Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Why I have white privelege

I grew up in this small, Caucasian majority town as a Caucasian, blond female born to a white supremacist man...but I never had any racist thoughts. I contribute much of my open mind to my cousins. Although my dad was extremely racist, he was never around. On the other hand, my cousins, who were all mostly People of Color,  were always around.

I grew up not knowing that racism existed and I, like many people out there, could have taken to the keyboard to blast that same message across the Internet. Then, one day when my adult cousin and I were at our local walmart, it happened...I witnessed racism in front of my face, for the first time. And I could no longer deny that racism was a very real thing in America.

We were standing in line in front of this young, white woman with her three little tote heads yanking things off the shelf aisle, my cousin holding her Jamaican/Hawaiian two year old while i stood next to her. My cousin and I were talking about this and that, and this woman suddenly turned to my cousin, and said 'your anchor baby will not keep you here when Trump becomes president.'

I was in shock, but after my anger simmered down, I felt a strong flood of confusion. My cousin had been by my side my entire life, we shared grandparents and camping trips. To me, my cousin was never any different than myself, we were the same. This was the first time in my life, at 21 years old, that I realized that my cousin had faced racism every day of her life because of her mocha late skin color and curly hair.

At 21 years old, I understood for the first time what white privilege was, and why I was so lucky to have it. White privilege is not the ability to get into good schools or grow up in better neighborhoods.  It was not how people looked at you for job interviews or not being afraid of police. White privilege is the ability to grow up without the knowledge that racism exist in America. It is growing up and living for 21 years before you witness racism for the first time.

I know that I cannot change people's minds about racism or the race war, but someday, someone you are close with might be hurt because of their race. And when that day comes, you will also understand white privilege.

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