I Recognize My Privilege, And You Should, Too
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Politics and Activism

I Recognize My Privilege, And You Should, Too

Stop being blind to the invisible system that you are a part of.

I Recognize My Privilege, And You Should, Too

I recognize my privilege. I grew up in a middle-class family in a safe neighborhood with loving parents who provided me with anything I ever needed. I went to a nationally ranked high school and received a top education. I have experienced the world through the lense of a blue-eyed, freckled girl that never was threatening enough to get a second look on the street. My face reads potential victim, rather than potential criminal. I got the luck of the draw on being born into a life where I never had to question if the color on my skin warranted a bullet ripping through it. I may never know what it’s like to be denied equality based on my skin color and ignorant assumptions that are a product of generations of oppression. I am privileged.

I have faced hardships in my life, just like every other person, but I have never been a victim of the systematic racism that plagues our country. I was born into a system that made it easier for my ancestors to receive jobs and make a comfortable living which was passed down, allowing me to exit the womb and enter a world that, for the most part, worked in my favor. I was born with a safety net, so if my family hits hardships, such as job loss, it is easier to pick up the pieces and continue on than for others. I was born to a middle class family, therefore we had the means to live in a nice school district and receive extra academic help, therefore I got a good education, therefore I got into a good college, therefore I will be prepared to enter the workforce and begin a, hopefully lucrative, career. A boy is born to a poor family. His parents work minimum wage jobs, therefore they must live in an area with subpar schools, therefore he doesn’t receive as good of an education and must spend time after class working to support his family instead of studying, therefore he doesn’t have the means to go to a university that will provide him with boundless opportunities, therefore he is condemned to a life that he never asked for. Privilege begets privilege begets privilege.

My point in writing this is not to speak on behalf of a community I am not a part of, nor feign knowledge of the complexities in the life experience of black Americans. I am proclaiming to be an ally and work to recognize that there is a problem, but one that has a solution if we are willing to work together. Tolerance is built upon the willingness to have an open and understanding conversation, not petty bickering in which one side has the audacity to deny suffering. The oppressors never see their behavior to be problematic if they are the ones benefitting.

Pretending that race isn’t a fundamental part of your existence and claiming “colorblindness to skin” adds fuel to an already engulfing fire. When you say “you don’t see color,” you deny that racism is a real and relevant and toxic issue. You say that you are perfectly fine that a boy never gets to become a brilliant doctor or politician or humanitarian because of where he came from. You desperately try to erase the shameful history and deny that there is a group of people that have been oppressed for generations. Problems don’t fix themselves. In order to correct the gross injustice and inequality in our system, it is imperative that we recognize that some people are born with advantages, and realize that what makes someone “successful” may just be the product of cascaded opportunity. We must actively work to create an even playing field. Ignoring the problem does not make you noble or tolerant, it makes you a guilty bystander. Being a benefactor of white privilege and admitting it does not make you a racist, it makes you a conscious and active ally that can take action. Recognize that you were given advantages, and individuals that lacked may never reach the same level, no matter if they possess the same level of ambition or drive or intelligence. People are not born tabula rasa, they are thrust into a world designed for them to prosper or fail, forced to manipulate a system that has been in order for centuries.

Take a moment to look around. You have a stable life, comfort, and freedom from constant fear of irrational, life-threatening judgements. You are not carrying the weight of 250 years of racial oppression on your back. Let's help lighten the load for those who are.

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