Use Your White Privilege To End Your White Privilege
White people are treated different in our society. White people are not better, but being white in our society is far easier.
Black people are treated worse in our society. Black people are not worse than white people, but it is far harder to be black in our society.
White people have privileges they can be completely unaware of. “Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally.” If you’re oblivious or not looking for the injustice as a white person, you likely won’t find it because it doesn’t directly affect you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be fighting for justice and equality. In fact, you should be using your white privilege to end your white privilege.
The fact that it’s easier for you to be white means that it’s harder for non-white people. That is unfair. You shouldn’t be able to enjoy the advantages of systemic racism because you should know that means other people are experiences direct disadvantages as a result.
White people are listened to more, they are taken more seriously. Especially old white men. That’s the way it is right now, and although it’s completely wrong we need to use the advantage we currently have to make sure we eventually do not have this advantage. Equality means you don’t have an advantage over another race. We won’t have true equality until we achieve justice. Justice can’t be achieved if white people remain quiet.
“People won’t listen to you or take you seriously unless you’re an old white man, and since I’m an old white man I’m going to use that to help the people who need it.” – Patrick Stewart [source]
Black lives matter. Saying “all lives matter” as a reaction to “black lives matter” is racist. Of course all lives matter. Do you think me saying “black lives matter” automatically means I think that my own (white) life doesn’t matter? Do you think it means I only like black people and am racist against all other races? That’s asinine.
“Yes, all lives matter but we’re focused on the black ones right now, ok? Because it is very apparent that our judicial system doesn’t know that. Plus, if you can’t see why we’re exclaiming #BlackLivesMatter you are part of the problem.” [source]
A few days ago, I reposted a picture of a sign I made and have hung in my bedroom. It says “Pro black isn’t anti white”. I made an entire post about black lives matter and feminism to relate the subject to people in a way they might better understand which you can check out here. A person commented that I wouldn’t make such a “blanket statement” if I lived in DC.
First of all, I’m 45 minutes from DC. Second of all, I live in Baltimore. According to the most recent date, 51% of DC is black and 63% of Baltimore is black. I say that just to clarify that it’s not like I’m in an all white suburb without any “exposure” to other races. The idea that just because I moved to another city I would become racist is absurd. I promptly unfriended this person (this was not the first time she had made a racist comment on my timeline) and she made a status about how she gets yelled at on the street for being white. I can’t tell you if that’s true or not, but what I can say is even if that did happen on multiple occasions, that doesn’t mean you get to be racist and discriminatory. Fighting hate with hate gets us nowhere.
“Hate doesn’t beat hate, it’s never fuckin’ beaten hate, it just makes more hate. Now this might be the most hippie thing that ever comes out of my mouth, but it’s true, the only thing that can beat hate is love. Now love doesn’t always beat hate. It doesn’t always beat hate, but it does do something.” – Jim Jefferies [source, start at 5:13]
Yesterday, I went to Howard Street in Baltimore to make an installation out of rainbow paper and letters I had drawn, cut out, and adhered tape to. I stuck them to a boarded up white piece of wood on a vacant building. An old (white) man sat on his stoop the entire time I worked. As I walked back and forth to my car to get more letters, people stopped to ask if they could take pictures and they thanked me for what I was doing. They told me they appreciated me.
I heard lots of people saying things to their friends like, “No it was the white girl who did it!” I loved that people wanted to pose in front of it. But the best thing that happened was when I was sitting next to the installation on the curb because I really wanted to take a good photo but the sun was halfway hidden behind a building, casting a ridiculous shadow. A (black) man put his hand on my shoulder and said to me, “Thank you. You are doing a great job. that guy is SUPER pissed”. He was referring to the old white guy on the stoop who apparently was muttering stuff to himself. As the black guy walked by he stopped to talk to him and he wouldn’t even look him in the eye. He actually went inside he was that angry that he simultaneously had to watch a white girl in a flower crown make a political statement he so strongly disagreed with and engage in a personal interaction with someone of the black race.
I want to piss off racists. If this post pisses you off, you’re racist. That person who commented on my Facebook status that I would be racist if I lived in DC swears up and down they’re not a racist person when she’s probably one of the most racist people I’ve personally encountered in the past year. Remember that privilege is something that happens when you don’t realize it’s an issue for you, and as a result of that there are hoards of racist people who swear they aren’t racist.
If you think that you need to clarify that “all lives matter” when someone says “black lives matter”, you’re racist. If you’re angry at the idea that you need to use your white privilege to end you’re white privilege, you’re racist. If you think that Philando Castile or Alton Sterling deserved to die, you are racist. If you were more outraged at a white police officer dying than either of these two men dying, you’re racist. (Not that police officers in Dallas or anywhere else deserve to die in the line of duty. Remember, you can be pro black and pro police simultaneously. [source]) I’m sorry if this is a shock to you, but you need to fucking know that you’re thoughts and subsequent behavior is NOT okay. We need to get on the same page, and that page needs to be love.
This blog is generally used as a place for me to share tips on how to love yourself, how to be creative, and how to find happiness in everyday life. I don’t take too much time to get political, but I actually think it’s MORE political for me to have a platform where thousands of people can read what I have to say and NOT say something.
It also makes it way harder for black people to love themselves when they feel like society hates them. For that and so many other reasons, this post is relevant on my blog and in real life.
Black lives matter. We need to make this a priority. If you’re white, use the unfair advantage society has given you to end this unjust systemic racism in our world. Use the voice you’ve been given to keep fighting for what’s right. Being quiet is being complicit. Be loud. Educate yourself and others. Get active. Be an ally. Change is slow, but no movement will take place at all with silence.
So how can you do this? Check out this post! There you will find 12 tangible ways to start using your privilege to end your privilege. You can also listen to my podcast on this topic and Black Lives Matter in general!