social issues · Uncategorized

The Everyday Gift of White Privilege

I am a girl of privilege.

My grandmother was an immigrant, and most of my family arrived in the United States in the past 150 years, and I am a dual citizen, yet nobody has ever to me to “go back to where I came from”. If I commit a horrific crime, I probably won’t be label “a terrorist”.

I have never been arrested, or even given a ticket, by the cops, even though I’ve broken a number of laws. I’ve driven over the speed limit and crashed into somebody else’s car. I’ve done drugs with my friends. I’ve been drunk on too many occasions to count, even though I’m only nineteen. Even so, I have a clean record, and I am less likely to lose it. I haven’t been shot at by those sworn to protect me because I “looked like a threat”.

When I see a Confederate flag or a swastika, I feel only a brief moment of panic, but my sexuality is something that I can easily hide. I don’t have to hide, because I look like the bigots who are spreading hatred and prejudice. Instead, I reflect on how it really wouldn’t matter who won either of those fights, because I fit the mold of a model citizen.

I am never asked if my parents are still together. I am never asked if my dad does any of the work. People don’t assume that I am siblings with any random person with my same skin tone.

I barely speak two languages, yet no one laughs at me for trying. I could drop out of college now and make more than some actual graduates do. People don’t act surprised when I speak articulately.

I can walk into convenience stores and not receive harsh glares. I can walk by playgrounds without parents eyeing me. I can attend a rally and be called “courageous” instead of “a nuisance”. I don’t have to change anything but my clothes for interviews. There isn’t a whole list of deeming words still being used to describe people who look like me.

I am constantly represented in the media. People who look like me fill the cinemas and our television screens. I have multi-dimensional role models everywhere I look. Girls who look like I do get to be on the covers of YA novels.

I wear shorts that barely cover my panties, but no one calls me a slut. I get compliments on my hairstyles, not questions about why I “don’t let it go natural” or comments on how “ghetto” I look.  I am always told how beautiful I am.

I can deny all of this privilege and not be called out on my stupidity.

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