The privilege of being white


I once had a “friend” boldly, and almost proudly say to my face: “I’ve never dated a person of colour and I never will. I’m just not attracted to guys that aren’t white”. She would also, with external disregard, refer to the homeless as “bums”, even after being corrected, then roll her eyes. 

The privilege of being white, is that you’ve never been wrong. You’ve been able to watch yourself on tv, see yourself graduate University, and have the privilege of a white picket fence dream, with access to credit, while displaying dolls that look like you, around your room. You’ve never been questioned about your motives for walking down the street, feminists have protected you and your safe spaces, and men may have infantilized you, but still kept your “purity” safe. The language you’ve claimed as your own has worked as a shield to amalgamate and erase all others, your “hilarious” dance moves are performatively diluted versions of the original movement prayers from Black bodies, and the food that you eat is tainted with colonial exploitation, from the spices, to the plants, to the white man that you dream is in the sky waiting for you, just dying to relieve you of your white sins. Your “culture” is a desperate attempt to have one, beyond bland, boiled meat and white potatoes. 

Because the truth is, you’re afraid and you’ve been afraid; but deep down, you know, that you’ve never had to actually worry. Your perception of fear, in itself, has also been a privilege; because in reality, you’ve always been safe. (Think about that 🤯) You’ve always been right. You’ve always been believed. You’ve always been the good white girl, who “did her best” and still got a medal for participating. Your white fragility has also come with the most effective marketing schema, twisting your weaknesses into perceived power, under the shade of enslaved labour that hides your paleness from the fierce sun. A sun that you don’t dare step into, because it’s power you cannot control; so instead you create campaigns to demonize it, while slathering white cream on your skin for “protection”.

White angel food cake, Black devils chocolate cake. White Jesus, Black Judas. Black athletes and entertainers, white CEOs. Good white cops, disenfranchised Black criminals. All are the “little white lies” that you’ve coyly made exception for, but the pain, the suffering and the results of your obstructions are black bruised marks on your body.  Are you paying attention, yet?  Don’t come at this with surprise, because the discomfort that you are feeling is exactly what you need to feel, pay attention to, and dismantle. The “right to your opinion” is exactly what we are taking away, because you don’t deserve it. This whole thing, well, it isn’t about you, Karen; and, the truth is, you do not earn the award in a game that has been rigged from the beginning. This time, you don’t get to roll your eyes. This time, you are completely wrong. And, this time, the only way to win, is by listening, learning and rebuilding a world that doesn’t look like the one that failed you and, all of us from the beginning.


~I write this piece as a creative outlet to challenging my privilege. Thank you for reading.

❤️Carlen

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