This post was partially inspired by this post on  Ami im Schwabenland, this post on Rhyme and Ribbons and many, many posts by the ever wonderful Katy.

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14 thoughts on “I am lucky

  1. You are so right – how lucky we are. I am lucky to live here in Canada and to have been born me. I could have been born as anyone. Others aren’t so lucky and luck really is what it comes down to 😦

  2. yes. all the yes. you hit the nail on the head. it’s so important to be there and stand up for those who are not so lucky.
    i had someone at work say to me the other day that immigrants can go back to where they came from. i said, you do know i’m an immigrant right? and they said but you don’t count. you look like one of us. it was all i could do not to throw something heavy at him and just walk away.

    1. Ugh, that “right kind of immigrant” comment reminds me of when I lived in Germany. We moved to a place where a lot of Turkish/Italians/Croatians live and I was asked “Why do you want to live there? That’s where all the foreigners live!”. I just looked at them, then they realised and said “Oh, but you’re not *that* kind of foreigner!”. Meaning what? The poor kind? I know what you mean about wanting to throw things at people!

  3. I have experienced *slight* prejudices based on where I’m from, but I’m aware they are mild in comparison to what so many others have experienced. There have been two times since living here that I’ve received an update for the U.S. Consulate General advising American citizens to stay away from a certain area due to threats. That alone was disheartening and worrisome. I can’t imagine if that threat was real and constant on a regular basis. In fact, I think receiving those warning emails made me think and have even more compassion for those that experience it in a much more prevalent way.

  4. Yes, so many times yes.
    I do believe that there is more light than dark in this world, more kindness than ill will, it just seems that the darkness is louder, easier to see. The light being gentler, quieter, but always there, ready to restore balance in small ways – like each decent person doing what they can to make the change. The darkness will not take over, not matter how loud it gets because there are simply too many good souls on this earth.

  5. Yes to all of this. I am tired of hearing the “foreigner” talk when I go home (or here as well) and have to point out that I am just as much a foreigner in Belgium as the people they are talking about are in the UK and here. But of course, that’s not the point or some other bullshit… I’ve had the I’m also an immigrant talk many times but then it’s a travesty that I’d dare to point out their hypocrisy. Sigh. The world… half the time I just give up with it, half the time I want it to be so much more.

    Also, I really do hate trying to spell the word foreigner haha.

  6. Yes, this. All of it. I have many times over the past few months felt guilty about how lucky I am, about how the privilege I have allows me to be insulated from the worst of the many horrible things happening in the world at the moment. It’s important, therefore, for those of us who are lucky to continue to resist and fight and stand with those who don’t have the same privileges.

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