There is talk everywhere in the news, on Facebook, among groups, and just everywhere about white privilege. I have heard so many state that this term is a fallacy and there is no such thing. I will admit that there may have been a time or two, while sitting broke and wondering where the next meal would come from, that I thought if this is white privilege then I don’t want any. Here is the problem with such a thought though, white privilege doesn’t mean that you don’t have to go out and work for the things that you need and want. For me, my white privilege is in not having to think about certain things.
A couple of years back I was working at a bar and asked a friend of mine to come see me at work. It never crossed my mind that I was asking an African American male to come to a “biker bar”.
This is how the conversation went:
Me: Come see me at work.
Him: Pshhhh, I don’t think so. They don’t let black people in there.
Me: (With a laugh) It’s 2014 and this is America, there is no where that doesn’t let black people in.
Him: I went to a bar in (insert city here, same city I worked in) and was told that “my kind” wasn’t allowed in.
This is when I got a sick feeling in my stomach and it dawned on me that my white privilege is the simple fact that I don’t have to think about this sort of thing ever. I had no reason to know that this was an issue at all. I had never had to experience going in anywhere that “my kind” wasn’t wanted. I was floored, hurt, and embarrassed to have not had to think about this.
From that day on, my white privilege was clear. As a white woman, I can go anywhere, anytime, and not have to think about all of the things that could happen when I go there, or that I wouldn’t be welcome there. Maybe if people were to frame all of these racial tensions with wide open eyes, instead of just pretending that because we may not have to deal with something that it doesn’t exist. So while, yes, all lives matter, black lives in particular matter as well.