White Privilege… In My Life
I am a middle aged white woman who has spent the majority of her life around other white people – I have an intrinsic understanding of this invisible stranger that’s always been by my side. I had honestly never thought about these privileges that were unknowingly bestowed upon me. I have felt that I was “given a pass” for many things in my life but I didn’t relate it to the color of my skin. Even when I started working in criminal defense I didn’t recognize it in my own life. Although I saw first-hand how POC were treated differently (i.e poorly) by the “system”, spoke with them about it, agreed with the unfairness of it.
Only when the Black Lives Matter movement formed and brought the issue of racial inequities back to the light and forefront of the national conversation did I start to see it. I listened to what they were saying. I mean I really listened. I cringed at the truths being spoken, I wanted to deny them because they are horrible but I could not. I’m not only speaking of white privilege but the way POC (people of color) are and have been treated by society, the government and fellow citizens.
During my everyday regular life I don’t need to face the assumption that I’m: “up to no good” (although I most definitely might be); assumptions of criminality by the police so I must be detained; on welfare (although I was a welfare mom in my youth); violent – better cross the street or hang tight to your purse; lazy (although I am); whiny – slavery ended, get over it; a drug dealer; drug addict (although I’ve done plenty of my share of drugs); stealing so I must be followed around the store (although I’ve done plenty of stealing); that the nice car being driven must be stolen or that I must either an athlete or drug dealer.
Unfortunately I’ve seen POC face this nearly every day of their life, I’ve seen it and experienced with them or have seen it in my work in the criminal judicial system. Solely because of the color of their skin. It’s a disgusting truth but just as disgusting is the “pass” that white people get for the color of their skin AND not even admitting it.
I never asked for this privilege and I can’t return it. But I can acknowledge it, educate people about it and learn and teach how not to wield it.