Racial tensions have been growing and changing in a new way with an age of media, technology, and the spread of information upon us. It's not something that I thought about much until high school. I grew up in a house where love was the rule and religion and acceptance was never a question -- my parents always taught us to take good care of each other, our friends, and to be kind. But with that in mind, I didn't grow up anywhere diverse or have the exposure to understand race relations to the fullest extent that I could.

But when I moved to college, things changed in that regard. And with the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement at around the same time, the spotlight turning to the growing issue of police brutality, and how our country has changed in so many ways surrounding the issue of race the past few years, I began to learn to recognize the issues, understand their depth more than I had before, and to recognize my place in it all.

And that was a place of privilege. Of the utmost privilege.

White, without economic hardship, without exposure to poverty, with great schools growing up. I was privileged. I was an example of white privilege.

What stumps me is why people like me deny that. Why they don't accept what white privilege is and how it elevates their life -- what is so wrong about understanding and accepting that if you're white, you're simply better off in this country? It's just the truth.

The denial of this is poison to a broken society. People get angry because they think the term "white privilege" is demonizing, blames them, and that what happens to others isn't their fault. What it really is is a reality check. No, you didn't inflict the horrific wounds of the racist founding of our country or take part in everything that happens today, but in seeing that we were part of that story, we must bear the burden of them to uplift others. We have to take responsibility so that we can make things right generation after generation.

But on the flip side, the acknowledgment and the unity that can come from it might be precisely the antidote needed to take steps in understanding, working, bridging gaps, and saving lives.

I think privilege is one of the biggest things we can use, learn from, and grow from on our journey to progressing as a society and coming together. As a white woman who didn't grow up near poverty or with any hardship, I am privileged in a great way, and I need to use that to speak up for other people who don't have the same reality.

I think I always need to be analyzing my privilege. In this life, it's our job as white people -- to recognize where we stand in society, see how our place can prove harmful even if it wasn't our choice, and to work to understand and give a voice to those who don't have it so easy.

But as I write this I see so many of my sentences begin with the word, "I," and that is often where the problem erupts. People who are white sometimes assume they know, they get it, or they can put themselves in the place of those who aren't the majority and who are often voiceless.

What's really necessary is not talking over those with stories and experiences to share, not amplifying our own voices first, but seeing where other voices need to be heard. Where Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and other minority voices deserve a place in the conversation. And most importantly, how much more often we ought to be listening instead of speaking.

I think I have a lot of work to do, and always will, because I won't ever live a life where things are as hard for me as they are for others. And that means that I need to step up, serve others, and be a voice. I need to understand my privilege, always check it, and look for ways that I can help others be heard and understood. I think that by virtue of who we are, white people must work to be allies in all parts of life.