White privilege is real. Stop acting like it’s not

Staff+Illustrator+Melissa+Joseph
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White privilege is real. Stop acting like it’s not

Staff Illustrator Melissa Joseph

Staff Illustrator Melissa Joseph

Staff Illustrator Melissa Joseph

Staff Illustrator Melissa Joseph

Rachael Bayuk

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I am white. This is a fact that can’t be changed or hidden. But, I have grown up in a world where this identity is never societally judged or questioned. White privilege is not myth. Stop saying it is.

Stop bringing up how hard you had it as a kid. Stop saying you were poor. Stop naming every bad thing that has ever happened to you in defense of yourself. White privilege is pervasive. The next step is to dismantle it. If you really believe it doesn’t exist, you shouldn’t have any problems when it goes away.

While we are working on rooting out the racist structures that hold this society up, we damn well better let people who’s voices have been drowned out speak. This means we stop inserting ourselves into conversations we shouldn’t be apart of. We have no say about what is and is not offensive to a minority group.

If you want to say something like: “The Redskins’ name isn’t even offensive! Get over it,” stop and think about how ignorant you’ll sound. We oppressed an entire population, slaughtered them, broke treaties and defiled their lands. Who the f*ck are we to tell them what isn’t offensive?

Racism is so deeply ingrained in our society that people feel they can disregard the opinions of the only group who should have a say in an argument.

Let’s keep going.

If you want to say something like: “I don’t know why I can’t have those hair braids, I like them,” stop. Think about how privileged this sounds. Why should you get to wear a style and be complimented on it, while a black woman who does it can be labeled as “ghetto” or see her job prospects damaged just from wearing the braids that are part of her culture?

We don’t get to pick and choose what’s okay and what isn’t. That’s what colonialism has been doing for centuries-picking and choosing all the parts white, dominant culture likes and discarding the rest. Well, we should stick to box tea and lederhosen and stop injecting ourselves into places we don’t belong.

Our society has adopted celebrations from Mexican culture only to gentrify them. We mash them up beyond recognition until all they become are excuses to drink and wear “funny” (racist) costumes. There is not a single thing funny about racism. The systematic oppression and crude depictions of people of color is unacceptable.

We can’t allow it anymore. If you’re staying quiet, you’re compliant in this system. If you just “don’t care for politics,” you are part of the problem. People’s livelihoods are based around political decisions. Stop and think about how privileged you are to be able to turn off the TV and forget about the communities plagued by systematic violence.

Think about how when you get pulled over, the only thing on your mind is how much of an inconvenience a ticket would be. Think about how you are called quirky for dressing in cultural fashion, but the people who the culture belongs to are called derogatory slurs. Think about how they are told to forget their ancestors and become a member of a society who treats them like they don’t matter.

Allies have to step up against this injustice. We have to be real. Being an ally to POC isn’t just about being friends and having a good time. Being an ally is being willing to fight along side them for the fair treatment they have not been afforded. Being an ally is being willing to be shot with pepper balls at rallies. Being an ally is using this privilege to make a change and not demanding recognition for it.

Let’s stop saying things aren’t fair, or they are racist when we aren’t invited to something. Our voices have rung through these mountains for far too long. It’s time we hold the megaphone up for the people who need to be heard.

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