This was written in the 15 minutes before school so forgive me my typos.
I want to be a villager. I have always had a need to be a part of things. I like to know what’s going on and I want to be included. I want to help, I want to be needed, I want to belong.
I was raised in the way I think lots of middle-class white kids are. I am a part of my family but my accomplishments are my own. My grades are mine, awards are based my work, and even if my teacher wrote me a letter of recommendation or spent hours teaching me something, I am the one who did the thing. I should probably say thank you but deep down, I know, that I am a winner.
I didn’t learn til the last few years that not everyone was raised this way. That some families talk about their grandparents. You only accomplished what you did because your grandmother stood in line for hours 30 years ago to get an apartment in this neighborhood. Or, I’m proud of this award because it shines on our whole family. Your light is not just your light it is all of ours and we bask in it together.
Sometimes these beliefs are even bigger than a family. The accomplishes of one might be the accomplishes of a whole group. But the thing is, even though its total and utter bullshit, this is not the way white people* think about things. Jeff Bezos’ accomplishments are not mine nor are Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s (and she’s Jewish and a woman!).
This lack of a village or a deep sense of community has always been hard for me. One of the many reasons I moved home after a year of college is that I missed being known. I missed having people who knew my life and my story around me.
I have been thinking a lot about community as the coronavirus spreads throughout our very very small world. I have been thinking about it as people talk about how it “won’t affect them because they are healthy.” There is a deep lacking of community there. There is such a sense of individualism. What you’re saying when you say that is so long as you survive this isn’t that bad.
I want to go back to a system of villages. I imagine in those the elderly would be valued for their wisdom. I imagine the sick would be carefully protected. I imagine we would all work really hard to be good villagers.