Believe it or not, I’m glad that things are so racially tense right now. It means that those of us who have been lucky enough to feel comfortable are being forced to look at the awkward bits of life. We can no longer rest as easy in our white privilege. We’re forced to walk in other people’s shoes, at least for brief periods of time.
Have you ever thought about what it might feel like to never feel safe, ever? I mean, I have issues due to past trauma that cause me to feel unsafe much of the time. But even then, I can usually find a place where I can shut the door and make all the monsters go away. I can pull the blankets over my head and rest. I know I can find an oasis somewhere, if I desperately need one. Many people are not that lucky.
Once again, I’ve found a past blog post of mine that deals with this very subject. I hope you’ll read it. It’s entitled, “Be safe going home.”
Let me know what you think.
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Unless you have been sound asleep for the past few weeks, you’ve probably visited the subjects of race and unearned white privilege a time or two. I know I have. Sometimes it has made me uncomfortable. But it’s necessary.
It’s so easy for white people like me to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that these issues do not exist, because the entire American system is designed for us to be able to do so. It’s easy. It comes naturally. We can’t wait for things to get back to “normal”, and completely overlook the fact that our normal is pretty darned awful for a lot of people. This it needs to change.
So I am doing my best to keep an open mind and educate myself about these issues. That reminded me that I once attended a very enlightening seminar that I then promptly and comfortably forgot all about. Fortunately, I blogged about it.
It did me good to read it again. I hope you will do so as well. The post is entitled, “I’m So Freakin’ White.”
I like it when one of my old posts becomes relevant once again. And this one should remain relevant even if it makes us squirm a bit. Join me. Read it. Tell me what you think.
I’m thrilled to say that no one has ever broken into my house. There are several reasons for this. First, of course, is the loyal presence of my ever-vigilant barking dogs. I have this theory that thieves are lazy and paranoid, so if they’re going to rob someone, they’d much rather go next door to the house that has no noisy and potentially vicious pets.
Second, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I can rely on my white privilege. I’ve never lived in the ‘hood. Granted, I’m usually right next door to it, but aside from the drug dealer two doors down, I have good neighbors who watch out for each other, and none of us are particularly desperate. In that way, I’ve been lucky.
But the main reason I’ve been spared a criminal invasion, I think, is that a quick peek into any of my windows would tell all but the most idiotic of criminals that I don’t own anything worth stealing. Why would anyone risk jail time over mismatched furniture that I’ve mostly picked up off the street? And I don’t have a TV or a stereo system. Truth be told, I don’t even own a couch. Aside from sentimental value, I doubt I could get more than 150 bucks at a yard sale for every single thing I own. If you really crave my 30 year old, dented and rusty pots and pans, just ask me for them.
One thing I do find annoying, though, is that stuff gets snatched off my front porch all the time. I’m hesitant to get packages, because there’s a car that actually follows the Fed Ex truck and the USPS truck and the driver helps himself to whatever they leave behind. (The cops know about it. They’ve even been sent pictures of the vehicle, for all the good that has done.) I’ve also been relieved of an old rusty lawn chair and a plant stand. One time, in a self-defense for women class, they suggested we get some old beat up muddy work boots and put them on the front porch to create the illusion that a man was home. Well, I did that, and even the boots got stolen. Sheesh.
But for the most part, my humble abode screams, “Nothin’ to steal here. Move along.” In Florida, on more than one occasion, I was accused of being white trash, despite my college degrees. I’d like to be one of those people with matching furniture and some sense of interior design, but I seem to have been born of the utilitarian school of home décor. And that’s just the way I like it.