Dear white people, please listen to our stories, see our colour, hear our oppression, and please try to do better.
When discussing white privilege, those from the BIPOC community encourage white people to listen, and give space to those who have been systematically oppressed. Please try not to be defensive, because defensiveness derails the conversation, which does not allow the space for growth or self reflection. Reflect on how you may have absentmindedly contributed to or benefited from racism and oppression.
White privilege defined: inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.
White privilege is not the suggestion that white people have never struggled. These are simple, everyday things, conveniences white people aren’t forced to think about. So please keep that in mind.
White privilege is often described through the lens of Peggy McIntosh’s groundbreaking essay White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. She stated, “white privilege is both a legacy and a cause of racism”.
People wonder how to reflect on their privilege. And I would like to make that very clear...
I can go for a run with my hood up and not be shot at. PRIVILEGE.
I am not labeled as a thug. PRIVILEGE
I am not called ratchet when I dance. PRIVILEGE
I can walk into a store and not be stared at or accused of stealing. PRIVILEGE.
I can walk into a job interview and receive an offer with my natural hair. PRIVILEGE.
I will not walk home from a party and be shot in the back. PRIVILEGE I will most likely not be sexually assaulted while walking home at night. PRIVILEGE
You may be murdered, but people in power will care. PRIVILEGE
You will not hold a pack of skittles and be gunned down because the police thought it was a gun. PRIVILEGE
I will learn about my people’s culture in school and in the media. PRIVILEGE.
I will graduate from the University. PRIVILEGE. PRIVILEGE.
I will not be targeted by the police or pulled over for a broken tail light and be asked to step out of the vehicle.
I will not be silenced when I speak up. PRIVILEGE PRIVILEGE PRIVILEGE.
Do you know what it's like wanting to be a teacher but none of your teachers look like you? Or wanting to be a police officer, but you have never seen a black cop? Do you have to drive to the city to get your hair products? Do you know what it is like when the entire classroom looks at you everytime slavery is mentioned? Do you know what it is like being called a nigger for the first time at recess and going home to ask your parents what it means at 6 years old? No you don’t and that is privilege.
On the other side of privilege is oppression.
I am more likely to be sexually assaulted in the streets, in the bar, in the grocery store, at the gas station, at work, at the airport, at the park, in a cab, on the bus, in the dressing room, on the train, on a walk, out for dinner, at the bank, at the gym, at the beach, at the movies, in the drive-through, at the mall, BECAUSE OF MY BLACK BODY.
To all of my white friends, your presence reading this blog speaks volumes. I am proud to stand with you and stand against these injustices that people of colour historically and systemically will continue to experience. I am happy to know that by you reading this at this moment means you hope to learn and educate yourself. Reading this hopefully means you do not side with the oppressors and you have been woken up. To every white person reading this, I dare you to call out casual racism. I dare you to call out microaggression as it exists. I challenge you to amplify the voices of all black people. I challenge you to educate yourselves, your friends, your neighbours, and your children. I challenge you to continue to see the value in people of colour, and to be reflective in moments that you may have been the oppressor. I hope you take time today to reflect on your privileges, however they were afforded to you, and reflect on how you can be better, and how you can allow more space for BIPOC people to speak!
Saying, “I am not racist”, “I have a black friend” or “I like black music” is not enough. Be actively anti racist. Use your privilege to amplify the voices of the BIPOC community. Stand with us in the fight against racism.
Take a look at this social activity that outlines how to understand your privilege: https://youtu.be/4K5fbQ1-zps
Here is a link to a privilege checklist: https://sites.google.com/a/u.boisestate.edu/social-justice-training/about-us/our-training/privilege-checklist
This is a link to a public google drive outlining a variety of BIPOC resources to further your education: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bz011IF2Pu9TUWIxVWxybGJ1Ync