My father was a killer, and a thief.
He’d search for signs of weakness in public, and he’d prey upon them. He’d scan the aisles of grocery stores and parking lots, searching for the weak and unaware.
Anyone walking with a limp, or paying too little attention to where they were going, was at risk of attending an involuntary seminar on the original meaning of “biohacking.” He’d hack apart their limbs and dissect their organs, and he’d walk out their door looking like Santa Claus. Most of his actual fortune was made selling body parts and organs on the black market.
I’m approaching old age now, and my children are grown. They don’t know the source of our family fortune. But I fear I may have to give them my death bed talks lessons soon.
So, what should I tell them?
Thanks to my father’s actions, I had a well-funded education. Like it or not, those murders broke our family’s cycle of poverty. Thanks to that education, I was able to get well-paying job. And thanks to that well-paying job, I was able to buy my children everything they own, and everything that got them where they are today. So in a roundabout way, my family owes everything to those murders.
So, what should I tell them?
Well, if I were a Leftist, I’d tell them they should give away everything they’ve earned. I’d tell them they should leave their doors and windows unlocked so that when some new thief came in to steal from them, some poetic form of cosmic justice would be served by sacrificing them on an altar of restitution that they did nothing to place themselves on.
I’d tell them to walk with limps and pay no attention to their surroundings when they walk outside to go buy groceries to make them easy targets for the next serial killer to come along. As long as serial killers are killing someone, it might as well be my children, right?
But since I’m not a leftist, the lesson I want to give them is the opposite. The lesson I want to give them is that—yes—there are crazy people out there who will take advantage of any signs you show of weakness. There are people who will case your home just to make sure you locked every door and window, who will walk out with everything you own and possibly suitcases full of your limbs and organs if you miss one. So pay attention when you walk outside—because those people are out there. Make sure you’ve locked every door and every window every night. Walk with attention paid to every person around you, at all times, no matter where you’re going, because you never know who the crazy ones are. You never know which one is searching for your lack of vigilance to mark you as a target.
And simply because I do give a shit about my children, it changes none of this that their fortunes were built by my father’s actions. And I won’t change my advice to them, simply because they benefited from actions they never asked for.
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Lessons from Robin DiAngelo on What It Means to Be White, Part 1
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