by William Skink
My wife and I were talking about our whiteness the other day. She had just watched the video of a New York Karen flipping her shit because a black man had the temerity to approach and inform her that her dog needed to be on a leash.
When Karen called 911 she knew exactly what she was doing. Telling emergency services she was being threatened by an AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN could have been fatal for the man, but thankfully he had the good sense to film his interaction with his phone. If it wasn’t for the ubiquitous presence of cameras on phones, the chance of this man being arrested and/or killed by law enforcement would have been much greater.
While I might be critical of being politically correct and the cancel culture that has emerged in recent years, I will never deny the existence of white privilege.
White privilege is difficult to identify for us white people because it primarily hinges on all the things we DO NOT experience.
I’ll again use myself as an example.
During my senior year in high school I was transporting beer from one party to another in my car when I was pulled over for speeding in a school zone. In addition to beer, my buddy and I had just smoked a bowl. So I was pretty worried as the cop approached my car, as was my buddy, who tried hiding his open beer under his seat, spilling it everywhere.
I was given field sobriety tests, but luckily not searched, so the glass pipe, wooden dugout, and bag of weed bulging out of my sock was not discovered. The beer in my trunk was discovered, and the chubby patrol officers called my mommy and gave me a ticket for being a minor in possession of alcohol.
My white privilege is that I am alive to write these words, and clear of a criminal history that would haunt me for the rest of my life as I try to get jobs and housing.
I don’t think it’s possible for most white people to really understand what it means to experience blackness in America, and I include myself in this statement. The stress that accompanies most day-to-day interactions simply doesn’t exist for us.
I never worry when I walk into a store. My heart rate doesn’t go up when I see a police officer. If I wanted to be a jogger (I don’t) I could jog anywhere I wanted to without fear of being lynched. My wife and I don’t fear our boys will be shot. Our oldest is 11, so he’s beyond the age black boys start looking like criminals to the police state (and Karens violating leash laws).
The accumulative effects of daily stress from just existing as a black person in this country weakens immune systems and increases the chances of developing chronic illness. And we are learning more and more about how generational trauma is literally transferred across time through our genes.
I’m writing this as Minneapolis smolders from dozens of blazes last night, and I’m writing this as NPR is conspicuously not talking about it, maybe because there are simmering powder-kegs of rage all across this country ready to explode.
Is last night a harbinger of things to come? Are we facing a summer of rage? It’s hard for me to envision a summer that won’t feature more conflicts between a beleaguered public (of all colors) and those tasked with maintaining law and order while the elite pull off a robbery on a scale never seen before in human history.
It’s too bad the public rage isn’t more accurately directed at more deserving targets. The number of elites pulling off these end-times-themed schemes is actually quite small.
Who am I talking about? Let’s start with the billionaires who have seen their wealth increase by 434 billion DURING THE PANDEMIC!
This from Forbes:
America’s billionaires saw their fortunes soar by $434 billion during the U.S. lockdown between mid-March and mid-May, according to a new report.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had the biggest gains, with Bezos adding $34.6 billion to his wealth and Zuckerberg adding $25 billion, according to the report from Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program for Inequality. The report is based on Forbes data for America’s more than 600 billionaires between March 18, when most states were in lockdown, and May 19.
The billionaire gains highlight how the coronavirus pandemic has rewarded the largest and most tech-focused companies, even as the economy and labor force grapples with the worst economic crisis in recent history.
There were those who benefited from the last Great Depression as well, sometimes even from the same families. Isn’t it funny how that works?