White privileage. It’s a term we’ve heard quite frequently in the last few years and yet few of us know what it really means. A white person reads the term and they go up in arms. Sqeauling like a stuck pig about reverse racism and you’re likely to see their faces light up pure red. Oh yes white America I’m talking to you. I have written this is my head for months trying to vocalize exactly what I’m feeling for the state of race relations in our country and finally I just had to call a spade a spade. It’s disgusting.
You hear, “children aren’t born with racism, they’re taught it.” Is it true? Yes and no. Let me explain. Last week I’m on my way to drop the tiniest human off at daycare and he starts talking about one of his friends and it occurs to me he just loves everybody. He goes to a school that is 95% black and he knows no difference. He categorizes people into 2 places: mean and nice. Those are the words he uses to describe everyone. He doesn’t know if people are black, white, poor, or rich. He knows if they are mean or nice. Miss Tasha is nice, Lauren is sometimes mean. But, in a few years, probably around the 2nd grade, he will start categorizing people. Because we all do. No matter who or what we are, we judge people. No matter how generically Brad and I have described people, he will be in environments where people are judging. They’re the athlete, the nerds, the academics, delienquents, or the loners. People. Are. Judgemental. Our only hope can be that he keep it that simple. That he understands that everyone is different and he gets to know every book before he judges it.
So back to white privelage. For the sake of keeping it simple, pick the least judgemental person you know. Imagine them interviewing 2 people. I’ll use myself as one and a black woman who has the exact qualifications as myself. She is dressed in a suit, she has 3 children. We are identical on the outside with the exception of our skin. I will get the job. Why do you ask? Because that interviewer, black or white, has made an assumption based on society that I am married because I am white and that she is a single mother. They assume she will have trouble doing her duties because she will have child care issues and no support. When in fact, she has been married to the same man for 15 years. However they can’t ask that question in an interview because family cannot be a reason for disqualification. But they can assume and they do. I am favored simply because of a preconcieved notion in society that black woman don’t have stable home lives and white women do. I have just been shown white privelage. Oh oh! Wait. I’ll give you a moment to stop yelling your computers about how that NEVER happens……. Ok are you done? I’ll call it. Bullshit. It happens every damn second of every damn day. You tell me with a clear conscience that if there is a black man walking to your left and a white man walking to your right, that your not automatically watching that black man because you suspect he’s more of a danger to you than the white man. Again. Bullshit. That white man is 78% more likely to rape you than the black man. I feel safer walking the streets of Eastlake in Birmingham than I do walking alone to my car at night in Mountain Brook.
Now that I’ve hopefully caught your attention and maybe grabbed you to understand a little more of the subject, let’s talk about Birmingham. Behind Selma, it is the most racially diverse city in Alabama. But it’s quiet. There is no one protesting the violence in the black community. Maybe it’s because police brutality isn’t an issue, I don’t know. Now black America, I’m talking to you. Our murder rate is rising. The domestic violence among our black community is at the highest peak of all times. I myself, have been a victim of domestic violence, and I empathize with any woman being a victim of it. 4 young black women just this year have been murdered by their boyfriends or ex boyfriends and left their babies behind. The woman in the picture you saw before you clicked? Tiffany Nolen. She was a mother of 2 and our first domestic violence murder victim of 2016. I was floored when I read it. I was floored to learn that DV was a sky rocketing issue in the black community, but I wasn’t surprised. These women have supportive mothers and families. They had places to go, but not far enough. I was thinking a shelter would help, but it won’t and that’s why I’ve changed the whole pace of where I’m going with this. Abusers will threaten their families. And if you know nothing else, there is nothing greater to the black community than protecting family. So what do we do? AL.com had a quote byt Annetta Nunn that sums it up. We stop asking “Why do they stay? We should ask men, why do they batter?” You tell me why? Why do you feel he/she has to stay with you? What drives that rage so deep? We may never know only speculate. I want to see us push the youth today and support them to help mitigate the violence. Birmingham, let’s stand up and rally against it. I challenge you today to do something helpful for a neighbor. Anything small or large. Let’s remember it takes a village and we have a great one. Let’s use it.