Another Lesson in White Privilege | Stereotypes Vs. Systemic Racism

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I’ve been avoiding blogging about McKinney. Sometimes when things like this happen, I have a lot of feelings, but I’m trying to be a better ally by listening more. Today my dear friend Sevi of Ware is the Vodka opened up and posted a VERY moving and very personal post. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so now.

This post started out as a reply to a comment but some of my friends convinced me that it needed to be here as well. White people are stereotyped sometimes, too. Sometimes we are judged before people know anything about us and sometimes crimes are committed against white people simply for being white. I know this. I’m fully aware.

HOWEVER I keep seeing people try to compare those issues to systemic issues that minorities face in this country and that has to stop, y’all. They’re just not the same. So here’s my anger-fueled take on that. I usually try to remain calm and kind in these situations but there’s only so many times I can calmly explain something. I edited a few things because some of it didn’t make sense as-is on its own.

At the bottom I’ve listed some basic resources if you’re still scratching your head on this. I get it, it’s hard and I’ve been figuring it out for years and every day I’m still learning. But please try to understand. Just try. Read this blog post, then click the link at the bottom for my absolute favorite resource to help understand these issues.

Lately I haven’t had much energy to debate with people but it seems I don’t have much choice. I’m sorry you’ve been through some bad experiences where people judged you because you are white, unfortunately people of all shapes, sizes, colors, etc are just crappy. It’s a part of life. But you seem to be missing the point. See, what happened to you sucks. But that’s it – it sucks. The things that happened to Sevi (and happen to black men, women and children every day) happen because of historical context. It’s not an accident. In case you’ve forgotten, slavery happened a mere 200 years ago (really less, but this isn’t a history lesson). A quick Google search will show you Selma, where men and women were blasted with fire hoses and attacked by dogs for trying to get basic civil rights 50 years ago. Your parents were probably alive then – that’s how recent this was. Again, sorry you dealt with some bad stuff in Flint but you’re not fighting a system that has been asking you to fail since your ancestors were ENSLAVED, torn from their home country and brought to the US to build up a country. The US is built on free labor.

I’m a woman and you are too, so maybe this will make it a little clearer. We have to fight some pretty crappy stuff sometimes as women. When I have an experience that I know is because of systemic oppression against women (even a small one), it upsets me deeply. Not just because it hurt my feelings (which it does, and that’s valid) but it’s more upsetting because I know it’s not just me. These things happen to women everywhere because of male privilege and that freaking sucks. It’s hurtful and it’s tough to know that the problems can’t just be ignored or fixed overnight. That’s the closest thing I can relate to when it comes to systemic racism and what it feels like to be oppressed because of your skin color.

There will always be prejudice but to try to compare your experiences to something that is systemic is selfish and does nothing to fix the racial issues that are still VERY prevalent in our country here in 2015. You can be mad at me, you can talk mess back to me, but the truth of racism in this country is right in front of you.

Here is the easiest and best explanation of white privilege I’ve ever seen. A quick read that should be reread over and over again. It’s easy to get through, so don’t skip out on this.


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