Monday, March 19, 2012

Racism fatigue

I wrote that post about the Trayvon Martin murder and since then all I can say is that it's been weighing heavily on my mind.

That might be an understatement.

One of my fellow adoptive mothers posted a link about his murder on Facebook tonight and I commented that I don't worry about paying for my son's college tuition, instead I worry about him being shot by the police or some racist asshole.

I know that there are millions of people who don't think that racism exists anymore in this country. They point out the fact that we've elected our first biracial President as evidence that we're now a post-racial society.

I want to punch those people in the face. 
No, I'm not kidding. It enrages me (not hyperbole, it really does enrage me) when people try to argue that racism doesn't exist. Or that I'm making too much of something, or someone is being too sensitive, or P.C. or whatever else people who don't believe in racism (it's not Santa Claus okay?) say when a person of color or an ally point out prejudice in action.

It took me a long time to get to examining my white privilege. But now it's all I notice. And I resent others who don't do it too. I'm not talking about guilt. Yes, it's there. But guilt doesn't do anyone any good. It's counterproductive to moving forward and doing the work that needs to be done. I just wish other white folks (yes I know I'm half Filipino but my whole life has been built on white privilege) would examine their shit too.

You walk down the street at night and no one views you suspiciously because you're white.
You aren't followed in a store being suspected of shoplifting because you're white.
You are never looked over for a loan or apartment or car because of the color of your skin.
You can date whomever you want and their parents won't mind because you're white.
You don't have to worry about being suspended or disciplined in school at a higher rate because you are white.
People in major television, movies and books look just like you.
You have role models everywhere.
You don't have to worry about being stopped by the police at any given time of the day because of the color of your skin.

Did you ask for it? No.
Do you benefit from it? Yes.

It's called unearned privilege and if you're white you should recognize it every day.
And you should ask yourself how you can change it.
How you can level out the playing field for others.
How you can be a better ally.

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