May 24, 2020. Was just another day of us trying to get ahead of the COVID curve. The media was full of all sorts of hype and just like all the days before it the sunset like it always did. Who knew that in a mere 24 hours the world as we knew it would change in 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Not since the gunshot of November 22, 1963 have we had such a public execution that would haunt the dreams of all those that it would affect.
My thoughts went to this term of white privilege and Black Lives Matter. I will admit that at first when I heard the term I was insistent that All Lives Matter. Of course my life mattered. But lumping my struggle into theirs showed me just how narrow minded and ignorant my thinking truly was. My family wasn’t rich. Really though whose was? Only 10% of the population have so much wealth that they don’t know what to do with. Guess where they got it all from (not the topic but you get the point). So hearing this term white privilege made me upset but that is because I truly didn’t understand what this movement was about.
Just imagine you are walking home from school with two of your best friends. One white, one black. Your laughter can be heard from blocks away as you hopscotch down the sidewalk holding hands and singing songs. When all of a sudden out of nowhere men show up and pour gasoline over your friend who was black and light her on fire. To you they let off with a warning telling you to stick to your own kind. You look into the eyes of your burning friend to shocked to comprehend what is happening. People run from their houses with blankets to cover her and roll her on the ground. Where once songs from the heaven’s could be heard now tortured, anguished screams that wake up the dead. Haunting their ancestors to the point will rest will never be the case. Life is no longer a beautiful journey but a game of catch and mouse. I wonder who they will catch next. Your friend will live scared from head to toe and will never trust another human. Her life, her youth, her essence destroyed before she could even come of age. Who knows who she was destined to be. Those hands could have possessed the ability to find a cure for a virus or disease. Maybe even COVID. But somehow after all this time evil still runs our streets.
When I first heard this term privilege I thought, oh that’s not me. They don’t need my help in this movement. I support them that should be enough. More to that I divulged myself into their culture and history by reading biographies of those throughout time. The stories that were white washed out of our teachings. Maybe privilege was something forced upon us. I know I don’t feel like my life is that of such. But that is because my life has been a normal existence. I was free to come and go as I pleased, stay out past curfew and even love whoever I chose.
I remember when I heard the protests were coming to Okotoks I thought, Oh they don’t need me. Who cares if some white woman is in attendance anyways. Let me just shine my white privilege so it glows in the dark. I had a choice. I could go and stand beside my brothers and sisters of colour and support them or I could sit in my home under the security blanket of COVID. I basically spat on their faces and said your doing a good job keep going. NOTHING will ever change unless we challenge our privileged white brains to do so. I am not trying to be mean but I am trying to get you to take off the blinders that were put there by our forefathers. Things are not equal. Life is not equal!! It seems sometimes that we have become hell on Earth. Why do you want to hide those that are content on ruining the lives of others?
My favourite argument is, you can’t blame me for what they did long ago. Yes true but you are still harbouring the same ill will and feelings that they did. Just because you can’t express yourself freely doesn’t mean you aren’t harbouring hate. Dig deep inside yourself and tell me why you are offended by the POC in your community. Are these feeling factual or did you just allow the toxic minds of those before us pollute your being. Maybe it is because we are ashamed of our own narrow minded thinking that wants to make it all about us. My white privilege has nothing to do with the roof over my head, the food on my table, the clothes on my back or the money we bring in. In fact before I go on let’s define privilege first! Privilege is defined as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. Read it again. Read it one more time and now tell me if you don’t feel privileged. My skin colour has given me a special right, advantage and immunity. Brock Turner raped a girl behind a dumpster and was caught and served 3 months. And then you have Vandyke Perry who served 11 years for a rape he never committed. The difference. The colour of their skin. When Perry demanded a DNA test. He has since been released.
Privilege means that your word is taken into accountability because you look honourable? Because somehow your outward appearance is any indication of who you are on the inside. How many men sit behind bars while the real evil works behind the scenes. When somebody is set up to fail and then fails well we are the only ones left to blame. So yes slavery ended in 1865. The fear of being beat, raped, hung and hunted never did. So ask yourself this, if you were alive during slavery who were you? What side were you on? Forget your colour, ask yourself if you were alive back then what did you stand for? Who did you stand for? I have asked myself this many times. There is so much fear when it comes to taking a stand even when you don’t have the legs to hold you. Ask yourself what would you do if you saw a man, woman or child receiving a hundred lashes for stealing food to provide for their family. How would you feel watching your owner rape your wife? your daughter’s? your mother? You need to sit there and watch each lash ring into the night, all 100 of them. The sick grotesque smile of the man issuing the blows. I remember reading about Soljourner Truth who was a given her freedom and went on to try and educate the masses. Her biggest tormenter was the owner’s wife. She was even known to sodomize her slaves out of some sick twisted pleasure.
So my white privilege friends please tell me again how we don’t have immunity, advantage or special privilege? It has been in our blood since we travelled here by boat. We even white washed over history and only included the stories we wanted to include. The one’s that weren’t offensive or made us feel bad. How humble are we to learn now that our greatest leaders were some of the greatest tyrants of our time. We hold our head in shame and lash out that all lives matter trying to alleviate our guilt. At least that is what I did. I know my life matters. I see it in the way I transition through my day to day. What I understand now is that Black Lives need to matter too. At least to the same level playing field that ours does.