What to do with White Privilege

With great power comes great responsibility…

Photo by munshots on Unsplash

Racial discrimination and oppression was originally developed to support a desire for cheap labor in Europe. That tradition was deepened in the newly formed United States, which is where we have the first historical counts of the breed of racism we see woven throughout American culture today.

Racism is essentially a system for one race to have an advantage over another. If you’re the one with the advantage, it’s up to you to do whatever it takes to even the playing field. How could it not be?

American capitalism was designed to support that agenda from its inception. It remains largely the same today. Our education, banking, and healthcare systems also support that agenda. As do our housing development programs, voting districts, elections, and all the other services promised to all Americans in “the pursuit of happiness”. As it turns out, many conditions apply.

The “War on Drugs” is Slavery 2.0. And this time, they don’t just get slaves, they get to make a profit while they do it. Our prisons are diabolical systems for free slave labor, exponential profits, and the systematic destruction of the lives of black families and even lower-income whites.

If you are ever in doubt, just remember that racism is a system of power.
It’s that simple.

All the hatred is fear and all the fear is about the threat of losing power in one form or another.

You may have honestly earned your wealth or position, but you certainly didn’t earn your white privilege.

So what will you do with the responsibility of the power you’ve been given?

Do nothing, and you’re spitting in the faces of those that would do something positive with it.

Our priorities are always made apparent in our behavior.

This isn’t about George Floyd. It’s not an isolated incident, it’s a pattern.
It’s ingrained in American culture.

It’s true that many white people have honestly earned their wealth or position. But none of them did anything to earn their white privilege.

Our priorities are always made apparent in our behavior.

Here are some suggestions for welding the power of White Privilege to benefit People of Color.

1) Educate Yourself
* When you care a lot about something, you study it. Like at university.
* Try to become an expert. The journey is important. Listen and study.

2) Shine the Spotlight
* POC fight to focus the spotlight on important racial issues all day long.
* You should keep your focus on it too. If you care, you will be happy to do it.

3) Support POC Businesses
* When you shop, make a point to patronize POC owned businesses.
* The point isn’t that it’s easier, it probably isn’t. The point is that it matters.

4) Dive In
* Deliberately immerse yourself in the cause. Get uncomfortable.
* Commit to empathizing more deeply than you’ve ever allowed yourself before.

5) Make it Personal
* Lean in and allow yourself to feel it all, deeply. Especially when it feels most uncomfortable.
* As if it were your own family. Make it your cause, not someone else’s.

6) Be a Resource
* If you have a platform of influence, use it to give POCs a voice.
* Dedicate yourself to leveraging whatever status and resources you have for the cause.

7) Be Grateful for the Privilege
* Don’t you dare wish your privilege away. That’s disrespectful to those that don’t have it.
* Live every day in gratitude for the privileges you have, and steward them wisely.

8) Stop Saying Everything is going to be Ok
* That is precisely the perspective that has resulted in devastating climate change, reoccurring economic crashes, and the highest rates of murder, mass shootings, and incarcerated people of any other country in the world.

* If everything that is happening today feels ok to you, focus on #1, #5, and #8.

As long as protests, politically driven awards speeches, or taking a knee during the National Anthem is more uncomfortable and offensive than the racist policy and culture that plagues this nation, we will remain divided.

The same goes for all the public holidays, history books, and statues of racists that are glorified in our society. There’s a reason Germany isn’t still covered in Swastikas. Is it really that difficult to understand the importance of this need?

Why, in the year 2020, is an organization like Black Lives Matter such a needed and important organization? We are nowhere near the dream the Martin Luther King, Jr. offered us.

“I want future generations to look back at us and say, ‘look how hard they tried,’ not, ‘look how blind they were’”.

Jaqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen

What does “good whiteness” look like? I don’t think we know yet. But I do think we know who’s responsible for figuring it out and doing the work to deconstruct the current culture and uphold a new one.

Be the human you think everyone else should be.

It’s important to remember that we aren’t trying to Make America Great Again.

When it comes to racism, there was never anything great about this country.

Right now, we have to become something this country has never been.

United.

I posted an IGTV about this as well. Feel free to join the conversation.

This might be the single best resource I’ve come across lately on the issue of whiteness, white privilege, and the history of institutionalized racism.

Check out this epic 14 episode podcast series by Scene on Radio.

To deep your perspective on the magnitude of white privilege and racism entrenched in our global culture, watch The Doll Test.

Strategist & Philanthropist | Space + Environment + Indigenous Wisdom

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