I live in a Safe Place. How many people can say that? Not many in the world. I’m sure people in my district, my town, my state, my country even my street probably cannot say they live in a Safe place. Victims and witnesses of domestic violence can’t say that. Gravely sick people don’t live in a safe place. People of color can’t say they are safe every single where they go, many know safety rarely. Huge areas of our nation are being torn apart with gang violence, places where people hear gunshots daily. Across the world for combatants and witnesses, war is their reality. So many of us know peace, yet we create our own discord. We fight with our loved ones or focus on our problems, hurt our bodies, put ourselves down, and take clear skies and smiling eyes for granted.
I have Space around me. Houses and streets and acres and acres of woods, streams, meadows and trails. People in New York City for example have to be very clever or spend serious money on the hour to have even 100 yards of unoccupied space around their bodies. Here I am in a house with three rooms and a basement all to myself and a kid and a cat, with grass on all sides and a forest in the back yard and beyond. It slopes downward in the middle so I can see across a quarter mile to the trees on the other side. All covered in kudzu. I can look out there and see a couple backyards, but no other people. Imagine that in Hong Kong, if you can. I expect most livable parts on this planet are not as empty and beautiful as this. And I expect there will be fewer all the time.
Even the plants cannot say they live in safe and spacious places. We are harming their safe space to create our own. Invasive species of plants and animals attack their eco systems. We tear them down and dispose of our waste in their space. The plant’s sacred space is so peaceful, of course we want to horn in on those vibes they’ve created. They do so well despite us, and are so forgiving of us.
There is a small circuit of people who know about and go to the safe and beautiful spaces we have claimed on the earth. Money and privilege certainly could describe the majority of people who occupy these spaces, white is another term that can be used profusely when describing the people one sees in the beautiful places one goes to as a white american. But money and privilege and skin color or even gender are no longer needed to access these parts of society, you just need to know where to go and how to get there. It is the knowledge that we pass down to our own kin that is our main privilege, a knowledge we can share with peaceful folk of different origins as well.
These safe and spacious places are Physical Spaces to live in and be in, as well as Industries to work in and people to be surrounded with. Construction and permitting for example is an area that white men specifically are largely in-the-know about. Not out of malice but simply out of inheritance, the knowledge of how our bureaucracy works has been taught to and learned from white men who built the buildings. This means generations of relationships as well as ways of speaking and dressing.
In order for more people to be involved in the building of buildings, white men need to go out of their way to teach their daughters and friends of minorities the Ways of the Industry, and they need to adapt to the changes new faces will bring. Every person and every industry could benefit from teaching as well as learning from someone with a completely different background. The ways we do things would improve as well.