My culture is always the dominant culture surrounding me.
I never have to assimilate to or accommodate another culture.
Almost all of the Disney characters look like me.
Almost all of the characters in the kids’ books I read my children look like us.
It’s great to be white.
My point to this list is not to point out every aspect of white privilege (you can find that list here if you’re interested). It’s to point out:
1. Some of the micro-aggressions of racism that people of color feel every single day
This is not the article for white people to leave comments about how they grew up poor too and had nothing and that there’s no such thing as white privilege. This is not the article about poverty, redlining, Jim Crow laws, or America’s past. This article is about the modern day slaps to the face that people of color endure under America’s red, white and blue every single day of their lives. Something that white people never experience but that pile up as psychological trash for people of color, causing frustration as messages of inferiority are continually poured over them.
2. That we definitely do not live in an “equal” society and people are definitely not treated as “equal” in our society
How can a white person possibly argue against this point? How can we act as if we know what it’s like to be a person of color and in knowing what that’s like, declare that society is equal and that whites and people of color are treated equally? Unless you are a person of color, you don’t know what it’s like to be a person of color. So when people of color talk about their experiences, we need to listen and believe them.
“Oh but so many play the race card!”
So you should stop listening?????
If 5 out of 10 children who claim to be molested actually weren’t, will you stop listening to all 10?
What a cop out for compassion, sacrifice and love.
The reality is, most whites who have a problem with this 2nd point, or with this article in general, have little to no actual friends of color outside of possible work acquaintances. They have no primary source information so they just make things up based on their own white experience and believe it as truth.
3. It’s NOT to make white people feel guilty or ashamed of being white, it IS to make white people become aware of reality, a reality that weighs heavy on our brothers and sisters of color every single second of every single day. A psychological and emotional burden. A burden we perpetuate when we deny or ignore it. It’s to raise an awareness that will lead to intentional, proactive resistance, community, alliances, and lifestyle changes.
It’s ok to be proud of your heritage. Mine is Polish. I’m proud of that. My mom makes great pierogis, same ones my grandma used to make (a little less butter…). I don’t feel guilt about being white. Guilt is not the emotion to be associated with racism, righteous anger is. Righteous anger that turns over tables, acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly.
Why do I write articles like these? I hate fakeness. I hate pretending. None of this was a problem to me when I was growing up in suburban Ohio around all white people. The older I get, the more people of color I know and am friends with and in community with. The more I realize how much better white people are treated than people of color. The more I realize how easy it is as a white person to simply ride the escalator that people of color were forced to build for me: saying nothing about it, doing nothing about it.
The older I get, the more it irritates me how we think if we convince ourselves there’s not a problem, that there actually isn’t a problem!
If I’m not mistreated, it must mean that no one is mistreated.
It should not be great to be white. It should be great to be human.
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