For awhile now, I have been trying to understand ‘white privilege’, racism, etc. as I can clearly attest to in my archive of posts :
- I’m a Straight, White, American. Sue Me!
- You are Looking at it ALL Wrong
- How I’m Learning to Break my Silence and Fight Racism (re-blog)
- Stupid, Making Everything Racial . . . (re-blog and response)
Ironically, exactly half of these posts support the idea that racism is very prevalent in today’s society. The other half is that it is not, or at least not in the way society perceives it to be. (If that don’t tell ya something, give up now, there is no hope for you. Lol)
It may not look like many. But 4 posts out of 40 total (not counting this one, or any after I actually typed this line) is a lot! That is 10% of my entire post count. If one were to eliminate my ridiculous, but highly amusing (at least to me) posts, my posts about racism would be a much larger portion.
I just don’t get it. I want to get it. Who doesn’t want to get it? Getting things means having them. Having something is always better than not having it. Right???
Maybe not so much. Maybe I’m being hasty. It took me over a decade to figure out, with confidence, what side of abortion I stood on. (Pro-choice vs. Pro-life) When I finally figured it out, I realized, that I didn’t stand on either side. I was so confused, because I was trying to fit my pieces into a puzzle that they didn’t belong in.
MAYBE… That is exactly what I am doing here….
I do not understand white privilege. AT ALL! I understand the definition. I understand the theory. I just, I don’t see it. Maybe in some cases, on a very small scale. Kind of like the deaf kid that gets bullied in school because they talk funny. That doesn’t mean the entire country of the United States of America is discriminating against the deaf. It was just one kid. It was just me.
Because one lady got scared because a black kid was knocking on her door and thought to call the cops. Only to find out that the black kid had a very legitimate reason to be knocking on her door. It was just one kid. (Refer to link #3 if you read this and went, “Huh?”)
I knocked on a door once. Little ol’ white me. I was 20 something years old, holding my nearly two year old son on my hip. He was miserable and crying. He had just had major dental surgery. Our car broke down. The medicine wore off. We didn’t even have a phone.
I watched an older man for nearly 30 minutes working in his side yard, back and forth between his yard and garage. He watched us too. He couldn’t really help it, we had broken down directly in front of his home. Finally, my husband admitted that there was no fixing the car. We were screwed, over an hour away from home. We needed to call someone to come and get us. We needed a phone.
So I knocked on that particular gentleman’s door. Can you believe that I knocked on his door for a FULL fifteen minutes?! My son, hurting and confused, crying in my ear. I nearly cried too. There was no answer.
Did I go to social media and television crews crying my outrage? Did I form protests, shaking my big signs outside of his home? No. I called him an asshole under my breath and walked half a mile down the road, with my crying son on my hip, and knocked on another door.
Thus is life. Shit happens. People are assholes. Could it have been because I was white that he didn’t answer? Maybe. He was white too so, I didn’t assume. Maybe he had been robbed for all he had by an innocent 20 something year old mother near tears holding her crying son, before. Maybe he had a heart attack and was lying helplessly on his living room floor. Who am I to judge? He didn’t help me. SO FUCKING WHAT?! I found someone else who would.
I know that some situations really are purely based on a racial issue. But, are they all? And really, are there as many of these situations as we’d like to presume?
And this whole white privilege thing. What privilege? I hear that ‘we’ are given opportunities unavailable to others simply because of our race. What opportunities??? Because I have PERSONALLY been blocked from opportunities because I WAS white.
Like the income based apartments my mother tried getting us into in Philly, PA when I was a kid. We were HOMELESS. We had NO WHERE. Do you know what the lady doing my mom’s intake appointment told her when my mother came to her begging for help? “I’m sorry ma’am, we have a quota that we have to meet, there is only enough space for five more minority families.” WHAT????!!!!!!!!!! Are you fucking serious???!!!
FIVE families didn’t have to sleep in a car that night BECAUSE of their SKIN color! My mom, my sisters, and I, did… because we were white. We were BABIES!!! Yeah, sounds like real opportunity to me.
Going to college? No, I made that happen. Owning a home? No, I did that too. Driving a car? Again, that was me. That was my HARD WORK, and PERSEVERANCE that got me those things. NOT my skin color.
There are EVEN funds set up to help you achieve in life that I don’t get, because you are a minority and I am not.
So what if I see more white faces on TV shows than I do black. Guess what? I see more white faces at the supermarket, gym, park, coffee shop, library… than I do black. TV is, for the most part, a reflection of reality. If, in real life there are more white people than black that frequent an area, than why shouldn’t TV reflect that? I see the same exact thing happen in reverse on television too. And neither perceive either race poorly or make them out to look bad. It just puts people where they already put themselves.
This “everyone’s out to get you” epidemic is just fricken’ ridiculous. No one is pulling you down or ruining your life. You are doing that just fine all by yourself. If you want a different opportunity… go fucking get it! Just like EVERYONE else has to.
You are NOT special. Let me say that slower. You. Are. NOT. Special.
No one is going to hand life to you. That’s just the way it is. For ALL of us. You know how I know that this is true? My “white privilege” taught me so!
Okay, I NEED to stop ranting. I’m sorry, sincerely. This is NOT the point I want to make. My point is that I am hopelessly struggling to find where I fit into this puzzle. Do you know what I have secretly asked myself. One of those ‘secrets of the night’ kind of questions. “Am I actually racist? Is that what is going on? Is that why I feel anger sometimes at the things that have been said to me, around me, the things I have watched and been through?”
Then why do I cry out when I see people unjustly judging others for their skin color? If I felt the same, why would I care at all? Why do I think the cops that do shoot and kill those people due to their race are an embarrassment to our country. The most detestable of their kind. Why do I find it absolutely insane that my friend made such harsh claims upon my neighbors? Why did it affect me so much that it inspired an entire blog post? If I am truly racist… then why do I have a color TV?! (I’m kidding… it’s okay to laugh!)
To be honest, it seems that there are only two options: either you are racist, or you acknowledge that you are living under the glory of ‘white privilege’. I could do neither with a clear conscious. So I continued to struggle. I agreed with ALL of YOU! And, I disagreed just as equally. For over 10% of my archives list, I struggled with these questions. Struggled to shove my puzzle pieces into a puzzle they never belonged in.
It’s no longer about picking sides. It’s no longer about identifying with the crowd. Maybe the crowd is just wrong….
Society’s labels are not our only options.