White privilege is an idea and a term that has amassed newfound esteem among well-known online publications, social media circles, and even political news programs. It has been a point of discussion inside the walls of Black America for decades, centuries perhaps. Frustration grows in the minds of Latino men and women, whose skin may seem white but, due to the dominant ancestry in their blood, lack this birthright. I’d even argue, from my observation, that it’s even been a point of envy for the Asian and Arab communities in America.
Truth be told, we are all envious of the privileges white people have to some degree. We may not want to admit it, but you’d be lying if you’ve said otherwise. I’d also call you out as a liar if you haven’t thought about what it would be like to be white or, at least, what it would be like to have white privilege.
I ask myself this question, occasionally; examining the areas of my life that would be affected. I know my behavior, my thoughts, my outlook — everything would dramatically change.
Education and Behavior
I’ve documented my hellacious experience with New York City’s public school system before. I don’t think I need to get too deep into it again. All you have to know is that I scored a 740 on my SAT exam. Enough said.
I’m a listener. I love to hear people talk, especially white people. Why? I believe that most white people display flawless elocution in a conversation. Some are so good, it’s scary. The ability to articulate thoughts and ideas or express emotion is vital in communication, which I believe ultimately affects behavior. I feel that it’s crucial in resolving arguments in a peaceful manner, as opposed to a violent confrontation.
If I were white I wouldn’t succumb to frustration like an angry child who doesn’t know how to communicate their thoughts and feelings. I’d be tactful and graceful due to my education, which would have endowed me with an enormous vocabulary.
Interaction with the Police
“Someday I’m going to be walking down the streets minding my own business… and BAM! I’m going to be shot by some pig who’s going to swear it was a mistake. I accept that as a part of my destiny,” said Paco, a character from the 1977 film adaptation of Miguel Piñero’s play Short Eyes.
Through the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown we were reminded that this can still be our fate. That piece of dialogue was meant to portray a Latino’s bleak perspective on his relationship with the police in the 1970s. The brutal realism of those words continues to fearlessly echo inside the terrorized men, women, and children who are still harassed and afraid of the police today.
Could I die at the hands of the police? Statistically, the numbers say yes. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 2,151 whites were shot by police compared to 1,130 blacks from 1999 to 2011. The numbers appear to contradict my point, until you look closer. In America, whites make up 63 percent of the population and blacks make up 12 percent, which means, based on percentages, I’d be safer around cops if I were white.
Would I Feel Guilty About My White Privilege?
Not if I were white. How could I possibly feel bad about something I never knew I had?
If I were white, I’d be a complete asshole:
If I had a sympathetic heart, perhaps I’d have compassion for non-whites and their struggle but, to put it bluntly, I have my own shit to deal with. Living in New York — whether you’re black, white, or in between — is difficult. So, OK, I’m sorry that I’m moving into the neighborhood you, your parents, and grandparents have inhabited for…what? Has it only been a few decades? You should be ecstatic that white people are moving into your neighborhood. (Or is it still “The Hood?”) We’re bringing awesome businesses and fantastic events to these dirty, archaic neighborhoods you won’t be calling home anymore.
By the way, I find it completely offensive when you use the term ‘gentrification.’ There is no such thing. OK, maybe there is. But you people are making it seem worse than what it really is, like slavery. It’s not that bad…”
All Jokes Aside: What If I Were White?
If I were white, I’d only be white because we continue to perpetuate the ridiculous necessity to label and segregate one another. Social privileges associated with the racial paradigm exist only because we allow them to exist. Are we humans really so perceptually primitive that we allow something as frivolous as skin color to dictate the physical and mental dynamics of our lives, including our roles in society? If so, we’ll never be united.