I’m a Straight, White, American. So, Sue Me!

I am a straight, white, American. I apologize for this.

I apologize for living in a world where I don’t fully understand what it is like to be you. You, the minority. The ones who don’t see their faces on TV. The ones who don’t get picked first for job promotions. I apologize for being so completely unaware of the white privilege that surrounds me.

When I watch TV, I don’t see your faces as often as I see my own. I don’t see the face that represents the lesbian couple that lives a few houses down from me. Unless of course, I turn on any after school sitcom that has been released in the last 5 to 10 years. I don’t see the face that represents the amazing African American family that lives next door. Unless of course, I watch The Cosby Show. (Bad current reference?) Unless I watch Sister Sister, Family Matters, Different Strokes, Fat Albert, and any others in the realm of possibilities on my channel listings. I could even, if unsatisfied with the list of choices, simply flip the channel to Black Entertainment Television. Where’s the White Entertainment Television channel? Oh yes, it’s every other channel… But, is it, really?

I apologize for driving down the road and seeing a black kid with his pants hanging down around his ankles and automatically assuming he is a thug. A hoodlum. A kid that needs to get his shit together. Of course, I assume the same thing about the white boy walking next to him with his pants hanging around his ankles, walking like he just rode a horse for a week straight in vain attempts to keep his pants from falling any lower. My derogatory opinion of the white kid doesn’t matter though. It is only socially unacceptable that I thought this about the black African American kid.

I apologize that you are a minority. I apologize that as a child I would drive by your home in the “projects” with my white family. I apologize for the day my mom came into your housing units’ office and filled out an application. I apologize that as a single, struggling mother of three, she had no where else to turn. I apologize that we were turned away because we were white. We weren’t the minority. It didn’t matter that we listened to our mother cry herself to sleep that night as we lay, squashed, in the back seat of her broken down car, homeless. I apologize for all the opportunity we were given that wasn’t offered to you.

I apologize for wanting to be a writer. I apologize for tossing attempt after attempt of my writing out into the world. I apologize that I am among the many, and not the few. I apologize that no one wants to hear what some white writer has to say. If I were black African American, Indian Native American, gay same sex oriented, that I would have a voice that needed to be heard. A voice, that stands out among the crowd.

I wonder what the socially acceptable term for white is? Oh yeah, it’s just white. It’s okay though, I don’t mind being referenced to a crayola color. The color that is discarded from the box, because even it, doesn’t show up on paper. Or even being described as a food item that can be broken into many pieces, and spread over soup. I’m not the minority, so it’s not discrimination.

I apologize that my people, and I’m speculating when I say “my” people, stole all of your land and horrendously killed so many of your people. I apologize that it happened so very long ago, that I can not even trace my family blood line back far enough to know, for sure, that I belong among those white people that were the white people that took from you. But it doesn’t matter, they were white, I’m white, so we must have all came from the same place when we boarded those ships to sail to the great land of America.

I apologize that I have to press “1” for English. I apologize that I never took the time in high school to learn your language. I apologize that we have a communication barrier. I apologize that as I sat next to you at the park, we couldn’t converse in a casual parent conversation as our children played together. It was my duty, as a white person, to bridge the gap of communication and learn your language and it is solely my fault that we can not communicate. I apologize for not doing my part.

I apologize that we didn’t go to college together. I apologize that I am not in that seat in class next to you. I apologize that I can hardly afford to keep my family afloat in today’s economy, that college, is just another bill that I simply can not afford to add to the pile right now. I apologize that there was a negro fund, Native American scholarship, midget small persons fund, that paid for your college expenses. I apologize for being so entitled to a college education.

I apologize that we both ended up at the same job interview today. I apologize that the interviewer is white. I apologize that our resumes differ. I apologize that I went through hell to obtain my high school diploma after my dad died my senior year. I apologize that you made a few mistakes, got caught up with the wrong crowd, only see your dad every other weekend, broke under pressure, and that you chose to drop out of high school. I apologize that the boss feared being tagged as racist, sued for discrimination. I apologize that I had to skip dinner so that my children would have enough to eat, because yet again, I didn’t get picked for the job. After all, there’s a hundred other white people just like me that the boss had access to hire.

I apologize that you are the minority. I apologize that when I read your blogs and hear your cries of suffering that I sincerely feel the depth of your pain. I apologize that a few white people are assholes. Racist. Rich mo’ fo’s that don’t even know what luxury they have. I apologize that I love learning about your culture and your ancestry. I apologize that I go to pow-wows and dive into black history month because I think aspects of your culture are beautiful. I apologize that there are some white people that don’t value the differences that we can all bring to the table. I apologize that we are not all the same. Except for us white people, we are all the same, of course.

I apologize for being a straight, white, American…. But, I am female, that gives me a little slice of the discrimination pie.

At least I have something to eat tonight….

* Some of these apologies are completely sincere to the depth of my soul and I am legitimately sorry for what has been done to some of my fellow humans. Others, are absolutely sarcastic bullshit. The difference is for you to decipher. The message, left for you to find.


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