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What It Is Like? To be White?

In lieu of the violence that befell Jacob Blake, my mind races yet again. Thoughts on racism, pain, and anger. But actually I have specific questions.

What is it like? To live life when you never worry about an arrest becoming a murder-based on your skin tone?

What’s it like to choose to care about lives? Is it like watching TV? You only tune for a bit...until your uncomfortable? Then you move on? Does it feel like completing a TV binge? Oh wait, that would imply you stick around for our truth. This doesn’t happen.

What is it like when you see crimes like Jacob Blake? Does his Black skin automatically mean the police were right? He should’ve complied? Did you blame him even though he tried to stop a fight? Do you see yourselves in the cops just as Black people see them themselves in Black victims?

I wonder if you care about us because when I look at my grandma, I know we aren’t past anything. Do you think we solved racism because we’re post the Civil Rights Movement? Don’t let the purposeful black and white photos of the era fool you. But here we are…still.

What does white supremacy feel like? Does it feel like normalcy? Comfort in your privilege? It is being a 17-year-old white shooter that took the lives of protesters? Is it committing crimes and enjoying the news humanizing you? Does it feel good when you see Black victims being called criminals after we’re slain by the police?

Is white supremacy easy as breathing? Where you can access everything and you dictate what’s success. Where anything that doesn’t center you is wrong? Where if you’re not centered things are broken? Where if you don’t see white faces you feel it’s a natural disaster?

What is it like to be white? Do the littlest of actions of supporting the marginalized feel monumental? Even though it’s barely a drop in the bucket? How much does it infuriate you when you’re told you do little for marginalized lives? Despite how true that is?

How does it feel? To tell Black people they matter at work but you care nothing for them in real life? Where you don’t register our faces in the street? Is it conditioned in you where if you don’t see white skin it means it doesn’t matter?

What’s it like? To think it’s enough to be the life partner to a Black person? Yet never calling out your family for their racism? Never actually dismantling your our privilege? Does it feel safe like having one Black friend but knowing full well you will never support Black liberation? Would you give away every single privilege you have?

I’m sure you’ll just tune out from the news. After all life gives you that. Does your whiteness feel like obliviousness? Do you assume you’re one of the good ones? When socially and in terms of leveling equity for all…you aren’t?

I would ask more questions but that would be a waste of time. All the questions I asked have been posed before. Black people will protest, stand for ourselves, and riot because that’s the only time your whiteness registers our existence.

Ah silly me, haha. Being white also means registering property damage instead of the humanity of Black people.

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