A Narrative Of A White Privilege Wake-Up Call
Politics and Activism

A Narrative Of A White Privilege Wake-Up Call

For so long, I dwelt in the assumption that I was socially-conscious enough. That my liberal ideologies, my feminism, my calling out of homophobia and racism were sufficient.


Note: I am going to approach this article as a personal narrative of my experience/thought process surrounding the issue of white guilt. This is not intended to be a display self-flagellation to incur pity, praise, or reassurance for me. It is intended to be a narration of the learning process I underwent/am continuing to undergo, in the hopes that my experience may prompt others to their own self-reflection/evaluation.

I’m sitting outside my college’s bustling cafe, listening to Beyoncé’s singing pleasantly waft through the air.

I’m sitting here, relatively content, but with an underlying prickling feeling that has recently broached the realm of my everyday existence.

Guilt. Guilt of my status, my privilege.

For so long, I dwelt in the assumption that I was socially-conscious enough. That my liberal ideologies, my feminism, my calling out of homophobia and racism were sufficient.

Being here, at this beautiful college, I was made to realize an ugly truth: I was—am—not enough. I am not enough of an ally. I am not doing enough to actively deconstruct systems of oppression. I am complicit in the power structures that relegate non-whites to second-class citizens.

I prided myself for efforts I had made, patting myself on the back for (what I now realize are vastly insufficient) efforts to contribute to the fight for the fair, equitable treatment of fellow human beings.

The emergence of my white guilt began when I saw this image on a friend’s Facebook newsfeed:

“Feminism without intersectionality is just white supremacy.”

I am ashamed to say that my first reaction to seeing this was indigence. Perhaps because I clung to feminism as one thing I had gotten right in middle school—I had staunchly defended it in the face of the wave of scorn and stigmatization of the term from my fellow classmates.

This pictorial was an accusation—one I now realize is wholeheartedly justified. It was an accusation that my feminism failed to be intersectional—failed to consider “that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity” (quoted from Ava Vidal’s article on intersectional feminism). I am white, middle class, cisgender, able-bodied; the only oppression I encounter is being a woman in a patriarchal society. I’m on the “very privileged” end of the privilege spectrum.

The fact that I failed to recognize this—that I still have blind spots—means that I am being oppressive to the People of Color, indigenous peoples, Latina/o/x community, LGBTQUIA+ community, differently-abled persons, and others. To members of these communities who are reading this article: I am so, so sorry. I also acknowledge that my apology is meaningless without resolve to change. I acknowledge that my ignorance contributed/contributes to your oppression, and I will fight now alongside you to combat that oppression. I will not talk over you. I will listen. I will not presume to speak for you. I will use my privilege as you see best.

To the privileged members reading this—the able-bodied and/or white and/or cisgender and/or socioeconomically-advantaged and/or male—please join me in pledging to become better allies. And pledge that our words will not just be empty words, but will be accompanied by action—by attending rallies, by agitating for legislative action, by calling out offensive rhetoric/actions, by (most importantly) listening to the beautiful, vibrant, strong, incredible communities facing oppression.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

10 Etsy Father's Day Gifts Under $40 To Support Your Dad And Small Businesses

Stores may still be closed, but the internet is still wide open. So, while you're already shopping online check out Etsy for your Father's Day needs and support small creators.

As June approaches, Father's Day is coming up quickly with it. While they may not ask for much, it's always a nice gesture to give your dad something special to share your appreciation. Although, at the same time, it might be difficult to find the perfect gift either for their humor or that will be practical.

On a normal occasion, it's simple to find a gift for your father figures in stores, but for the times we're currently in our access has become very limited. Small and independent businesses need help now more than ever, so what better time than now to support them? If you're still stuck on what to give for Father's Day, look to this list for some inspiration that won't hurt your wallet too much.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Helpful, Effective Mental Health Resources Specifically For The Black Community

These organizations are qualified, caring, and acknowledging the mental trauma individuals are experiencing.

On May 25, George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. In the last week, protests have sprung up across the nation, demanding justice for Floyd and accountability for police brutality. Social media has also seen widespread conversation regarding Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and racism in the United States. Today is #BlackoutTuesday, where many are sharing a single black square to represent unity and support for Black voices.

In light of the heavy climate that our country is facing, it is a safe assumption that many individuals' mental health may be suffering. We wanted to highlight mental health resources and organizations that are Black-owned and prepared to assist in whatever you're going through.

Keep Reading... Show less

15 Black-Owned Haircare Brands That Cater As Much To Inclusivity As They Do To Your Locks

Championing Black entrepreneurs who make some of our hair favorites.

The haircare industry is vast. With the rise of social media came hundreds of thousands of empowered, niche brands. Single entrepreneurs came out of the woodwork with hair brands that now, years later, have dedicated cult followings.

Of those multitudes of brands, few cater to all hair types, most made without regard for curly or coily hair. These brands, however, are different.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Women Of Color Share How Racism Affects Their Dating Lives, And Everyone Needs To Listen

"My race is typically a factor in almost everything I do, and with dating, it's no different."

Racism affects the daily lives of people of color in the United States, and other parts of the world, in some capacity every day. When it comes to dating and relationships, this is unfortunately no different.

Keep Reading... Show less

13 Movies And Shows On Netflix Directed By Black Men And Women You Need To Watch Now

Take the time right now to watch these fantastic films and TV shows directed by Black men and women.


Netflix is notorious for getting us insanely addicted to watching TV and films. From documentaries, true crime, reality, and fiction, we get very sucked in.

Right now the American people are fighting for the lives of our Black brothers and sisters, so instead of watching "The Office" for the 30th time, take the time to watch these 13 films and TV shows directed by Black men and women.

Keep Reading... Show less

I love working out, it makes me feel great. It helps my mood, sleep schedule and I just feel overall healthier. Recently I wanted to focus more on my glutes than I previously had been. At the gym, I would just go to the squat bar to do my thing and call it a day. But since we have been home in quarantine I feel like squats just aren't doing it for me but even if I love doing them. Doing squats I always have felt does more for banging my thighs than it ever did for my butt. It made them so big, which I didn't mind except I felt it made my butt look pretty much the same. Straying from squats, and the fact that gyms will probably remain closed for a while, sent me on a fitness journey to see what other exercises I could do at home with no or very little equipment needed. Hopefully, these exercises will help keep your booty banging.

1. Diamond Leg Lifts

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Podcasts On Race Everyone Should Listen To In Order To Be A Better Ally

Listen and learn, because knowledge is power.

Podcasts are such an integral part of some of our everyday lives that it can be hard to recall a time at which they didn't exist. Podcasts exist on about every single topic, from dating to celebrity gossip and Harry Potter.

Now more than ever, it's likely you're reeling from the news, and (hopefully) wanting to do something about it in order to educate yourself. Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the most up-to-date information in a conversational, personal way from some of today's top educators, scholars, and theorists.

Keep Reading... Show less

Stop Pitying Me Because I'm Single, I'm Very Happy With My Relationship With Myself

I don't need your opinions on why I'm single and you're not. We are two different people.

I'm so happy for my friends when they get into relationships, but that doesn't mean they get to have control over my love life, and that is what bothers me. For the record, I've been in four relationships, one lasting for three years, so I do understand relationships.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments