The weight of knowing

Last night I went on a date. Not a date… date, with a man, though that would have been nice, but a date with my friend and her husband. It was a fundraiser, silent auction kind, a speaker and meal dealeo. Expensive! I would not have gone had it not been for the free ticket. 70$$ a plate? Whew crazy!

The room was packed and all the tables elegantly dressed. Everyone bustled about, treated like first class by a handful of wonderful volunteers and it all felt so jovial and festive. As usual, I sat at my table alone while the others mingled. Not much for crowds I was able to breathe better and observe the crazy on my own level.

The surprise pre diner entertainment was a throat singer. Dressed in stunning green silk his head held high with a light tune playing in the background he began.  He hummed and whistled and chanted delicious overtones of harmony by manipulating his lungs and vocal chords into music that had me mesmerized.  Could not stop smiling at the magic of it.

The diner was so unbelievably good that once we all dug in conversation was instantly halted; all that could be heard was hums and mmms, lip smacks and the odd ‘oh my gawd that is delicious’. Head nods pursued, some, like me, closed our eyes and chewed slowly, devouring the pure enjoyment of the party between texture and spice that passed skillfully through the pallet. With a name like ‘forbidden rice’, how could you not just dig right in and love every bite.

The guest speaker had me in tears of gratitude and then tears of laughter and I thoroughly enjoyed her brilliant story of her personal struggles with the language barriers in a foreign country. Some of which made it almost too x-rated for the more conservative in the room but I could not contain my whoops and knee slaps at the tales she unfolded.

Once the talk was over, the silent auction closed the moderator began to explain again what the fundraising was for. I had only listened half-heartedly before as I was mostly excited to be out in some form of a social life with people I actually enjoyed being with and I was starving, to say the least.

I tried to listen with an open mind but my thoughts kept going back to my daughter and I could not get into the excited hum that was growing as the money was being counted.

I was full when I left; of food and good company and of the kindness of people but I could not help the tears that fell while I sat alone in my car. I wish every day for one tiny break so that my daughter could be so lucky to become the Dr. she has wanted to be since she was three without the constant monster of financial stress on her back. I know what it is to have it, that beast, and I know what it is to watch those who squander their luxuries. Its hard.  All our savings were lost in a custody battle pushed by her father that lasted four years when she was a toddler.  So now what. Now what?

The fundraiser was to assist a refugee student to an all-expense paid university program starting in the fall. I agree that yes, those who are less fortunate should get assistance. Absolutely! What bothered me is that it was leaving out those of us who are considered NOT less fortunate because of race and culture. Had my daughter had been there, had I chosen to have brought her, she would have left desperately upset, disappointed and feeling utterly guilty about it all.

I am finding that humans do not do ANYTHING on an equal scale. We go big in any one direction that suits our passions or our fears or our hatred and then wonder why things go bunk in the end. I’ll tell you why. Had my beautiful, sensitive, kind, loving daughter gone with me last night, knowing that someone else would get their dreams fully paid for by strangers, with the current knowledge that her own cousin, who is a third native, as blonde and green eyed as she, will be getting his education for free as well, would have shattered her.   The unfairness would be too much.  She too wants the dream, she too deserves the dream.  But she will not have a path paved for her because of who SHE is.

We are a cycular race, everything that goes around comes around. If we are to treat one edge of the coin with such influence then so must we treat the other or the circle becomes wobbly. In the hopes of becoming humanitarian in our efforts we have successfully alienated a whole new group of upcoming individuals. Unfair? Yes it dam well is. Am I racist? No I am not. I am a single mother on a fixed income, just trying to figure the best way to get her child through school.

This country is known for affirming values and dignity of ALL its citizens. My daughter is very much part of this diverse system. Just because she is white and comes from middle class (low LOW middle class) does not mean she does not have a culture. Doesn’t mean that she can be left out of the giving.  What it does mean is that there is not a place for her and she hovers between poverty and the dream at any given moment. She deserves just as much as any foreign born or Canadian born child does in any situation. Does she not?

If all funds, such as last nights, were handed out on merit, that would equal the playing field.  But they are not. In order to make ourselves feel good we go all out for one and leave the rest behind.   My daughter will have to beg, borrow and possible steal, work full time and be financially stressed during years of full time schooling all while KNOWING there are those just like her who have been given the full opportunity for free.   She said to me one day that if she could just have someone give her a food card every month with enough to eat, she would be happy.

She cant help when or where she was born.  No one can.

My emotions were shaken all over the place last night and I didn’t sleep a wink. I so enjoyed the comradery of a gathering of souls joining together for a common good cause and I’m so thrilled that there is a child out there that will have their dreams come true, stress free. That may teeter the future totter a bit. But, my daughter will be in debt up to her eyeballs come graduation day and a stranger and a cousin will not. That is a hard thing to watch and an even harder pill to swallow.

There is absolutely nothing we can do about any of this for my daughter’s sake except to follow the protocol set out in front of us. It is, however, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth to do so.

I worry for the future of this generation. Racism and discrimination will never end this way, it will just morph into a different form of beast.  Will we even learn what equality really means? Ever?

Today I am grateful that she is so gung ho and that nothing stands in her way. I wish the walls she had to climb didn’t have to be so high or so steep.  But then, I guess, while she is climbing, she will be too tired to watch those who get to fly.

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