Monday, June 01, 2020

My Privilege

My privilege is here... home. I can retreat. I can pull weeds, wash dishes, go to bed, plan a graduation, turn off my phone. My privilege is passing for white, the protection of my husband, the advantage of living in a mostly liberal community, my education, knowing when to keep quiet, who not to offend, when not to speak, where not to go. My privilege is being born into a system that I have learned to play...

I hide.

I am not marching. I am not disowning my advantages, or flying a liberal flag in my front yard.

I am staying low, because I don't want to lose my security, my freedom. I don't want to invite the notice of white supremacists, bullies, MAGA, of "nice" people that do and say mean, thoughtless shit. I have been kicked, and harassed, hissed at, sneered at, called a "Jap, Chink, dirty Mexican, beaner, wetback, dirty Indian, buttercup, snowflake." I have been streamed in school, profiled, denied access, snubbed, harassed. I have seen it, felt it, fought it, dreaded it, been humiliated and hurt by it all of my life. I have had the talk with my boys... shave your beard, cut your hair, keep your hands visible, don't stay out late, don't fight back, don't, just. don't, and I try to think of all the ways a bad cop, a rowdy bunch of "fine people" might react to my mixed-race sons and daughter. And now... though I am safe, and staying home, I am struggling anyways, because I see my privilege is all the ways I avoid being in the midst of the violence, the pain, the little digs, the snickers, jokes, the prejudice, and bias, the stereotypes, assumptions. I have nice things, and hopes, and I don't want to lose them, and my privilege is this bubble, where I can hide and cower, and physically escape almost any consequence.


It is not enough to say, "I am not racist, and I do not hate." It's not enough to post a Black Lives Matter sticker on FB, or quote Martin Luther King. This won't be over if we can get a President that doesn't call black men "Sons of bitches" or grabs women by "the pussy." The system is working as it was meant to... it is corrupt, it is racist, it is hurting people of color, and we cannot hide from this any more. It is very uncomfortable. It is ongoing, and will be ongoing until everyone is heard, until Black men and women are heard and respected, counted, and seen. This is more than politics, more than "them" or other cities, other anything... I am antiracist and uncomfortable, and I am listening, and acting, and I am scared.