White Privilege is Real

I have been silent on my blog for nearly two weeks. I needed to retreat and find my words and voice to articulate my swirling feelings.  What is happening Ferguson is NOT okay.  I wonder how I can change people’s opinions by my posts on Facebook.  I had to delete comments when the topic went off the rails. As the member of the majority, I want to continue the conversation on our white privilege.  It is time to stop making excuses and sit with the discomfort.

I struggle with my part in perpetuating the systemic racism that is present in the corporate sector.  I used to help manage a call center, and I interviewed candidates on a regular basis.  One of the unofficial rules was to discount a candidate if they used “axe” instead of “ask”.  I felt that pit in my stomach because I knew that this practice was not right.  It discriminated against the Black candidates who applied for these position.  Ferguson brought this to the forefront of my thoughts again.  I realized that all of my former colleagues , including the Black supervisors, went along with this.  My past experience factors into the passion that I feel in speaking up now.  Back then I did not feel like I had the power to speak out.  In the words of Kelly Wickham, “When systemic poverty or sexism or racism is at play, call it out as unacceptable.” I need to put my white privilege to good use and call out when a situation is not acceptable.  That is what I am doing now.  This cycle will continue unless we call it out.  It is NOT okay to shoot an unarmed black young man.  Black lives matter.  Brown lives matter.  We all matter.  We all need the right to a criminal justice system that protects every one of us, regardless of race, color, ethnicity or religion.  How we can claim to be the land of the free and the home of the brave when we are enslaving our minority communities in jails and poverty? When the silent majority does not dare speak up for fear of upsetting the balance of power that is so heavily weighted in our direction?  We are perpetuating racism through our deafening silence and our refusal to have those honest conversations, not just online but in our homes, our schools, our churches and our communities.

About tranquilamama

Juggling parenthood, housework and working outside the home in the corporate world with my wonderful husband. Mom to 2 beautiful girls. PPD and PPA survivor. The title of my blog is after a phrase that was repeated to me in Spain during my semester abroad in college. It roughly translates to relax and calm down. Trying to tame my inner perfectionist and just be a good enough mom.
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6 Responses to White Privilege is Real

  1. John says:

    What gets me about Ferguson, and especially the coverage, is how QUICKLY people try to move to blaming the victim.

    My junior year in college, I ended up writing a thesis on ebonics & their place in corporate society. While writing this thesis, I was volunteering as a tutor at a school in inner-city Lancaster, PA – the study and the experience taught me “yeah, as a white male, I’ll always have it easier than most anyone else.”

    • Exactly John. This post was uncomfortable for me to write and talk about. As a younger employee, I did not feel like I had the power. I did have my white privilege. Now I speak up when I think that things are not right. I’m calling it out. My actions are what will show my true character.

  2. Rochelle says:

    It takes a lot of bravery to take a stance like you just did Jen. Good for you.

  3. Luke Ascherl says:

    There are many issues here the least of which is the media coverage. It exasperates the issue causing polarization. The greater issue and one that goes unmentioned is the distruction of American black culture. America through a series of laws have created a system of dependancy. If you provide people the means to not provide for them selves you create people who feel entitled wether they earn it or not. There was poverty and racism in the 50’s and 60’s but black culture was healthier because the fought for equality and the right to be in schools. I often wonder if you brought civil rights activists from that time to the present what would they think? Would they be happy?

    • Luke the problem is that we still do not understand that we are the problem, each one of us. Racism is much more insidious now than it was in the 50s and 60s because it’s not out in the open. It exists in the very structures that we have set up – government and education. Look at the lack of decent grocery stores in our most impoverished neighborhoods. Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better”. That is why I feel so strongly about this.

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