Since May, I’ve committed to doing the work to become a better ally.
I want to share this journey with you, not to get a couple of pats on the back, but to also inspire white people to do the work. The work should not have stopped at posting about Black Lives Matter or your favorite black influencers. It is a constant learning curve – messing up along the way, reminding yourself that you committed to putting in the work, etc. etc. ETC.
While race has always caused tension and issues, 2020 has been really, really crazy in terms of the problems in America. Since May, the division in our country is very apparent, now more than ever. It’s sad. Really sad. There’s people who truly want change, and there’s others that just want to cause mayhem. And that is on BOTH sides.
I also feel the need to discuss that I still am not down with hate towards the police. Not now, not ever. Sure, I am vocal about supporting the black community (and not only when it comes to police brutality), but I also support the police. The actions of people over the weekend after two LA cops were ambushed have left me sick, and everyone who has questioned all cops, should do some deep reflecting. Being a police officer is a dangerous job. They run towards danger while we run away. I don’t think we give the cops who love being cops and love serving their communities enough respect. And that is what I have to say about that.
But another thing I really want to talk about is what I’m learning about privilege.
Privilege comes with such a negative connotation. I think a lot of white people (I used to include myself in this bucket) get offended when their privilege comes into play. But let’s wake up…PRIVILEGE IS VERY REAL.
what do i think privilege is?
To me, privilege is part of my every day life.
When I walk down the street, I’m probably only judged by the outfit I’m wearing or what my hair looks like. Not because of the color of my skin.
It’s a fact that I get paid more than a black influencer with a similar followings and engagements. Just look at this Instagram.
When I walk into a store, no one questions what I’m doing in there.
If I speak up or out, I’m seen as strong and brave (as opposed to rude or angry).
Because I’m white, I’m given more opportunities, respect, and energy. Generally speaking, society is set up to make white people feel like themselves without very little thought about it. Those are facts. I don’t believe there is an argument against privilege.
how can we use it to create change?
I started looking at privilege as an opportunity. Here are 4 things I think about when trying to create change using my privilege.
Once I fully realized that I’m privileged as HELL, I started learning what people who lack that “normal” privilege encounter: at work, at school, in their communities. Next, I looked for opportunities to speak up and act against the things I don’t think are right. Asking questions, challenging others to also self-reflect, and using my platform are a few of the ways I’m trying to use my privilege.
And finally, there’s also something I’m still continuing to learn. I’m learning to be more thoughtful about speaking “on behalf” (for lack of a better term) of the black community. I’m not black, I don’t go through what a lot of the black community goes through. So even when my intentions are to fully support the community, sometimes it can come across as centering myself instead of those whom I’m trying to be an ally (which goes back to the whole “you can never truly be an ally, it’s something you just need to continue working towards”). Instead of trying to become and expert, I’ll take a step back and take their lead while using my every day privilege to support.