There is one good thing that came from 2020. And let me be completely honest here, when I first heard the term “White Privilege” I was offended. I think of privilege as someone whose family has money or power and my family had neither. So, I was very resistant when I was told I had white privilege. As I learned more about what they meant when they used that term, I realized that I, as a white person, have some advantages in this country. I wonder if we can change the term to “White Advantage”?
Here is what white advantage looks like:
I don’t have to worry when my son leaves the house that he will be beaten or killed by anyone because of the color of his skin. I specifically don’t have to worry about the police killing him because of the color of his skin.
I don’t have to worry that my son’s college application will be rejected because of the color of his skin.
I don’t have to worry that he won’t get a job because of the color of his skin.
I don’t have to worry that some angry mob is going to hang him from a tree because of the color of his skin.
I don’t have to worry that someone is going to use my grandchildren as “Alligator Bait” because of the color of their skin.
My children have never had a white person cross the street to avoid them because of the color of their skin.
I don’t have to worry that some angry, jealous mob is going to bomb and burn my neighborhood or home because I have more than them. Something for which I worked hard and built myself. (See articles on the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. The history channel has a great one.)
I don’t have to worry that when a white person dies their killer won’t be prosecuted. (see almost any case in America where a white person killed a black person.)
I don’t have to worry that if I run for, and win, a government position I will be murdered by white supremacists. (see the Wilmington insurrection of 1898. NPR has a great article.)
Let me be clear, I do not have privilege, but I do have an advantage as a white person. It breaks my heart that some parents in this country need to worry about the things listed above. It makes me sad that we are still dealing with racism and oppression in this country. Honestly, when I was young and would watch documentaries or movies depicting racism or unfairness to anyone based on the color of their skin it made me angry. But as an adult, living in my white bubble, I honestly thought we were done with that. I am ashamed to admit, I didn’t know this was still a thing here in the United States. But apparently, it is.
Sometimes, when we look at a thing from the perspective of another, their point of view becomes clear. Then there is room for an open and honest conversation.