Two angry white guys asked me the other day, “Why don't white lives matter?” My answer: ”White Lives have always mattered: why can't brown/black lives have a turn?

There aren’t any one-size-fits-all solutions to the entrenched social and economic problems plaguing the world. I feel ya though, angry white guys, on how you desperately want a simple solution to a few of those problems we’ve all screamed about; poverty, homelessness and racial divisions. Obviously, no one wants to be poor or homeless or murdered by cops, and no one wants to be blamed with one dimensional admonitions that are too simple and clean for such complex issues as justice and equity. It's our fault, collectively, and for too many reasons to solve with simple accusations or cure-alls. The myths espoused about rampant drug use, mental illness, laziness etc. ... are false and never help and always hinder progress.

While our legislators take almost every imaginable ploy rather than enacting equitable legislation, glaring inequalities of wage earnings persist, real estate markets hold affordable rentals at arms length, and racial justice failures fuel arguments, stalemates, manipulations, and posturing. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said it best when pointing out, “Our government has the resources to end poverty , just not the will ... but when it comes to unlimited war and tax cuts for the wealthy, we always seem to find the money.”

So what's the solution? Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the model I use when assessing crisis solutions, whether with a prisoner of conscience in Tehran or a battered woman needing escape plans. Look at human problems as you would building a house. You start with the foundation, framing, etc. Homelessness/Poverty: feed/house bodies first, jobs/education come later, after legs have steadied. Autonomy cannot be achieved and maintained without a solid foundation.

Tracy Reid


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(3) comments


[thumbup]Good letter, Tracy.




I very much enjoy reading the wisdom of your observations, knowledge and understanding put forth with such quiet dignity.

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