I hear about “white privilege” ALL the time, especially in recent events such as Mike Brown and Eric Garner. I accepted it as truth, but not as my reality – until today. We just finished reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah novel in my Understanding Africa course. Through talking about race relations in the United States, our professor shared a video from SALT and Dare To Be King.
This is the kind of video that anyone and everyone will have something to say about, whether they vocalize it or not. A hard hitting video that resonates with everyone – not really. The professor asks for our reactions and I comment on having this same discussion with my little brother; a burden I took on because my African-born parents still live in the “We’re African, NOT Black” mindset. A discussion I will go on and on about at another time.
It is a terribly AWFUL thing to even find it necessary to have this conversation with our young Black brothers and sisters.
I kept asking myself “Are we actually teaching young Black men to participare in their oppression? From my understanding of history, revolutionary change ONLY comes about after a person or group of people have been pushed so far past their threshold, the only way to be heard is to REVOLT. But wait, isn’t that what we’ve been trying to do? But wait- what is the difference between oppression and following the law?”
After my little battle with myself, others shared their opinions as well. A handful of people(who just happened to be white) said, and I don’t make this up – “I feel like that’s just common sense.” Just hearing that, something snapped. THAT’S IT! THAT’S THAT WHITE PRIVILEGE I KEEP HEARING ABOUT!”
What, to others, might be considered “common sense” is a luxury to several others – which in this case are people of color. For instance, the access to said “common sense” is education that isn’t easily accessible to all groups of people.
To understand a little bit what white privilege is, here is a scenario: it is like being a doctor writing down home remedies for a patient with cold and telling them to boil water and add lemon and honey to it. Meanwhile, you don’t know if they have access to clean drinking water, if they can access lemon and honey, or if they have coal to boil the water or a bot to boil it in. BUT assuming it is available to them because it is to you.
This is not to say that white people are terrible and all Black people are doomed whenever they encounter the police. BUT it does give some perspective on how some may view the world. Some Blacks may see cops as dangerously currupt citizens excused by the law and uniform, and others maybe see them as a safety net. But the bottom line is this: Although the rules are generic, SOMETIMES, terms and conditions and skin color may apply.