I haven't researched this extensively, or know when it started, or how it started (this could well be the voice of privilege speaking now) I have just been asking myself some uncomfortable questions, and this is what immediately comes into view.
First of all, I noticed a numbness to even consider such an enquiry. I felt blocked to examine. So I breathed and breathed and just kept on asking those penetrating questions. At a time like this, I'm on fire for Truth.
The first thing I noticed was that as a white person I am exposed to a series of unseen, unconscious advantages in life.
PLEASE don't switch off at this point.
As a white person I am more likely to get a mortgage, a loan from the bank, hire-purchase, a place at university, better credit rating, less hassle from the police, acceptance for a travel visa, more welcome into a neighbourhood, more acceptance at the bar, store and hospital, more acceptance on public transport, in the streets, - well, just about everywhere actually.
I am more likely to get cosmetics that match my skin and hair type, I am more likely to get the food and clothing of my choice in the local stores. And what seems like inconsequential things - bandages and plasters are mostly white skin coloured.
When I first considered all this - a growing uneasiness churned in my stomach. For me, this is the presence of my ego stirring. And yet - it felt more than my ego. It felt huge - like a collective ego. An entitled ego. Quite possibly this programme called "White Privilege".
"The two-word term packs a double whammy that inspires pushback.
- The word white creates discomfort among those who are not used to being defined or described by their race. And
- the word privilege, especially for poor and rural white people, sounds like a word that doesn’t belong to them—like a word that suggests they have never struggled."
- Teaching Tolerance, Issue 60, Fall 2018 Cory Collins.
I am only touching the tip of the iceberg here. And I do not wish to further harm any people of colour by moving to raise what I consider to be a plus point to all this.
Because I have white privilege - I have the present-day ability to influence systemic decisions. I have (I'm going to switch to 'we' have) within our midst the power to grasp this privilege and use it to speak up and speak out when we witness people of colour being treated differently, hassled or being treated with bias views. We can raise uncomfortable conversations about racism, social justice and to ask where could I be harming or disrespecting people of colour, and seeing life through a biased view?
Because of Amazonia raging through my heart at this time, my enquiry filtered towards the climate crisis that is becoming by the day a worldwide global emergency.
I have found myself asking.
Who are making the decisions? Who has built that system? Who keeps it going? Who is operating the Death Machine?
I think we all know the answer to these questions.
I don't know for sure - but I believe this elusive 1% - is mostly, if not exclusively white.
This makes my white blood boil, but we know in our hearts, this is not the direction to head.
With my privilege - I could step through the advantageous open doors, accept the prestigious invitations, lead with urgency and power, inform, educate, inspire, welcome and elevate my brothers and sisters of colour to unite in our one common cause.
To become a people who can live in harmony, equality and to gather together as a tribe who could work together to make sure there is some kind of earth left for our children to inherit.
I also feel strongly that we must also work together, all nations, all cultures to leave behind a charter of where we went so horribly wrong.
White Privilege will be top of the list - and that is not my privilege talking.