The Abuse of White Privilege

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The Unending Black Experience #12

White Privilege

No one seems to care what you think!
Your ideas are immediately dismissed.
Just when you think no one is listening,
Someone repeats your idea.
The standing ovation is deafening,
I wonder, “Did anyone hear me?”

This happens to everyone.
For black people, it is LIFE!
This Failure to listen to “the disadvantaged” is a societal norm.

Heck, black people don’t even listen to each other.
Many don’t support each other,
Partly explaining our lack of social capital.

Failure to listen breathes anger and resentment
Unfortunately, too many in dominant groups
With loads of social capital exploit and manipulate
Then destroy the lives of black people,
Other minorities, weaker cultures and nations
They bully, scapegoat and instill fear
Now in a fancy nuanced pattern
An invisible pattern of abuse aimed at groups without social capital
Repeated in a variety of contexts over many generations
Continuing unabated into the future
White privilege is supreme


Without White Privilege

I went sailing in the British Virgin Islands with friends (they are sailors) in the fall a few years ago. In a chartered a Catamaran, each day we sailed to remote islands in the BVI having nothing but fun and laughter. It was truly a memorable experience. We spent one lovely week basking in tranquility, the beautiful ocean sunsets and the company of good people — seven beautiful souls, two of whom are dear and treasured friends.

Our last adventure was on the island of Jost Van Dyke. On this tiny island in a remote section of the BVI, we met a young man, a kid—he had that deer in the headlights look of fear. Being the only white person on this tiny island of black people, where everyone knows your name and your business, was not what he expected.—He was there to become a scuba diver instructor (if I recall correctly).

He was very cute with his (I think) blonde dreadlocks — I bet an attempt on his part to fit in. Unfortunately, I don’t think there were many dreadlocks — I don’t recall seeing any except him. He seemed to gravitate to me— we shared a role not often shared back in the US, we were both minorities in our groups.

I was the only black person but our surroundings (context) different dramatically. I had no fear and felt completely at home. While many in the group were new to me, we quickly embraced the concept of fun and laughter making us closer.

He, on the hand, was without White Privilege. He was no longer the Golden Boy. I don’t think he knew many black people, if any. I suspect his fear stemmed from stereotypes infused by the media back home in the US. Based on our conversation, the communities on this island were just as curious about him as he was fearful of them.

I left the island knowing he would be just fine! What an opportunity! Getting to know another culture without carrying the big stick. If he leaned back, observed and listened he may see the many communities, the poverty and the communities’ resilience. I sensed these people would not let him leave with any other impression.

My next story comes from an acquaintance who like the young man above found himself transiently without his white privilege. Thank you for allowing me to share your story. He and his daughter were shopping at Home Depot when he sensed something off, starting looking around then noticed – They were only the two white people in this “HUGE” Home Depot Store. The funny sensation steadily grew to a discomfort that was relieved the moment he left the store.
I asked him if he was threatened or did someone make him feel uncomfortable. Nothing of that nature happened. He just felt uncomfortable. He then thought it must suck to feel that way all the time.

For him, the Black Experience was a growing discomfort which never subsides. Kudos for listening as well as having insight into your culture

Have you ever been in a situation where you were visibly different?


Unending List of The Black Experience -Updated 04/08/2013