When did affliction become criteria for helping others?

Life isn't fair. At least that's what most of us are told when we have to go through difficulty or issues within our lives.  Most of us use our life experience, mostly bad experiences, and turn them around to attempt to help someone else by sharing our experiences.  However, when did being afflicted with a disease, being homeless at some point, being in jail, or on drugs become A-1 criteria for being able to give back and be respected?

I get it, most people have to go through life altering experiences before they are able to see that helping others is their calling.  I also get that going through a difficult situation leads you to reflection and self-awarness later in life.  The bottom line is in order to be recognized publically and in the media your story has to be sensational.  But what about those who are just wanting to help another person? What about those who have not gone through drastic life altering events or those who do not want their life's struggles to be at the forefront of their public service? Do they just get pushed aside for the people who have had cancer or have overcome a drug addiction?

The short answer is yes, specifically for women or men who are ethnic minorities.  It seems to be an expectation that someone who is not of European decent is not able to recognize that public service is important to the value of life without having been at the lowest of the low point in their lives. 

My life has not been great, I had a ridiculous childhood filled with drama and upheaval, but I managed to become the person I am today in spite of that.  I do not want to go around telling my bootstraps story all the time.  I just want to help other people.  I have decided to dedicate my life to public service but I am finding that as a African Amercian/Black woman it is difficult to be respected without having a back story.  I get questions like "why are you doing this?" and "what's your story?"  all the time.  Why does that have to be who I represent myself to be? Why can't I just be a woman who wants to make an impact on the world by sharing my talents for helping others? 

I would really like to know the answers to those questions.  I would really like for the world to be different and I know that helping one person at a time is a start.  I enjoy being a beacon of light for someone else, but at what cost and how many times will I have to tell my story in order to be able to be afforded an opportunity to do so.

 

Stuck in Limbo

Hopefully not for the rest of my days

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