This is one of those posts I’ll write but not publish for six months. Because, of course, none of this actually happened and it is totally, completely fiction.
This summer was kind of a shit storm. I had some major late and non-payers in July, and I was totally desperate; I went to some pretty unthinkable ends to make money. Ny which i mean that I signed up with a temp company, and I got a job doing telephone fund-raising for an extremely large, very popular non-profit.
The deal was this: we’d call local business leaders and pretend to arrest them, after which they would become our prisoners, and, if they agreed, raise bail from their friends and fellow business leaders in the community in order to cure the horrible, terrible disease we were so valiantly fighting.
Plus, a super-fun jail-themed lunch where the majority rich, majority white participants would laugh and joke and pretend like the prison industrial complex isn’t even a real thing. LOL!
Jail isn’t a fun charity lunch theme to the several hundred-thousand people incarcerated at this very second in America. Jail isn’t a adorable fund-raiser for the mothers that have to tell their children every fucking day not to provoke the police, not to invite their suspicion, and not to assume their own rightly-held presumption of innocence because of the color of their skin, the income of their household, or the expression of their gender. A fact that multiple irate people pointed out to me multiple times a day when I called them asking if they wanted to play jail for charity. Not all business owners are totally tone-deaf to the realities facing people of color.
Which, it seems, is a population that this particular extremely large, extremely popular non-profit were not interested in at all. I couldn’t help but notice the pictures of the charity cases they had all over the walls were 100% white. An experience that actually had me Googling the phrase “do black people get muscular dystrophy?” Which, it turns out they do. In fact, black patients tend not to live as long as white patients, possibly because of a lack of access for people of color . Go figure. I thought there were charities for that sort of thing.
I ended up getting fired after the first week for saying the F word. Because raising money from lacking-perspective rich people to help, what looks like exclusively white people, with a disease that seems to have disproportionately negative effects on black people isn’t nearly as satisfying if you’re also not allowed to curse. God fucking forbid.