An example of White Privilege

This one is going to be short.

Recently in a discussion about Black Lives Matter and the civil unrest …

(I won’t call them riots, because they have a purpose and a message. And even though there are some that take the opportunity to loot and cause destruction, the foundation of these protests is justice and equity in the power structure of our country.)

a friend made the remark,

NOTE: When I say friend, I mean FRIEND. a person I love and deeply respect. I cherish our friendship and believe him to be a good and godly man, servant of Christ, Pastor of the Church, a man to be emulated in his words and deeds. Which is also why it is extremely important to offer a loving correction to his mistaken perception and cultural bias. My friend has an adopted daughter who is black, and and a son who is a police officer, so he has a vested interest in this cultural struggle.

“The real problem is black on black violence, look at Chicago.”

I missed the opportunity to correct that idea because my mind was focused on something else entirely. But it has bothered me that I did miss it.

This comment is an example of White Privilege for 3 reasons. And I know this will sound harsh and judgmental, but until we (white people) can begin to see that the comments we (white people) hear every day and accept without question are “racist”, we cannot make any progress in addressing this very serious evil amongst us.

First: The person making the comment was a white male in his 70’s who lives in a very nice house, in a very white town in Iowa, in a very safe white neighborhood. That is the privilege in which many white people find themselves. Safe and secure in their enclaves where they have no fear of dialing 911 because they know the police will respond swiftly to any trouble they may face.

Second: He presumed to have the right to look at the black community in Chicago, from the safety of his home, and judge and criticize “them.” It is a subtle way of blaming black Americans for the problems they face. It is founded in ignorance, which is in itself a privilege of whites in America.

Third: This comment is intended to absolve the speaker of any responsibility for the mess in which we find ourselves today. It is the privilege of the group in power to wash their hands of any wrongdoing because they don’t believe that they personally have had any part in causing the problem, and can point to some concrete evidence of their lack of complicity.

I write this with the intent of helping to educate friends and strangers alike to the realities of White Privilege to which we are blind. That blindness is way too often due to miscomprehension, which I freely admit is one of my own failings. But in Christ-like love for my neighbor, I will not allow that miscomprehension to be willful, and strive to do my best to help root out that miscomprehension in others.


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