I have been white for 22 years and 4 months and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to hate myself for that or be grateful for it.
I fear that even if I say, “I was raised to not see color,” as I was, I will still be called naïve, ignorant, blind to the intrinsic racism in society. I can’t tell my best friend that I’m offended by her Tumblr posts and reblogs about how white women might say they feel ugly but it’s nothing compared to the black woman’s pain of ‘feeling ugly’ in a society that says black skin is not beautiful, because then that makes me racist or ignorant or blind to my own white privilege. Am I not allowed to feel pain or feel ugly despite that I am white?
Am I not allowed to feel offended that my black coworker tweets daily about how stupid white girls are?
Is it silly of me to recycle the defense that I shouldn’t be held responsible for things my ancestors (didn’t) do? What am I supposed to do? Until middle school I was raised in a third world country where my skin did not bring me friends but rather the hisses of grown men on the streets, and police teams scouring my home to find the men climbing up my balcony.
I understand my privilege, but am I supposed to be thankful for it or hate it? According to the media, I’m supposed to keep quiet because I am white and I don’t know pain. Am I supposed to hate myself too, the way you hate me? Am I supposed to pray that God will make me another skin tone so that I can be seen as a person with feelings and thoughts and words that deserve to be heard?
Are the white privilege posts supposed to make me feel guilty? I feel no guilt for something I did not do. Why do you hate me? What am I supposed to do?
I am white. I cannot change that. I am female. White girls are fun to make fun of, but does it never go too far? At what point am I considered a human again, someone who is allowed to feel offended for being mocked for my skin tone?
Do you feel justified that I am uncomfortable in my own skin? “Now you know how we feel.” Is that the solution to the problem? To suffer the consequences of something I cannot control? I cannot change my skin tone. I cannot change the past of America. How can I change the future if we are only moving backwards? What will it take for me to be a person worthy of feelings in your eyes? Is this my white privilege whining?
I must be naïve, ignorant, blind. I can have no feelings. I am white.