Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people. Use this blog as a reference tool, not as the one and only view on the topic.
The favorite tool used in White Privilege is willful ignorance. You speak with no factual proof and have your words accepted as truth.
If you are white and you tell me that you’ve never heard someone say “If I were a minority I bet I would have gotten in to college/gotten a scholarship” or “I bet if I were ~Name of non-white ethnicity~ I would have gotten that job” I would not believe you. No really, I would think you were a liar. Just for the sheer number of times I’ve heard it, I would be incapable of believing that you’d never heard it even once.
You get to ask questions and then question the answers. Ever wonder why so many PoC say things like “I am not here to educate you?” I’ll tell you, it may not be what you think. Almost every PoC that makes that statement does so because at one time, they DID try to answer questions. At one time, they DID try to remain calm and be the good little brown person that educates the unknowing. Personally, I’ve never met a PoC that says things like this that didn’t get to that place by walking through a white privileged mine field.
White Person- “Why is it okay for black people to say the N-word but not white people?”
My thoughts: No one is that stupid. No one. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you think, you DO know the answer to that question.
My actual answer: “Because the word nigger, when coming from someone other than a black person is racist. It has connotations that it can not have when said by a black person. The historical attachments only come from non-black people."
White Person: “If I say the word nigga I am not being racist. I am just saying it like…what’s up my nigga. The same as you guys.”
My thoughts: This person is a racist piece of shit. Their entire reasoning for this conversation was so that they could say the word in front of a black person and make it seem like it is somehow okay. This person is sick, cold hearted and evil.
My actual answer: WOW! You just said that word?
White person: So did you.
In the above example, if I were to react in the way the person deserves, with a punch to the face, it would me, not them that would get punished for it. Equally, were I to get angry, I would be considered “Unreasonable” and “Overreacting” to the situation. These are not allegations, that is ACTUALLY how this conversation ended. With other white people saying I was being unreasonable. Though surprise, surprise they said absolutely nothing about the white person using the word in the first place. White people are aware of this and take full advantage. Also, see how the purpose of the question was not to get further education but to make a racist statement? To justify racism and to not listen to the answer in the first place. You see, many white people ask questions as a means to say what they want. Not as a means to learn more. It is a way to get a conversation started that will allow them to defend their racism. In many cases, I don’t even think this is being done consciously. The problem here is that, conscious or not, it is prevalent. Even “The good ones” do it. The above came from an actual conversation I had. It doesn’t matter that I gave a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why it isn’t okay. That didn’t suit this person’s purpose. They WANT to say it. They are GOING to say it and the asking of the original question was their way of letting me KNOW that they had no intention of stopping. This is very common.
You get to be blind while demanding we see. How many of you see the irony in me, a bi-racial person explaining white privilege to you, a white person? Until just now, you didn’t think anything of it did you? You started reading this either looking for some sort of explanation or clarification of white privilege. Never once thinking how sad it is that you are so blind that you get to be taught of YOUR privilege by a person who DOESN’T have it.
In addition, white privilege means that you do not have to return the favor. It is important that I understand you but not that you understand me. There is a world of things you don’t know about in non-white communities. I am not talking about poverty or drugs. You can watch FOX “News” for that. I am talking about the way we relate to one another. The products we use. The things we want for our families and our futures. Did it ever occur to you that our wants and needs are not necessarily the same as they are for you? Are you aware that there are products that are ONLY sold in black neighborhoods? This never crossed your mind, did it? You see, that’s your great ignorance. This is one of the many areas where the system itself has you blinded by the white. We can get the same things in our neighborhoods that you have in yours but you can’t get everything that we have in ours. You had no idea about that did you? Even now, after reading that, I would be willing to bet that you are thinking of “Hair care” or in Latino comminutes “Ethnic food” that you can’t pronounce. Are you SURE that is the only difference?
You have the luxury of these things not being a factor in your life. What you don’t seem to get is that these things are a byproduct of the entire system. Let me give you an example using a product you can relate to…
Example: I went to a grocery store in an all black neighborhood and in the shampoo isle there was an excessive amount of shampoo/conditioners for white people. Here’s the interesting part, they were literally covered in dust. You see, even though no white people shopped at this store, the store still carried MANY white specific products. However, I went to a grocery store in a racially mixed area, NOT A WHITE AREA, a racially MIXED area and I could not find one single product that was not for white people. When I asked, thinking maybe it might be in it’s own section somewhere, I was told that they didn’t carry it. Then, I was given the name of a few stores that “Catered to my needs” OH YES! THOSE ARE THE EXACT WORDS. The stores were referred to as “Specialty stores.”
These are things you not only don’t think about but have the luxury of choosing not to acknowledge. These things that you consider “Not that big a deal” are very, very big. Just…not to you.