When we thought 2020 couldn’t get worse, rightfully so we decide to add an overdue battle to the collective grief we are under. Racism. Acknowledging white privilege comes with a pang of guilt that hits in the middle of the stomach, a guilt that stems from the understanding that this whole time you were a silent participant in the game called Life. A game where the same group always wins is not a game, but a sham. You worked the system, always to your conscious or unconscious advantage because although you are considered a minority, a Latina, you can pass for white.
Part of this privilege comes with the added bonus that I have gotten to see how different countries deal with race. Costa Rica has colorism, where the blonde and blue-eyed babies are preferred over the babies that don’t have these traits. Although we have a black woman as vice-president, referring to the darker one of our friends as “blackie” is common and in the Limon province, a place that is mostly populated by afro-Costa Ricans, has the highest poverty rate in the country. In London UK, although at times it seemed more respectful, there were micro and macro aggressions present throughout. And my time in the US has been shaped by my time in Washington DC and New York City, cities that have failed the black community over and over again. To the extent that I have gotten to live in many different cities, I have yet to see a city that is not racist or discriminatory towards the black community.
Recently in one of our Instagram Lives, I was shocked when Dani Fusaro told me she doesn’t consider herself an EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) advocate even though much of her social media presence surrounds her unique experience with EDS. She explained to me that she believes the advocate title belongs to the ones in the frontlines, changing policy. While I do not call myself an activist, I call myself an advocate. I am a person who publicly supports minority groups. I do not believe I have put in the work, time or effort that others have to effect change at the policy level to warrant the title of activist and this leaves me with more guilt. This guilt that I could be doing more but right now but nothing seems appropriate or enough.