Today I am privileged. I haven’t always been.
In Uruguay, haven been born there, I was more or less like everyone else. To say I did not experience difference as such. It’s not that we were all “the same” but the small differences fell under the umbrella which covered our sameness, we were all Uruguayan.
When we moved the United States I, for the first time, experienced myself as different. I did not speak the same language, eat the same food, have the same cultural history as the majority of the people around me. Not only did I instantly become different but also – in many cases – I became less than. Less than those born there.
And now, living in Namibia, I am often perceived to be a member of the privileged group because of the colour of my skin.
Society tries to impose on us boundaries. These boundaries are mean to box us in, define us. But they are not real. I did not change. My environment did and the rules society imposed on me did. But I did not.
Nothing has changed and yet everything has. And to some extent I do need to adjust, adapt, bend to fit a mold all the while knowing that the change is superficial. I am neither like everyone else, completely different or less and I am not better than another because of the color of my skin.
My experiences will not allow me to be boxed in.
I was struggling for my own equality in a society that did not readily provide it. Now I am superficially viewed as a relic of a history that does not pertain to me.
We generalize, we assume. We are incorrect in our assumptions and in our prejudices. They speak volumes about us and little else.