If you ask the average American if they remember Ebola, most would probably guess that it’s the name of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s most recent child, rather than a deadly disease that has killed more than 10,000 people in West Africa since 2013.
People like to say that there is a white privilege in this country, and while they’re almost certainly right, I think there is also such a thing as American privilege. Because we are such an economic and military powerhouse, viewed as the land of opportunity, and share a border with such few countries, we don’t really have to concern ourselves too much with what’s going on in the rest of the world.
I mean, we definitely should. But most Americans do not. Hence American privilege.
The World Health Organization just declared Liberia Ebola-free, by the way.
Besides island countries, citizens of other nations have no choice but to be deeply attentive to nearby countries. Greece’s recession, for example, has had a profound impact on the entire economy and currency of every country in the European Union. Puerto Rico, meanwhile, is an island territory of the U.S. also amid a recession, but nobody cares.
Anyway, so it comes as no surprise that when Europe finds itself facing its biggest humanitarian problem since World War II, a migrant crisis, it’s still not enough to capture America’s attention.
The closest we get in the U.S. to the topic of migration is Donald Trump accusing all Mexicans of being rapists.
The crisis certainly got the attention of the rest of the world last week, when a photo of a Syrian infant boy lying face-down, dead on a beach was widely circulated on the Internet. Or when Czech officials began marking the hands of migrants upon entry, reminiscent of the Nazis’ procedures during the Holocaust. Or when Hungary built a fence to keep them out after chaos broke out at a train station when migrants were told they were being trained to Austria but instead were sent to refugee centers.
They’re coming from mainly Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, escaping civil war and the advance of terrorist groups, searching for better days in prosperous European countries. And leaders of those countries have no idea what to do.
But hey, we’re more than 4,000 miles away from all of this, so let’s rock out to the new Justin Bieber jam instead! That hook in the chorus that Skrillex added is sick, yo!
Americans aren’t bad people. We’re just blissfully ignorant because we can be.
But in a way, that is the American Dream. The same dream these migrants are seeking, that we very much take for granted: to live a carefree life in a comfortable home in a country where we are welcome.
And yet, Justin Bieber, that Canadian slimebucket, still can’t take a hint.
Go home, Justin. Go home.