First things first.
Racism in America exists. Systematic racism in America exists. Parts of the government are corrupt. There are problematic and dangerous police procedures. Oppression of human beings based on the color of their skin has been an active part of the societal norm for generations, and it is still the case in modern-day.
Second. White human beings have a social advantage that allows unconscious enjoyment and more ease of life. That being said…
White Privilege is not the suggestion that you, as a white human being, have not suffered or struggle or that you have not worked hard for your accomplishments. White Privilege is an unearned, and usually unacknowledged, social advantage that you as a white human being have simply because of the color of your skin. Your skin color has not been the cause of your hardships. It also means that you have the power to remain silent or retreat from a movement that makes you uncomfortable. It allows you to choose when and where to take a stand.
I have privilege. I am a white, middle-class, educated, woman. I have White Privilege. I feel guilt over the feelings I have felt when someone posts, “Check your privilege.” Because the truth is I never have before. I need to. I have been part of the problem and simply followed the subconscious teachings of the society that I grew up in.
I have felt guilt over feeling discomfort concerning the recent events of police brutality and racism. I feel guilt over staying quiet and not being a strong enough ally. I feel guilt over the fear I have been feeling to speak, to share, and even validate other’s words.
I am ready to turn these feelings of sadness, timid fear, and discomfort towards action and purpose. I admit, this process is new to me but I am listening, I am willing to unlearn and relearn what I need in order to understand more, I will listen better, be a strong ally, and help with the change.
I am sorry. And while some may say that I shouldn’t feel like I have to apologize, I do because there are now moments that I see now how my privilege is a constant in my American way of life. I see how it pushed me in front of my POC schoolmate. Or how my privilege allowed me to always never doubt that if I work hard for it, I will receive the opportunities I earned – without my race getting in the way. I did not realize before, now I do.
I thank those who have been outspoken and informative in these past few weeks and who have called me out. Both in general and personally. As uncomfortable it has made me feel in moments, or how scared I have been to point out racism in someone’s who does not seem to understand.
No matter how much my empath heart hurts, it does not compare to the hurt and fear that my oppressed and persecuted brothers and sisters deal with, and have dealt with for generations. I absolutely cannot understand what it is like to be black in today’s America. Systematic racism is real. You cannot deny it. So instead I will vow to not be neutral and stand with you. I vow to listen. I vow to educate myself and look towards a brighter future. I stand with you and for you.
I acknowledge this privilege that I have. I check it. I will listen. I will unlearn the subconscious ideas and teachings that is around.
No one. No one deserves to feel hurt, pain, fear, lose a loved one, or lose their own potential and even life just because of the color of their skin. No one deserves to suffer through prejudice.
Words, statements, social media posts, apologies can be the first step. Now it is action – through education, more listening, having conversations, using voting rights, reaching out to our local government authorities, and demanding change. There is no one right way, but words need actions to be powerful. It will take time. I will not allow my investment in this movement “die” after it dwindles on the internet popularity scale.
Here are some articles that I have found or have been shared to me in the past few days. Please share more resources in the comments! I would very much appreciate it.
White Privilege learning specific resources—–
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh – originally published in the Freedom Magazine in 1989 *This article seems to be the “mother” of white privilege essays. McIntosh has been credited for coining this idea and being the first to speak openly about it. Research Peggy. She is fascinating and has many writings about activism, anti-racism and gender equality.
What is White Privilege, Really? by Cory Collins for Teaching Tolerance Magazine *There are even more articles sourced throughout
A White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege. I Decided to be Honest by Lori Lakin Hutcherson in Yes! Magazine. Originally published in Good Black News
How You Can Be an Ally to the Black Lives Matter Movement from Great Big Story *This is mainly a list of resources for more self-education – books to read, podcasts to listen to, etc. As well as a list of places to donate.
Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources – document *Another compiled list of resources of all types.
Instagram Accounts to follow —-
@ckyourprivilege @thegreatunlearn @rachel.cargle @bklivesmatter
This is such a small list to what is out there. These just are the ones that I have read myself, recently, and some of the people who I personally follow . There are so many resources, things to read, listen, watch, available. There are so many people to follow, listen, and learn from.