I remember the exact day I first heard the words ‘white privilege’. I remember the conversation, I remember who said it, I remember how I felt. I also remember the heated discussion that followed and the awkward drive home with my friend.
So the conversation went a little like this… please note I am paraphrasing:
*discussion moves onto racism and my two friends and I talk about how much we hate it, don’t understand how people could feel that way etc. etc.*
Me: “I just don’t get it, why does it matter what colour skin we have, we are all human. I personally don’t see a person for their colour, they are just human.”
Friend 1: “that is because you have white privilege, you don’t have to see the colour of people’s skin”
Me: “I am not racist, why would you say that I am racist?! I can’t believe you said that, what a horrible thing to say waaa waaa waaa”
Friend 2: *input to the conversation at many points, no offence friend 2 but I mostly remember friend 1’s words because she was way more fiery*
Friend 1: “I didn’t call you racist, I said you have white privilege” *tries to explain*
Me: *blood boiling with rage but trying to keep my cool* “I can’t believe you think I am a racist, I am so offended right now!!!”
Friend 2: “ok girls, it’s been lovely having you over, so glad we can always have open and honest conversations… this is not awkward at all… see you both soon”
*awkward drive home because friend 1 and I had come in one car*
That day is burned in my memory. It took some time after that day for me to address and acknowledge my white privilege. My friends and I laugh now about one of the heated discussions that probably really solidified our friendship. We have learned so much from each other and we have done that by having the uncomfortable and sometimes heated discussions. We talk about things openly. We call each other out if something the other is saying is offensive, we did it about racism, we’ve done it about mental health, body positivity, and we will continue to do it. That is how you learn and grow.
We all know it, nobody is born racist, it is learned behaviour that can be unlearned. Then sometimes people, like myself in that situation have the best of intentions, have zero hatred towards any other race… yet through my lack of knowledge, was actually pretty damn offensive to PoC.
That situation was years ago and I am sorry to say, I am still learning today. Only days ago I expressed how shocked I was at George Floyd’s murder and how I felt like it was getting worse. I was quickly corrected. I’m sure I’ve seen it quoted “it’s not getting worse, it’s getting filmed”.
I have still been living in my white privilege world where I was unaware it is still this bad. I still have zero hatred towards any race. I will still call people out if I see or hear racism. But I can be unaware of what is going on because every time I step out of my front door, I don’t have to think about the colour of my skin offending someone so much, they want to hurt me. I don’t have to take it into consideration in all of my plans for life, every, single, day.
I will never truly understand how if feels to be a PoC. I will never know that fear, pain or struggle. I can say though that I see you, I see your beautiful colour and I love and support you.
As a white woman, I am taking responsibility for the fact that while I am not racist, I have also not fought hard enough against racism. I have not made enough effort to acknowledge my own privilege and educate myself. I am more than ever now, working hard to change that. I am reading, listening and learning. I am sharing posts and sharing this blog so that hopefully other people will work harder than ever to educate themselves too.
I will never know your pain, but I will fight with you because, you matter.
Stay strong warriors 💜