International Blog Against Racism Week

This week is International Blog Against Racism Week and I spent yesterday reading about racism, but not writing anything because I felt like I didn’t have anything to add to the conversation. After all, as a white person, race doesn’t affect me.

Except that’s completely false. Race affects me every day.

  • When I go to a store, I don’t have to worry that someone might think I’m shoplifting.
  • When someone asks me where I’m from, it’s not code for “what race are you?”
  • When I want a cab, I can get one.
  • When I ride the subway, the police won’t check my bag.
  • No one is surprised that I am literate.

These are some of the simple, invisible ways my race affects me and though none of them does me harm, each item is a privilege that I gain by the pallor of my skin. For all that the Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” the reality is that we are still living in an Orwellian world were “some…are more equal than others.”

Recommended reading: Unpacking the Knapsack of Privelege (.pdf)

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8 thoughts on “International Blog Against Racism Week”

  1. My bags get checked every month at subway stations and I am as white as they come. I also get followed around some stores by security guards if I am dressed down. And because I did not graduate from high school or go to college, people ARE surprised I’m literate. =)

    Class has as much to do with this as race. Speaking as someone who came from extreme poverty. I experienced many of the same prejudices as a child. It didn’t matter what color my skin was. I was poor and that’s all anyone saw. And being poor makes you a target.

    1. I don’t deny that class discrimination exists, but that does not alleviate the biases that someone of color faces. To put another way, if your hand gets slammed in a door, it doesn’t hurt any less when mine does, too.

  2. I was talking to a black woman about 6 months ago, who said she had to think about the size of her handbag every time she left the house to go shopping. I hadn’t previously thought about that being an issue.

  3. Mary,

    Nicely worded. Truth is, class or not, dressed down or not, I absolutely consider my race again and again and again throughout the day, in basically every interaction I have. It would be nice not to, but then again it’s a part of how I function successfully in this world.

    Colleen,

    You didn’t graduate from high school? Clear evidence that high school is overrated, considering that you’re one of the smartest, sharpest people I know…

  4. Hi David!

    How’s Scotland treating you??? =)

    No, I dropped out of high school to get a job to help my parents pay the rent. So did my brothers. I don’t really feel like I missed anything, though. High school is kind of overrated if you already have a brain in your head. =)

  5. Colleen,

    We really have to catch up. Scotland would be treating me fine, I’m sure, if I were there. I’m not, though! Instead, I’m happily in Western MA, out in the woods, with a happy family!

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