Let me start by saying if you want to argue with me on the topic of this post… just remove me from your contact list. I can no longer just sit back and not say something and I realize I’m going to lose some family/friends because of this but for those that maybe don’t know… or just forget… My husband is BLACK (who I couldn’t even marry until 1967- when my parents were 7 – let that sink in). Which means, my children are BLACK. If you decide that negatively speaking about something that DIRECTLY affects my family – like say Racism isn’t a ‘thing’, or police brutality doesn’t exist – then you are choosing not to be in support of my family and that is your choice.
Now, lets talk about Privilege first… because most people seem to misunderstand the term ‘White Privilege’. I wish there was another word for it so people didn’t automatically get offended by it but there isn’t. Guess what guys… there are more than just one kind of privilege. Now the Webster dictionary definition of privilege (noun) is: a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor and privilege (verb) is: to accord a higher value or superior position to… This is why people get offended when the word is used. People assume that white privilege correlates to the amount of money you have/had, the family you grew up with, and that you have faced no hardships in your life. This is not the case so if you get offended by the word please read on.
So, what ‘white privilege’ actually means today. Very simply put it means that a person of white appearance is not subjected to the same bias that a person of color is. It means that a person of white appearance does not have the very basic color of their skin working against them. There is an absence of a challenge or an impediment. Having white privilege doesn’t make you a bad person, but ignoring it, saying it doesn’t exist, or using it to your advantage (ie. A Karen) does. Think of the white woman in Central Park that called the cops on a Black Man who was bird watching and asked her to put a leash on her dog (in a leashed area). She knew her privilege and how to use it to hurt someone else. Let me say that one more time for the people in the back… Having white privilege doesn’t make you a bad person… refusing to acknowledge it does.
Let’s go back – How did white privilege start? Obviously slavery, which is its’s own monster of a post, then Peonage (which was white men hired to round up Black people on made-up crimes in order to legally make them work as slaves). Did you know that during segregation the government created the neighborhood designations that Black people were allowed to live? Did you know that if a black family went into a bank to get a loan most times they were denied where a white family would be approved? Did you know that ‘ghettos’ were created because Black neighborhoods needed to fund themselves… How do you suppose a community does that? Schools were underfunded because the property taxes in the Black neighborhoods were lower, classes were overcrowded and children had to drop out to help work and pay into their families. Then came Black Wallstreet (Tulsa Oklahoma 1921) 600 businesses, 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores, 2 movie theaters, 6 private planes plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, schools, libraries, law offices ad a bus system that were all black owned. It was glorious… they took the challenges society gave them and made something of themselves and they were bombed from the air and it burned to the ground by their own government and mass mobs of White people.
If you find yourself having to find a Black person to ‘agree with your stance’ about BLM or police brutality then sorry to tell you … your privilege is showing and you are actively weaponizing Black voices for your own comfort. If you need to condemn the victim based on their past… your privilege is showing. Tell me how saying a person who was on drugs, or a past drug abuser/seller deserved to be shot dead is any different from saying the girl wearing a short skirt coming home from a club deserved to be raped. Tell me why the media blows up because a white kid who got caught raping an unconscious girl was to go to jail he was going to lose his college scholarship instead of calling him what he is… a rapist! Or how a 17-year-old white kid can cross state lines with an automatic weapon and open fire can go home to bed while a 12-year-old black kid is killed in a park while playing by himself with a toy gun from Walmart that thousands of children have. Why can the police break into an innocent women’s home and shoot her dead in her sleep and have no consequences?Why can white people storm the capital building with automatic weapons and scream in police faces and nothing happens, but when black people march peacefully they get tear gas; they get white people parading around within their marches for the purpose of turning marches into riots, white people claiming to be allies but setting fires of destruction. You say ‘protest peacefully’ I say… they tried that… for years… Remember MLK – he was assassinated. Remember Colin Kaepernick – He was condemned and blacklisted from the NFL. And don’t try to tell me that these were ‘unfortunate isolated incidents’ because I can go on.
Even now when they try to peacefully protest there are people sabotaging it. I say where is the media coverage of the white cops being protected by Black men… You say why do they have to burn down buildings? I say read some history: Women’s suffrage movement took 100 years to win women’s rights… that’s right 100 Years and we STILL don’t have equal pay! Stonewall riots of 1969 – a response to police brutality that ended with the gay rights movement… When people don’t listen for 50+ years (that’s right the Civil rights movement started in the 1950s) what do you expect people to do? These current protests and marches are not about just ONE person… So don’t come at me with any ‘he was a criminal’, ‘he was on drugs’. Don’t talk to me about how white people get killed by police too. I’m not negating that fact. I’m not negating the fact that people have criminal pasts. I am pointing out that by vilifying the victim to justify a police killing… that is using your white privilege. I’m pointing out that the police can de-escalate and take a white mass killer (church, night-club … you get my point?) into custody while they still have their automatic weapons… but they shoot the black man on site… they kneel on his neck until he stops breathing. If you can’t see the difference.. you are ignoring the problem.
There are other forms of privilege, wealth privilege, able-bodied privilege, status privilege, straight privilege, and more. There are also other groups of POC that struggle with equality and I’m not negating that and I stand with them… but that is a whole separate post. Here is where your white privilege stands up and says “All Lives Matter” and I say… I’m not saying they don’t, I’m saying right now it’s our Black Lives that are suffering and need our support. There is so much more to these topics than I can put into one post. What I need to hit home to people is having white privilege doesn’t make you a bad person. As long as you are willing to listen, learn and help move forward so when my kids are teenagers and adults I don’t need to worry about them coming home at night because they were out in the world while BLACK.