I realize that telling white people to check their privilege has been done to death recently, but clearly it hasn’t been done enough. Just this morning, I saw yet another social media status update wherein someone claims to be “sick of protesters.”
Spoiler alert: It was written by a white man. The ten people who “liked” this status? All white men. Yes, I checked.
Our country is set up to benefit white men. It has always been set up to benefit white men. Those “inalienable rights” in the Declaration of Independence did not apply to people of color. Slavery was alive and well in those days, and just because it has been abolished now, does not mean things are equitable in this country. If you get to say you are “sick of protesters,” presumably because it’s uncomfortable for you to confront the reality of systemic racism, you are steeped in privilege. The people doing the protesting don’t get to be sick of it – they don’t get to fire off an annoyed status update, or turn off the TV, or click on a different article. Why? The reality that they are protesting affects their everyday life.
Consider this next time you want to complain about protesters. Ask yourself, ”Would I want to trade places with a person of color?” Then do some Googling. Read up on systemic racism, on the incarceration rate of black men, on the suspension rate of black boys in our schools. Ask yourself again: “Would you want to trade places with a person of color?
I bet you wouldn’t.
White women, you are not off the hook. If you also find yourself “sick of protesters,” do everything I just suggested to your male counterparts. Then do it again, this time replacing stats for black men with stats for black women. If you consider yourself a feminist, ask yourself if you fight for issues facing women of color. If you consider yourself a woke feminist, ask yourself if you drown out the voices of POC and try to speak for them, instead of to other white people.
That is our role in all of this, my fellow white Americans. To become educated on why people are protesting, and then help other white people get educated as well. We should speak to each other, not for people of color.
That’s why I’ll keep writing “check your privilege” on status updates written by white people who are “sick of protestors.” It’s my role.