For those who are not aware of what white privilege is, I am not angry with you, but you are blindly enjoying the benefits of it.
Speaking as a white male, I am well aware of the privileges I am given because of the color of my skin, but that does not mean I enjoy it or think it is right. If you do not believe that white privilege is a problem in our country, then I am sorry to say, you are part of the growing problem.
I could list about a million benefits that I, as a white male, receive that minorities, women, and people of color do not. Acknowledging the negative power that white privilege has, I would like to list some reasons why it is wrong and you should not accept it.
1. I am able to feel safe around police officers.
The police force is here to make us feel safe, and in case of an emergency, be there to help and protect us.
Now I am not saying this is the case for all police officers, I am simply saying as a whole this is a fear that many people have due to past actions. If I were ever to be pulled over, I would not feel unsafe around the officer who pulled me over.
Why is this? It's because I am white and it is an example of the privileges I have.
People of color, tragically, do not have this right. It seems that at the least, I hear about another unarmed person of color being shot and killed by a police officer .
In 2017 alone, with a couple months left to go of the year, police have shot and killed 207 black people . Seeing these overwhelming numbers do not make me feel lucky that I am white, but rather enrages me. Instead of using these privileges to our advantage, we should use our voice to name those unarmed black men and women who have been murdered and speak up about what is wrong.
2. I am able to commit a horrible act and still not be called a terrorist.
There are many acts of terror I have witnessed that have been by the hands of a white person, and they are never called a terrorist.
The tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub, the Sandy Hook Shooting, and most recent, the shooting that occurred in Las Vegas. What do all of these tragedies have in common?
They were done by the hands of a white man and people are calling them murderers instead of what they really are; terrorists.
Similar acts of terror have happened and each time it is not by the hands of a white person, they will call the perpetrator a terrorist, but never is that said when it is someone Caucasian.
Why does the media refuse to call white murderers terrorists? It is because of white privilege in our country. We must not lessen the effect of what has happened just because of the skin color, ethnicity, or religion of the person perpetrating the attack. Terrorism is not limited to certain people, it is time we acknowledge and put people responsible for their actions.
3. I am able to receive a job without worrying if the color of my skin will affect the hiring process.
Racism is everywhere, it is sad to say, but it is unavoidable. Racism is even more alive in the workplace than other places.
A first-hand experience I once had with this was when working at a job, an African American man asked if he could have an application, I told him I would ask my manager for one and bring it to him.
When I asked the manager for the application, they refused to give the man one simply because he was black. Now I know this had nothing to do with me and was not a discriminatory act toward myself, but it made me sick and after that summer ended, I decided not to return to that job for that reason.
This encounter was minuscule compared to all the other inequalities that happen in the workplace every day. It is not right, or even legal, but people will find ways around it and do it anyways. The best way, I found, to combat this is to either bring it up to the supervisor or even cooperate, or stick to your morals and not work for a company that represents racism.
4. I can openly talk about racism without being called racist.
It is very clear based on this article, my social media, and people who know me what my views on racism are. I constantly will call people out for saying something that is racist in any way and will always try to fight against it in any way I possibly can.
While I am glad I have the ability to do this, I realized others do not. This is something I quickly realized sitting in a class that was pretty divided, almost half the kids being white and the other African Americans.
When sensitive topics such as racism were brought up, the class got into a debate. You had a couple of the white kids who agreed it was wrong, some who were silent, some you could tell were racist themselves, and the African American students standing up for themselves as they should.
Before seeing it first-hand, I thought it was completely normal and encouraged that they talk about the inequalities they face, but that is not the case.
Gauging the reactions from the students in the classroom, they assume just because a black person is talking about the problems they have faced from certain white people, that they hate white people and are racist.
Not only are they constantly being discriminated, but they're also not openly allowed to bring attention to it without being called racist or proclaimed to hate white people. This is entirely false and they SHOULD be able to talk about their accounts of racism openly without anyone making any type of negative comment about it.
Realizing those of us who are white are privileged enough to rarely have to face racism, we need to keep an open mind and acknowledge how lucky we are not to have to go through what they do on a day to day basis.
Be happy it does not happen to you, but not only be thankful, extend your gratitude by ensuring they can avoid racism around you and you are an ally and someone they can confide in without judgment. Don't be afraid to apologize on behalf of other white people and for the things they have said and done to them.
5. I can go to an airport without fear that I will fall victim to racial profiling.
This sounds silly, I know, but it is something that happens. Every day, Muslims and people of other ethnicities and religions are stared at and whispered about while in line to wait for their flights.
It even gets to the extreme where they will be taken out of line and questioned or asked to step through security multiple times. In more recent events, people have even been attacked, both verbally and physically while on the plane.
This is something as a white man that I do not have to worry about. Once again, I am thankful, but not happy because this should not be something I have to be thankful that does not happen to me because it shouldn't happen to anyone.
For those of us who don't have to worry about it, my advice is to not be a bystander. Do not stand idly by if you see racial profiling and especially if you see it turning violent.
6. I am accurately represented in almost every movie.
Racism in Hollywood is something that is a whole other problem. Although I am a fan of many of the actors and directors that are a part of the movie, there is no denying that the casts are whitewashed.
Almost every movie you see advertised has a predominately white cast and will occasionally have characters that are not.
Even when there is are POC characters, the movies give false representation to the people and the characters are almost always stereotyped and relatively the same in every movie.Many movies do not even have any characters besides white ones and there are oftentimes racist undertones in the film.
