“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.
I could pluck her identity
from her hands and parade it around the class like a costume.
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.
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.
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,
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,
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.
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
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,