White Privilege and #blacklivesmatter
I wasn't going to say anything about the racial tension in our society. How could I? I'm a white, privileged American.
At the same time…
How could I not? I'm a white, privileged American.
With each shot fired and each individual killed, and these being witnessed over social media, my greatest realization is, "Oh my God, this has been happening since the beginning and I am just now seeing it played out (due to social media).”
I do hesitate to speak. Because I'm not fully versed...
At the same time, I speak, because we must. We speak because, when injustices take place, our responsibility is to speak.
Even dating back to thousands of years ago, we see injustices done to orphans and widows and we see a Scriptural plea to come to their aid, to speak out on behalf of them. To stand with the oppressed.
It is completely justified to speak out on behalf of a population being subject to injustice. We cry out on behalf of unborn children (and its completely justified), we cry out on behalf of the orphan and widow (and its completely justified) and we cry out on behalf of people facing racial and gender injustices. And that very much should be justified as well. And too often, it is not.
I've been pulled over (while driving) many times. One time stands out.
There I was, in my light blue Toyota Camry, driving 23 in a 25 when I heard the sirens. I was a bit confused. I pulled over. But the cop didn't get out. He called in backup. I was now surrounded and still very confused. The cops still didn't come to talk to me, they spoke over a bullhorn to give me further instructions of where they wanted my car and how they wanted me to behave.
Finally, they approached…
What had happened?
Well, I had a black person in the car with me who didn't have their seatbelt on.
I’ve always been frustrated that I get pulled over so much (often when I have my hoodie up and am driving home late) and then am simply sent on my way home. I have now shifted my view. It's white privilege.
It's white privilege that when I get pulled over for something meaningless, that the officer approaches me and lets me go with a warning.
It's white privilege that I put my hoodie down and am no longer viewed as a threat.
The privilege lies in the fact that I've never feared for my life when I'm pulled over. It may be a slight disturbance in my day but it's not a life-threatening moment. (Just as for my sister, it took seeing that when being pulled over with her black husband, while her fear had always been getting a ticket, getting a ticket was the least of her husband’s fears.)
The frightening thing to me in this current age, is that fear breeds fear. As one race raises its weapons, another does the same. And a cycle continues throughout history.
White America loves to talk about how our nation was founded, “the land of the free”... And yet, many of those same founders held slaves and justified the murder of Native Americans.
We have a history of bloodshed. A history of violence.
And no man or woman can tell another man or woman how they should feel or act when we haven’t played the same ‘game’ or ‘haven’t been given the same rules to play by’ throughout our history.
But one thing we can do is to show one another… With concern. With sensitivity. With care. And with using your voice and privilege to speak with those who are marginalized and oppressed.
White people don’t decide whether #blacklivesmatter should matter or not. If it matters to black people, then it matters.
I need not to be ashamed for being born with white skin, in a loving home, with parents who both had jobs. But I do need to take whatever has been given to me, whatever privilege I have, and use it for Good. Use it for Peace. Use it for Hope. To promote Reconciliation. To promote Justice. To promote Equality. Even if that means some of my privilege is lost for the sake of equality for all.
And… as I type my final thoughts on my phone... I walk alone, during the late hours, outside of the Las Vegas Strip, on the dark sidewalks that no one else is on. I pass by various “scenes.” The arguments and shouting at the gas station. The homeless on the streets. The alcohol in paper bags.
I see cops. I see a car pulled over.
There’s not another path for me, so I simply walk through the “scene” and the cops barely even give me a glance, as I walk through feeling completely safe.
That's white privilege. And a privilege every person, no matter their race, age, or gender should have.