Today as I was pulling down my street, one of my neighbors just backed out of her driveway without looking and almost hit my car. I stopped in enough time and backed up, while I watched her continue to move backwards out of her driveway still completely unaware that she almost caused an accident. Not until she had completely backed out and actually looked around, did she notice that my car was there. She paused before putting her car into drive and slowly drove forward rolling down her window. I believe her intent was to apologize but she said, “I didn’t see you, sorry.” I nodded, keeping a straight face and continued to my own driveway a few houses away.
Once, a friend who is an educator, told me that a white colleague mass emailed multiple people in her district for a Black History Month lesson on February 27th. Now, I completely understand Black History Month this year has been a mini dumpster fire with the slave reenactments in schools, Blackface photos, and in general the harmful way whiteness inundates day to day life, but I thought to myself wow? You, a white person are so selfish that you are comfortable enough to publicly be asking for Black History Month lessons two days before the month is over?
Both of the instances and almost everyday, I’m reminded of the the fact many white people are mostly unconcerned, oblivious of, and impervious to anyone or anything but themselves. It must be nice to navigate this world consistently void of concern for people especially those who are pushed to the margins. It must be nice to constantly be centered. It must be nice to never have your humanity questioned or rights snatched.
It must be incredibly nice to:
- Be unable to see people of color.
- Be able to regularly step in front of or bump into me and claim “you did not see me there.”
- Work with kids but vote for politicians whose policies, ideologies, and words are toxic, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and harmful.
- Have your schools be provided $23 billion more dollars than compared to schools that serve students of color.
- Be able to comfortably use the n-word or other racial slurs in conversation, but say its not a part of your vocabulary or really in your heart.
- Continue to reward and support mediocrity without realizing the ramifications.
- Choose when and how to publicly identify with Native Peoples and not care how harmful that is.
- Believe kindness, platitudes, and toxic positivity will rectify an unjust educational system.
- Be treated as the default or norm and not need a specific month designated to honor your ancestors or their achievements.
- Not listen to marginalized people when they say an incident is racist/bigoted/xenophobic/homophobic/Islamophobic, but instead decide to wait for more facts or question what did the marginalized person do first to cause the incident to occur.
- Work in schools and tell kids to mindlessly support and respect the current US president because his language and decisions do not harm you.
- Say you are committed to diversity and inclusion, but not pay BIPOC to invest their time and energy in educating you.
- Demand others to teach you about racism or injustice instead of actually committing to doing the work and learning yourself.
- Label anyone who is critical of your stance, or lack there of, against a negative -ism as mean or negative (sometimes even moving to tears and/or projecting).
- Be comfortable enough to regularly erase women of color.
- Ask BIPOC to be “patient” and “understand, “we are doing our best” in regards to racism and inclusion when your actions and words indicate otherwise.
- Not have your identity be a mascot for a sports team.
- Be told to “activate your humanity” because the people being harmed or having their rights taken away don’t look like you.
- Use proximity to BIPOC as a means to exempt myself from being a racist and an upholder of white supremacy.
- Continue to be “shocked” and “surprised” by the violent and toxic hold white supremacy has on society.
- Boldly question if I should be in the line for first class.
- Expect cookies, applause, or kudos for doing the bare minimum.
- Believe reverse racism exists.
- Not be a representative for your entire race or ethnicity.
Whoa…..this life must really be nice, huh?