GroupMe is one of the best apps in existence when it comes to being counterproductive, inciting arguments, and discussing nonsense. Whenever I see discussions on politics, race, and the like in my unread messages, I typically decline to participate and cringe as I follow the incomprehensible exchanges that include false accusations, and complex vocabularies designed to make arguments appear stronger. These arguments, for the most part, do not accomplish anything and only escalate tensions between parties.
The other day, I acted out of character and posted in a GroupMe because if there’s one thing that grinds my gears, it’s when beneficiaries of white privilege fail to recognize how fortunate they are. I was responding to a news story of a girl at Westfield High School, my old stomping ground, who expressed an anti-Westfield viewpoint, triggered by her inability to have a “Love Trumps Hate” display in her frontyard due to town laws over displays on properties. Yes, Westfield is white bred. Yes, it’s conservative too. But to not recognize the privilege and luck that comes with living in a town where there is very little crime and racial tension, with an excellent public school system and public service system in a time where millions are without food, water, are persecuted for religion and race, and live in 1800s era conditions. There is no such thing as Utopia, and it really appeared to me that this student was expressing their displeasure with the fact that Westfield is not.
Expressing this opinion provoked an immediate response, which actually opened my eyes to the deeper realities and privileges present in Westfield and other predominantly White suburban towns. The idea that the ability to “stay silent” is a privilege stood out to me, as if there was any truth to this, I would be an abuser of this privilege, with my reluctance to engage in political discussions. Does this make me close-minded? Am I failing to see an area of how privilege affects my life, by declining to participate in dialogue (arguments) on race issues? I just simply cannot find the merits in doing so in a GroupMe. For causes that one is most passionate about, they should avoid the group messages, get out and join a rally, a march, or actively lobby to make a difference.