Being a gay male, it is not as easy to identify with a character as others because of that aspect, but I can because of my skin tone. While there may not be many gay characters and they are oftentimes stereotyped just as much, I can still count on the fact that there will be white characters. It is important for movies to portray accurate depictions and not show the stereotypes and make each character the same.
Make them relatable, make POC characters superheroes and show they are strong, smart, kind, and independent.
7. I can watch an award show and expect to see someone like me win.
I am a person who is guilty of loving award shows and watching almost every single one that airs on TV. The Oscars, Emmy's, MTV Movie Awards, VMA's, Country Music Awards, etc...
There are tons of award shows that millions of people tune in to watch. I may not know who exactly who is going to win the award, but I do know it is going to be a white person. Even the nominees are almost all white.
And the ones who are not always lose to a white person. Many will say this is because of talent and has nothing to do with race, but let's not kid ourselves.
If it wasn't about race and was based strictly on talent, would there be a need for an award show just for people of color?
If they were given the same opportunities and chances as us, it would not be necessary. You have one award show for black people, and then you have all of the other ones which are pretty much just for white people.
This is one of those occurrences where the people do have a little bit of a say and can make a difference. Give representation to other people, we have had our entire lives in the spotlight and there are so many people of color who have an insane amount of talent who are constantly overlooked.
My advice to you, once again, is to keep an open mind and look for talent, not skin color.
8. I don't have to worry about being accused of committing a serious crime.
Every time a news story comes on about there being a shooting and the shooter being unidentified at the moment, I hear people whisper things about who they assume the shooter is.
Automatically in some people's minds, they assume the person who is the shooter is black or anyone who is not white. I constantly hear this from classmates, people on social media, and everywhere I go.
Unsurprisingly, almost every time the shooter ends up being a white male and people still act shocked and make excuses for them. People still have these assumptions but over 50% of mass shooters are white males.
How do you keep people from assuming who committed the crime based on race? Well, I don't think you can, but you can share the facts and statistics with them.
Also, if the person who does it is white, stop making excuses for them. Stop making it seem less dramatic and not as horrible because they are white, it does not matter, it is the same act and it is just as horrible.
Stop holding white people to a higher standard and assuming they are better than others, because they are not. We are all the same and it's time we all start being held to the same regard.
9. I don't have to worry about becoming a target based on my clothing.
I am not chastising people for doing this, but many times, people will post stuff on social media about how nice it is to have a bum day and just wear sweatpants and a hoodie.
Wearing something like that is something you would not have to think twice about, it is just simply dressing down and not feeling the need to wear something nice for the day. It is a virtue many of us love, but for others, it is not the same.
If a black person is seen to be wearing a hoodie with the hood up, and walking around at night just minding their business, it can be very dangerous for them. People automatically assume they are a thug and is going to harm somebody in some way and have even been shot and killed on the streets for it.
This is something that white people do not have to worry about. If I wanted to go for a walk on a chilly night and decided to put a hoodie on with my hood up, I would not even receive a second glance.
This is a privilege many of us are not aware we even have. Because of something as simple as appearance, innocent, unarmed black people are being put in danger and murdered. Be thankful for this privilege and be mindful of how you perceive others who are wearing the same thing you are.
10. I don't need a month dedicated to my race's history.
Black History Month is a very important month to celebrate and should be celebrated in a proper manner every year.
Sadly, that is not the case. Every single year when I look on Twitter I see white people complaining about how there isn't a White History Month.
The reason there is not a White History Month is that that is every month.
In all of my history courses, the only prominent figures I have learned about are white males. The only black figures we have learned about was Martin Luther King Jr. When history is taught, it is predominately white history and the only time African Americans are brought up is when you talk about slavery.
It is time we start teaching the history of people of color and the important figures so kids have someone to look up to. People of color need other people of color to look up to. White people are not the only important parts of history and it is time we start acknowledging the other side that is not taught.
11. I can attend rallies/protests without fearing for my safety.
As Americans, we are granted the freedom of speech and within that right, we are able to peacefully protest when we find something is unjust. I constantly utilize this right and use my voice to speak out against what I find wrong.
Other people, however, do not have this right. After the numerous accounts of police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement started, and while not all of it is peaceful, a big majority of them are and are asking to have their voices be heard and given the same rights as us.
During these rallies, white people have come and shouted derogatory names at them and caused fights, and it has turned to chaos. The black people who attended the rallies, asking for basic human rights are called criminals, but then you have white supremacists marching and promoting hate who are able to show their face in public without any repercussions.
Sadly, these eleven things are not the only privileges white people are given. We are given way more than that, but these are, in my opinion, the most sickening. It is time that we start to acknowledge that racism is alive and well in this country and that white privilege is a growing issue that only seems to be worsening.
Those of us that have these privileges need to speak out against them and use them to make sure everyone is given these rights. If you do not understand the privileges we have or do not see it is a problem, I implore you to educate yourself.
Knowledge is power and just by simply educating yourself on the topic, you will surprise yourself with how much it will open your eyes.
Take the time to step into someone else's skin and imagine what they go through. If you cannot do that, feel free to ask. If you are afraid to ask, there is a great app you can download called, " Everyday Racism ."
The app is available on the app store and it shows the lives of people different from yourself. You get to live the lives of these people for a week and see the challenges and inequalities they go through for simply being themselves. The fight for equality is long from over and I hope you will join me in advocating for equal rights.
Remember, love always trumps hate.