Digging to Roam

How to Stop Having White Privilege Ignorance

Segreated Water Fountain

[Content Note: Racism]

Are you white? If you answered yes, this lesson is for you.

This is Part 3 in a series I like to call, “How to Be Less of a Jerk: A Crash Course on -Isms.” Be sure to study up with the other lessons on not being such a jerk: here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Despite mounds of undeniable evidence and tons of analysis explaining white privilege, white people still can’t deal with talking about racism. It is long past time to destroy that sensitivity. We can’t let fellow white folks sit pretty in the ignorant bubble of white supremacy. Ignoring white privilege, whether you will admit it or not, adds to a long history of exploitation and oppression of non-whites.

Stop Dismissing Racists

As Trump’s presidency spins out of control, fewer people are telling me to keep my criticisms about him to myself. Unfortunately, they do still tell me to stop “making everything about race” as I try to challenge my own white privilege. They say to not go overboard with accusations of racism. They say to calm down and wait to see what happens. Just say “sorry” for upsetting family and friends. Get over it. If I want, I can play nice and live in the safe walls of a white echo chamber where people mediate bigotry by dismissing it as a difference of opinion, because “racist” is word reserved only for the annals of the distant past when slave owners sold humans like livestock.

It’s been surreal, in a nightmarish kind of way, to watch it unfold. I can’t help but wonder if those “Make America Great Again” hats (made in Vietnam, China and Bangladesh) are cutting off circulation to key parts of the brain used for processing information. Then I remember: this vile racism is nothing new. Now that racism is on full display, we’re just seeing it more. I have never had to feel racial oppression, because I live in a world made for people who look like me. A flippant ableist comment about stupidity is a lazy way for us to dismiss racists so we don’t have to come to terms with the racism pervasive in our communities.

Is Resistance a Privilege?

I recently had a conversation with someone who is avidly against the new POTUS said, “I’m not going to let Trump ruin my life.” I agreed with them. Then I realized: that kind of statement is a privileged one. This is a level of privilege many people (yes, white people) don’t understand: to know that with enough strength of will, your life will not be destroyed by the system. This is a problem that crosses political lines and is historically based and culturally rooted.

I can hear the annoyed sighs and distant rumble of discontent among my white readers, and the lesson isn’t even finished. Hold onto your indignation for a moment. Privilege is not something to be ashamed of or to hate yourself for having. You’re not a bad person for having privilege (there’s probably a lot of other reasons you’re a bad person; ask your frenemies to solve that conundrum). However, you do need to accept that this unequal system unfairly benefits you. It benefits me too. I have never lived in a world where my skin color was a disadvantage for anything besides sunbathing.

This is just a snippet, to read the whole article check it out at Wear Your Voice.

Kristance Harlow

March 3, 2017

Find help for a crisis by texting, calling, or chatting online with these free crisis organizations. Looking for one outside of the USA? Check out our support listings.

Crisis Text Line
Text: “HOME” to 741741

Suicide Lifeline
Text: “ANSWER” to 839863
Call: 1-800-273-8255

Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-422-4453

The Trevor Project
Text “START” to 678678
1-866-488-7386

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call your local emergency number. The numbers listed here are the commonly used numbers for the stated region, the numbers can vary greatly depending on where you live. If you don't know your country's equivalent to 911, this wiki page and The Lifeline Foundation have comprehensive listings.

Americas

911

The Americas
Europe

112

Europe
Africa

112 & 999

Africa
Asia

112, 999, 110

Asia
Oceania

112, 911, 999, 111, & 000

Oceania

These online and international resources may help you anywhere you are located. Looking for local support outside of the USA? Check out our support listings.

DV Support Abroad
Call toll-free worldwide
1-833-723-3833

I'm Alive Virtual Crisis Center
Live chat with trained volunteers

Crisis Connections
24/7 crisis support with interpretation in 155+ languages

Leave a Comment





Join the mailing list.

No spam and we will never share your information.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.