I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time the last few days joining Facebook conversations and retweeting poignant comments about the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I realized that regardless of whether or not I agree that social media is the place for that conversation in an ideal world, the fact of the matter is that’s where the conversations are happening. One thing that’s been confirmed is that there’s a lot of ignorance participating in these conversations without an open-mind. Ignorance along with close-mindedness leads to nothing.
Now, before I continue, it’s necessary for me to clarify the word “ignorant.” I don’t mean it as a derogatory term, simply as a synonym for “not knowing.” They say ignorance is bliss but the bliss of many people’s worlds is being challenged yet the ignorance along with it is being ignored. That’s just irresponsible.
I see members of the white community unable to accept that their blissful worlds are not universal. That said, I’ve encountered many in the white community who, when forced to face the facade of their blissful world, do have a moment of reckoning where it becomes clear that their white privilege does exist and that seems to often be followed with a desire to engage coupled with very little certainty on how. Nonetheless, that’s progress.
However, for those still unable to understand the other side, let me try to clarify:
Having white privilege is not an indictment on white people. Identifying white privilege is not synonymous with chastising white people; it’s merely the acknowledgment of a dynamic in this country. However, the resistance to accept the existence of white privilege is, in fact, an insult to all Black people, who see the manifestation and experience that dynamic of white privilege everyday.
It also pains me to see the amount of tension between people supporting #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter. The thought that the two are mutually exclusive can only be a symptom of close-mindedness. Those are the same people wondering why there’s no NAACP-equivalent for white people.
How many people reading this also saw “Remember the Titans”? Remember that scene when a group of players, black and white, went out together and the white guys insisted on going to this one restaurant and the black players didn’t want to but they clearly realized that the white players didn’t understand why the black players didn’t want to go, so they went in anyway and it was super racist and the Black guys were pissed and they split up the rest of the night?
That’s white privilege. The white players didn’t necessarily intend for bad things to happen but their inability to see the whole picture and understand the black perspective ended up causing for a confrontation that made the blacks players uncomfortable.
Those of you claiming that white privilege doesn’t exist are purely those still naive enough not to realize that you’re the guy insisting on bringing the black guys into the racist bar.