White privilege is not what whites think it is

White privilege doesn’t mean what some Whites think it means. They get stuck on the word privilege believing it to equate with wealth and comfort. However, that’s not it.

Privilege, as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary, has two related definitions. The first is “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favour”. The second is “to accord a higher value or superior position to”.

The social and political system of this country grants people who are white with certain privileges that are not given to people of colour which are based simply on the lack of melanin in their skin. It has nothing to do with wealth, but everything to do with living each day.

Whites can and do go about our lives not really worrying about being pulled over by law enforcement or being shadowed in stores by security/loss prevention personnel.

Whites can and do get jobs over people of colour based not on qualifications, but on skin pigmentation.

Whites do not get stereotyped as being savages or lazy anywhere near the amount people of colour do.

A white man walking along the street while wearing a hoodie doesn’t have to pull the hoodie off when people pass him out of fear of being thought of as potentially violent.

When a white person does get pulled over or stopped by law enforcement, they don’t automatically get approached by the officer having his/her hand on the butt of his/her service revolver.

The list can go on ad nauseam, but I won’t belabour it. These are facts. People of colour, particularly Black and Brown skinned people face discrimination every day practically from the moment they are born.

Black and Brown mothers and fathers train their sons on how to try to avoid suspicion from ignorant whites so that they can come home from something as simple as a trip to get candy at the corner store.

Black women see images society throws at them saying their beauty lies in straightening their hair.

Black and Brown people are constantly told to behave like whites behave if they want to achieve success and stay safe in this country.

Again, the list can go on ad nauseam.

Enough is enough though!

Blacks and other people of colour cannot fix the system that’s rigged against them by themselves. It’s up to whites to join with them, listen, and act with them to change the system from one of systemic racism to one of real equality.

Not Enough

Not Enough

Shirts are not enough.
Signs are not enough.
Painted streets are not enough.
Sentiment is not enough.
Letters and emails are not enough.
Voting is not enough.
Protests are not enough.

All of these actions, while necessary and good, are not enough to bring about meaningful and lasting change in this country. We need tangible and earnest change in the system to rid ourselves of the systemic racism that pervades our country.

While the above-mentioned list is a start, we need to elect officials at all levels of government who will listen and act in a manner that changes the system. We must move forward with the agenda for which people are shouting, protesting, dying, and being arrested. We must make the agenda into law.

No human should worry about being mistreated based solely on the colour of her or his skin.

No human should worry about being killed based solely on the colour of her or his skin.

No human should live in poverty based solely on the colour of her or his skin.

No human should worry about being able to get a job based solely on the colour of her or his skin.

No human should worry about not having healthcare based solely on the colour of her or his skin.

We must force our government to truly make this country one where equality is truly equality.

Equality across the imaginary concept of race.

Equality across all cultural differences.

Equality across all genders and sexual orientations.

Equality across all religious beliefs or non-belief.

The idea of equality for ALL PEOPLE truly should be equality for ALL PEOPLE!

A Country on the Verge

The United States is becoming more and more of a country on the verge of revolution on a number of fronts. The attacks on women’s rights. The resurgence of blatant and covert racism. The increasingly noticeable divide between the wealthy, the working class, and the poor. The increase in lack of tolerance between people for a myriad of other reasons. At the forefront of this schism in our country is a small group of powerful people who are causing it. They call themselves patriots and even use the political designation of Tea Party because they believe they are defending freedom while talking away freedoms. What they are doing is turning our country into one where there are only those who are wealthy and privileged and those who are not. There is still hope for the US, though. It comes through having to combat their tactics and educate those who are falling for their sharp rhetoric of concealed lies. The media they use is slick and showy. They prey on the emotions of people without allowing logic to prevail. It is up to all concerned, intelligent citizens to fight back with words that are emotionally charged, but logically based.
First thing is to realize that they hate logic. A recent voting situation in Wisconsin points this out well. The head of one of their houses of state legislature demanded a vote on the requirement of ultrasounds on women wanting abortions without allowing for debate. His very action of denying debate itself should cause Americans who believe in a representative government to cringe with fear. Without intelligent debate, ideology can be forced through and made policy. Too many voters have elected people who said what they wanted to hear rather than actually participated in debating the pros and cons with the issues at hand. Too many voters have succumbed to allowing those who donate large sums of money to politicians dictate what those politicians make into law. It has to stop and it has to stop now! Our country cannot afford to be railroaded into ideology instead of good policy that benefits everyone in the country as whole.
Next, is to be heard. The one thing that these ideological politicians and donors do not want is a vocal and persistent opposition. There needs to be more people to speak up and, if need be, out shout the ideology of those causing the demise of our country and make people wake up and listen with the ear of wisdom to what is being said and the ramifications of policy before it is made into law. Silence is the same as acquiescence. If good people do not speak up, then freedoms will be replaced by the wants of special interests. When the media sound boxes for the Tea Party start trying to shut the voices of reason down, then the voices of reason must resist and be heard. Truth must be brought out over their half-truths and lies. If it takes people standing on corners with signs, then so be it. If it takes people going door to door, talking, and handing out flyers, then so be it. It is not going to be cheap, but it needs to be done.
In addition, it needs funding. Unfortunately, those who support free thinking and logical approaches to life are not always the wealthiest. There has to be a way to get the word out in a less expensive, but more efficient manner. People could donate time or talents to get the real truth out. It has been proven that grassroots efforts work, but they take people who are willing and able to coordinate others and get the word out. It takes people who can speak well as well as those who can write well. It takes those who can approach a stranger, even one who might be negative to new ideas, and meet them where they are and make them think more about issues even if it does not change their mind about them.
Next, the need for education is paramount. Ignorance is the fuel for the rhetoric of those affiliated with the Tea Party. If the public remains uneducated or undereducated, then they can control them easier. This is probably why so many of them support high stakes standardized testing over actually educating the children of America. People have relearn how to think for themselves again rather than blindly following their leaders. Our country was greater when we had thinkers and those thinkers actually acted for the benefit of others, rather than their own profit margins. We need to remind those who follow blindly that doing so leads to the detriment of our country rather than its prosperity.
Finally, we need to bring back a sense of community in our country again. Sure, we band together for the most part when disaster strikes, but we need to rebuild a sense that we are all in this together when it comes to our daily lives. We need to relearn to cooperate with our neighbors and work with them to help all of us live better lives. We need to practice charity for all rather than a select few. We need to define ourselves as Americans rather than anything else. Real Americans help one another. If we did not, then we would not have survived all the wars, disasters, and attacks we have faced as a country.
This needs to be our new revolution. A revolution to take America back from all the special interests and make it a country that shines again like a beacon for the world as a partner with the world to make it a better place for all human beings. We need to stand up for one another against the political ideology of a few who would like nothing better than to split us farther apart and into complacency, labels, and stereotypes.