I recently was confronted with an ugly attitude in someone that I ‘thought’ was a friend. The remarks made to me, I found greatly offensive. There was no hesitation in me to point out the obvious misconceptions in his remarks.
The topic of ‘white privilege’ was being discussed. He is blind to this fact. Yes…I use the word “fact” because that is what it is…fact. The individual that was speaking to me, is a successful business man…who happens to be white.
White privilege contains a whole host of unexamined advantages that come your way because you’re born with white skin. This also has to do with the way others perceive you, access to resources within your community, the way you’re treated by authorities…not to mention represented in the media. There are immediate advantages afforded you due to you being born white. Just out of curiosity, how many of you were able to CHOOSE the color of your skin, into which family or nation you were born? I don’t know about any of you…but it had nothing to do with me at all.
Have you ever gone to the Drug Store to purchase band-aids? They are “flesh” color…BUT whose flesh color? When I was with my friend Carla, who happens to be African American…they certainly were not her “flesh” color. Truthfully, they weren’t even my “flesh” color. I’m white even for a white woman…and they simply don’t come that light.
There is a “noise ordinance” here. I have no idea if it’s like that in other areas of the country. Someone can actually be ticketed for being in their vehicle and playing their music “too loudly”. Whose making the ‘judgement’ of what is and what isn’t “too loud”??
When I drive, I like to turn it up! I may be a generation older than most of you reading this…but hey…I like my music not only loud enough to ‘hear’…but I like to ‘feel’ the vibration of it, too. I’ve never been arrested…but guess what? A young man (African American) did get arrested.
I’ve heard for years, “My relatives never owned slaves. I’m innocent”. Innocence, literally, means “not knowing”. They don’t see that if they sit back and do nothing, they are part of the problem. Here’s a for instance: If Linda Smith is hurt by racism…then I would benefit from racism. Thus being said…racism connects us!
Perhaps, I’m over simplifying things. The thing that irritates me to no end is the fact that by and large, people of color are suspected of desiring some kind of unearned advantage…yet, the white person (usually) accuses them of playing the “race card”. Yet, here’s another example and is my own personal observation…if a perceived wrong is committed against one of our African American citizens…and they question if this was due to race. It’s automatically assumed they are using the “race card”. On the other hand, if a white persons questions a perceived wrong, you’re never accused of playing “the race card”…because you are white.
There are 101 other particulars I could mention, but this is enough for now. I trust that as the title of this post suggests you “Check Your Attitude”. Simply put, you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. Sorry folks, but on this issue there is no middle ground.
Senator Obama’s campaign slogan is “CHANGE”. How about letting that “change” begin with you? Is it ever too late to do the right thing?