A Brief Word on Privilege, because #blacklivesmatter

The news across the globe sucks these days. There is too much hate for me to handle the news or looking at social media much any more so I’ve been trying to avoid both.

I wanted to take a minute and take inventory of the fact that I live in a bubble of privilege. I want it known that I understand that, to the extent that it is possible for me to (there are limitations).

I’m white. I grew up upper middle class in the United States in a family with married, working parents. I went to college and have been gainfully employed for the majority of my life. I’ve traveled. I’ve cried and gotten out of speeding tickets (I cried as a natural reaction to getting in trouble, not to get out of the ticket). Unless I’m holding hands with a woman or a person who expresses their gender/sexual orientation outside of their assigned sex, no one can tell my sexual orientation. I typically dress in a normal fashion. I was baptized as a child though identify as a casual agnostic now (I don’t care to debate the existence of god, let’s just all be cool with each other and I’m good).

Those things add up to levels of privilege. Though I’m not at the top of the “privilege food chain” (picture white, male rapist Brock and that’s the poster child of privilege), I understand that I am very high up there.

I hate seeing any person left behind due to any factor beyond what’s truly relevant. If a black man is genuinely a threat, treat him as such (with the appropriate starting point of escalation, perhaps a gun isn’t the first step). However, he needs just as much benefit of the doubt as any white man. The US is built on the burial grounds of Native Americans. We have a history of African slavery, Chinese railway workers, Japanese internment camps, anti-homosexuality laws, considering immigrants second class citizens (when 90% of us are descended from immigrants), and even an entire political party rallying against its own president – perhaps because they truly don’t like his policies or perhaps because he’s not the same skin tone as them (I honestly suspect it’s blind racism).  It’s absurd.

By reacting to a person based on the color of their skin we are just perpetuating behaviors, beliefs, stereotypes, and we are engendering hatred among all of us. Just stop. These are perceptions – mere responses to random sequences of DNA, think about that for a minute.  How much sense does that make?

If you’re in a place of privilege, use that higher station to help the under-privileged person. Stand up for them. Be a comrade (a term I learned from this article posted OVER A YEAR AGO). Stop with with the #alllivesmatter. Yes, obviously all lives matter – but until all of the privileged people can really truly understand WHY #blacklivesmatter is so important to the people with black lives, shut up and listen. Listen, understand, help, advocate, be a voice that echoes #blacklivesmatter to our other privileged people so that maybe, just maybe THEY will listen too. Do something about this, don’t just stand idly by because it’s not “your problem”, even in a place of privilege, it is.

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