I am reading the book, When They Call You a Terrorist, written by the founder of Black Lives Matter and she keeps coming back to this main point of people feeling that their lives lives are dispensable. The definition of dispensable: able to be replaced or done without. She said she first started feeling that her life was dispensable when she was 12. When she was 12 she knew the teachers just didn’t care anymore, she was aware that the police saw her as a threat and she learned that not a lot of society was rooting for her success. Thinking that a 12 year old is going around feeling dispensable is heartbreaking. She talks about her brother who had a bad mental health issue and would not take his meds at times then would then end up in jail. She told a story where her brother was in a courtroom and her brother was having a psychotic episode and no one stood up for him, they all made it apparent that his life had no value. It isn’t right to feel people’s lives are dispensable but if I am honest, I treat and think of some people in my community this way. Who do I feel lives are dispensable? Is it the person asking for money on the corner or the drunk stumbling down my alley? The “outcasts” of our society are there for a reason, many times it has to do with mental health or drug problems but that doesn’t mean they are dispensable. Just because they didn’t have someone in their corner standing up for them or lifting them out of their hardship, shouldn’t mean they are dispensable.
This makes me think of the other ways people feel that they are dispensable. I wonder if people who live next to run down homes feel dispensable. Or people who continually get overlooked for jobs. What do I loose by giving these people a chance? What do they gain for me giving them a chance?