Friday, July 8, 2016

White Privilege in Two Paragraphs

There are yard signs around the city which say, "We Must Stop Killing Each Other."  There is one on my sister-in-law's block.  And she was grieving the fact that her nine-year-old daughter (our niece, Little Red) is now able to read, which means that she will have to explain to Little Red what that sign means and why it's posted and what is going on with the state of the world.  I said, "Well, it's true [that we must stop killing each other]" to my Unit, who then expressed her desire (similar to her sister's) to keep Little Red as young and innocent as she can be, before she has to realize what a horrible place the world is.

I see one of those signs "We Must Stop Killing Each Other" every day when I drive home from work, and it dawned on me that for other children, other nine- and ten-year-olds, "We Must Stop Killing Each Other" is an everyday reality.  Other, non-white children have to be told on a daily basis why their friends and families are being shot and killed.  Other, non-white children have to be taught things like "Hands Up; Don't Shoot" and to always comply with persons of authority because at any moment they could be unjustly harassed, assaulted, and/or killed.  That is their everyday reality.  And the fact that Little Red's parents have the luxury of deciding when to tell her about this reality -- this "other" reality -- is white privilege.  Plain.  Lucky.  Stupid. Privilege.

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