by Alex Symington…….
I was checking out my Facebook feed and came across a photo/meme of a young white woman holding a sign that read, “Even White People Are Sick of Other White People’s Racist Bullsh*t”. I immediately concurred. Many voiced their feelings on the subject, both white and black. One response from a white woman in particular caught my attention. She agreed that she was over white folk’s racism, but added another complaint. “Seriously am, and further more….I sure would like to know what happened to MY portion of the “White Privilege” I was SUPPOSED to receive that everyone is talking about……Cuz as far as I’m concerned only that TOP 1% receives ANY AND ALL PRIVILEGES and no-body else….”
That statement struck me with such force; I felt compelled to point out that “white privilege” is much more than money and/or position, so I posted the following:
“As a white citizen of the USA I have the privilege of not fearing for my life if a cop pulls me over. I have the privilege of not worrying about the safety of my children or loved ones at the hands of the state as they go about their day. I have the privilege of shopping in a store and not being suspect or watched. I have the privilege of going anywhere I want and not having to think about how I behave or appear to others. For God’s sake, I can walk out in public with an AK-47 slung over my shoulder and nobody would say a damn thing. That is white privilege.”
A dear Facebook friend of color read the exchange and put it succinctly. “White folks have the privilege of not knowing they are privileged.” Bam! That is the crux, the kernel, the ironic chewy center of this thorny topic. We white people never even have to think about all those extra precautions, compromises, alterations and 24/7 additional maneuvers that must be consciously carried out in order to simply live.
As if on que, the nice white Facebook lady started doing the denial two step and dosey doe. In reply to my comment she reflexively defended herself with, “Actually it’s not just a color thing, sometimes it’s a poverty thing and every parent worries about their kids…cuz kids do stupid things sometimes….”
She went on for a few more sentences denying her privilege and while so doing watered down and invalidated the African American experience, much like the specious “All Lives Matter” crowd attempts to water down and invalidate the legitimate “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Why are white people in America so sensitive about race? It’s ok… Why would a white person bother to look closely at his or her position in life when it’s all a given; an accident of birth. Many, well meaning white Americans believe they are free of any racist inclinations and happily go through their lives in blissful misunderstanding of how deep-rooted racism is in American culture. African American writer, John Metta makes the distinction between the White American, “I” and the Black American, “We”.
Metta puts it this way, “Black people think in terms of ‘we’ because we live in a society where the social and political structures interact with us as Black people. White people do not think in terms of ‘we’. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them. Black children grow up early to life in The Matrix. We’re not given a choice of the red or blue pill. Most white people never have to choose. The system was made for White people, so White people don’t have to think about living in it.”
This last bit by Metta is dedicated to the nice white Facebook lady, “But here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings.”
So White America, you can go about your business as usual, as is expected or you can take a moment and reflect on the reality that, by God, you are privileged. Denying this truth does nothing but help to maintain the pathology that is Americentric racism.
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