This Is What White Privilege Actually Is

iStockPhoto.com / MistikaS
iStockPhoto.com / MistikaS

“Black people don’t need to be convinced that anti-black racism, structural inequity, and skin privilege are facts; white people do… White people have to do the hard work of figuring out the best ways to educate themselves and each other about racism.” – Darnell L. Moore – senior editor at Mic and co-managing editor of The Feminist Wire

Given Name: Brittany Marie Holt

Year of Birth: 1990

Born in: Belleville, MI – Wayne County

2004 9th Grade, Algebra Class

We had a substitute teacher that day. He was understandably mispronouncing names during attendance because he didn’t know any of us yet.

Teacher: “Brittany R.?”

Brittany R: “It’s Britt-nay.

Teacher continues attendance.

Teacher: “Brittany H.?”

Me: “It’s Britt-nay.”

The whole class laughs at my joke.

I was unpunished.

How slickly

I could pluck her identity

from her hands and parade it around the class like a costume.

How criminally

I could take from her

and make it mine,

use it for my purposes,

then discard it when I’m done.

How very white of me to not only suffer no consequences,

but to also be rewarded with laughter

and the approval of my peers

when I was being an ugly bully

and humiliating another person.

Summer 2009

My friend and I robbed a local grocery store chain, and we did a poor job of it.

We stole make-up, hair products

a pregnancy test for me.

I was 18 years old.

(Because

all races

are capable of sexual promiscuity.)

We were caught by a secret shopper,

questioned, made to empty our purses,

give it all back, charged a fee,

and cuffed

put in the back of a cop car.

And with my magical white girl cloak,

I argued with the cop

that big chain corporations

didn’t need my struggling-in-college-money.

***

My biggest fear in the back of the cruiser that night

was my parents finding out. Not-

my parents finding out

that their child was dead.

Losing my life,

even going to jail,

never

even

occurred

to

me.

We were released, I drove myself home.

We went to court; my friend did roadside trash pick-up as community service.

Because of my conflicting work schedule – they worked around my work and school schedule – I had to instead do 8 hours of community service at a charitable second-hand store.

I credit this moment in my life with discovering my love of thrifting.

How lovely.

From 2012-2013

I lived in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn with my fiancé and I was a server so I frequently walked home 9 blocks from the subway in the AM hours.

I wore fear like a formality, like a mild precaution.

I wore it.

It did not wear me.

Because I knew that a crime against me, a white female,

would hold more true, more real, and more hard consequences,

(consequences at all,)

more consequences than a crime against a black person.

Despite how disturbing this is, this I know to be true.

And therefore a crime against me

was less likely, and my fear

less oppressive.

Today, July 8, 2016

I write this and enjoy the luxury of my greatest fear being of what people will think of me,

fear of embarrassment,

fear of my shame – exposed,

fear of owning a past and probably a present of utter ignorance.

Those are the consequences I am facing

and therefore my fear of these consequences is so,

so

insignificant. TC mark

More From Thought Catalog

blog comments powered by Disqus