I Acknowledge My White-Passing Privilege
Politics and Activism

I Acknowledge My White-Passing Privilege

It is power I can't take for granted.

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Lyon Biennial

There have been times where I chose to ignore the fact that I have predominately Euro-centric features with fair skin to match, and instead embrace that I have thick dark hair, dark eyes, and a Spanish-speaking tongue. Although I have Mexican roots, I look white, and I can't deny that I am safer in America than my friends and family with tan and dark skin and thick accents.

I acknowledge that I have white-passing privilege, because it's not fair that I can feel safe going onto public transport or into public settings without feeling judged for the way I look when there are people who die every day in effect of that. I recognize the fact that I will never be criminalized for the way I dress or my skin color. Although I have the privilege, and it is a privilege, to ignore the race issues in this country, I can't do that, because I have a voice; one in which I can use without the fear of getting shot or killed.

People die on the daily fighting for human rights that they don't get because they don't cater to the white man. If you can look at a news story that entails Black Lives Matter, yet another death of a person of color, or any other full on race issue without feeling like something needs to be done you're sitting in your privilege. If you say All Lives Matter, you're bathing in your privilege. If you're not afraid or angry over recent events like the Dakota Access Pipeline and all the cases of police brutality you're simply abusing your privilege. You don't have to go out and be part of the protests, but ignorance is a privilege; and it is something I recognize I can afford because it doesn't threaten my identity on the daily.

I acknowledge that I have white-passing privilege, because although I'm not white I have access to almost everything that a white person does. I am allowed the same support in the endless system of oppression that attacks others. I will never experience that hardship in my life in terms of prejudice. I will never get doubted for a lack of the English that I do possess. These are all privileges.

I don't want to be praised for being an ally. It should be a common thing for everyone benefiting from the very existing and prevalent white privilege in society to use it to help and speak for others. I don't have to protest for the right to live, but I will protest for the right of anyone else.

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