3 Things That Happen When a White Guy Explains White Privilege

3 Things That Happen When a White Guy Explains White Privilege

Of course, when someone is speaking truth to power, there should be tension.

In February, entrepreneur, investor and mentor, Jason Ford shared on LinkedIn an artful, and truthful explanation for his stance on white privilege. The topic is one atypical from the majority of articles posted on the platform. Given our current political environment, I think this type of prose is perhaps the most needed and can impact any professional in a many ways. However, based on a review of the comments to Ford's expository piece, it appears to be three reactionary stages to a white man's thoughts on white privilege.

1. The Wave of Surprise

I honestly can say I was surprised when I noticed the bold article posted on LinkedIn. One of my connections liked the post, which prompted it to appear on my news feed. White Privilege is Real read the title, and I almost gasped. Could there really be an article about this controversial topic posted on a platform for “professionals?” I use that word loosely here, and you will see why in the paragraphs ahead. My eyes focused on the title for what felt like hours, but it was just a couple minutes. I then took a glance below the near-forbidden words and noticed the author was a white man. Like the all-American, you could call him “Brad” type of white guy. Then I knew I had to read the article in full. In his own words, Jason Ford offers a thoughtful let-me-break-it-down-for-you piece on his experiences as a privileged man. Due to our current political climate and ever-present class divide, no one should really find this surprising, but we do. And Mr. Ford explains why.

2. People are Confused

As much as the term “white privilege” has permeated the media and education recently, there are still many--too many--people who simply do not understand its meaning, where it comes from, and why it is relevant to multiple facets of American life. People run from the things they do not understand. They vilify the unknown or unfamiliar. Ford refers to people’s discomfort with white privilege as currents of guilt, so they lash out or argue instead of dealing with it. Does that sound like anyone familiar? Hint: initials are D.T. So it comes as no surprise that this article received many negative and just plain down inappropriate responses. On LinkedIn, a place for professionals to network and share resources, I read comments that you’d think a high school bully would write across bathroom stalls. There were positive, mature responses as well. I don’t want to suggest that Ford’s article did nothing but stir up the blood. But I must ponder, why does the truth painfully confuse some folks so much?

3. The Nigger-lover rhetoric surfaces

It’s the N-word. That word that encompasses an unimaginable amount of pain, grief, violence, terror, humiliation – the list is endless. We have come a very long way in regards to equality, civil rights, and social impact. Saying the word nigger publically is nearly forbidden. We know of its variation, nigga, but that is another discussion. When white people discuss race, there is often times an omnipresent tone that resonates with a bygone era. It’s the way things are said, or shouted, that conjures up the world that predates the births of the people saying them. The individuals who chose to basically attack Jason Ford for honestly sharing his perspective embody the old nigger-lover mindset. It’s a mindset that believes if you are like me, but disagree with me, you must “love” or be on the side of the “other.” It lacks diplomacy or reason. Reading some of the disrespectful comments on Ford’s article, I noticed they were empty remarks. It did not bring about discussion or offer insight into another perspective. They were just abrasive.

Like Ford says, “..it is important to address [the] voices of dissent.”

If we want to continue progress, we must have conversations with each other. It’s the only way we can understand those who are different from ourselves. Of course, when someone is speaking truth to power, there should be tension. But trivial discomfort cannot discredit someone or relevancy.

Cover Image Credit: Karin M. Yearwood

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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When Words Are Not Enough

Sometimes you just need to be.


Life is a roller-coaster of ups and downs. We all desire easy fruitful lives where no one ever dies and no one ever leaves. Instead, we suffer through hardships and great trials that test our faith. These conflicts often leave us worn down and feeling helpless. This is the time when words become a languid breeze, going through one ear and out the other. This is what you should do when words are not enough to satiate the pain you hold in trembling hands.

Focus all your energy into just being. No one expects you to get over the tragedy that occurred in your life, so don't force yourself. Just eat, breathe, and sleep until you feel up to doing normal tasks. Whatever circumstance that has stolen your breath and turned your life upside down won't go a week in a couple of days or a week. Wounds like yours don't go away instantly; instead, they take time and nurturing. Sometimes it's best to keep a sore covered but in some circumstances, know that seeing someone is okay.

These tragedies you face are real, and they try to break down the very substances that make you who you are. Counselors and therapists can help you make sense of the burden you carry. There are many reasons why you might be hesitant to see a therapist, but if the burden you carry becomes too much, a therapist can help you lighten that load.

Know that what you are going through is real and it is tough, but you will make it out on top. You are a survivor and a success story. Every single bad thing that has tried to tear you down hasn't succeeded, and this will be no different. Trust me, your story is not over.

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