A year ago I would have scoffed at the idea of White Privilege, what a ridiculous concept! “I don’t feel privileged, where is my privilege?” “White Privilege is a concept made up by black people to make us feel bad about how they are treated.”
White Privilege is the fact that we don’t have to think about the color of our skin.
Even initially during my dialogue with my black friends, I was unsure I believed that there was such a thing. I had plenty of white friends who stood by my side and told me I wasn’t crazy. So, therefore I had a cushion of white privilege surrounding me.
This post isn’t going to make people like me, in fact I may piss a lot of people off. I will likely be considered a racial sympathizer (which I’m not totally sure is a bad thing). However, white friends, please take it from me when I say I know where you are coming from.
When someone posts something about “the blacks”, so much of the initial response is dismissive and callous. In fact, many times for me I immediately become skeptical of any race related news story or piece. I have often and prejudicially been one to dismiss a social media post or sharing of a news article. It wasn’t until I finally got fed up with arguing that I started to listen.
When I took a step back and listened to the pain of a people, especially ones I knew personally, telling me of micro aggressions, sharing stories of pain and hurt I began to step over to their side, though still cautious because I didn’t understand. The further I stepped to their side, the more I saw things from their perspective. I began to see the responsive comments to what they were saying, and sat in wonder, why would someone say that?
I can’t tell you how much it hurts when I hear a white person respond to a black issue by blaming the black people. The common rhetoric I hear the most is that it’s easy, all you have to do is obey the law! “If they just worked hard they could be successful”, let that resonate for a second.
You are presuming, already, that they aren’t working hard.
I don’t live in a world that I have to look over my shoulders. I don’t worry about a traffic stop going the wrong way, or that I will be accused of something I didn’t do, just because of the color of my skin. I don’t pretend to think that it’s just the blacks.
I grew up in a white world, where the sight of a black person caused me pause. This is America.
I watched a video where children, even black children, pointed to black dolls and said “that’s the bad one, that the ugly one”. If this doesn’t break your heart to see the oppression ingrained in them at youth, you cannot even see or understand.
I’m tired of my white friends that really don’t have to worry about this problem. I have lost sleep at night with this. We whites can actually just dismiss these issues and chalk it up to a problem that isn’t ours, but it is. Until the whites start to change, the blacks will not be heard. Until enough whites see other whites standing up and saying “hey, this isn’t right”, the whites won’t listen.
See, the oppression isn’t overt, and can easily be overlooked. If we whites aren’t willing to hear our black brothers and sisters, they will still be mistreated and forgotten about. Our systems have made it hard for blacks to do all the stuff. Period.
We can’t any longer take comfort that we have “laws” in place to prevent this from happening, because laws typically only protect people after the fact, the problem is in our thinking. The problem is at the individual level, where either we make the difference or not.
I already know the responses I will get to this article, I’m prepared and quite frankly am exhausted from reading the same things. Do I think that the media has it right most of the time, no. Am I still skeptical of things when they happen, yes. It will take much more than me writing an article about racism to change anything, but I can’t go any longer without saying something.
I’m mad at my white friends, because they don’t hear what is being said. Stop blaming blacks for their problems, stop telling them it’s their fault. Have compassion and see when a people group is speaking out, that they may actually have a legitimate concern.