Your words have moved me, sir. I grew up around racists, and have not-so-fond memories of my late grandmother trying to plant seeds of prejudice through her words. My older sister took the bait, and she’s been struggling with that even more than I have. I was the outcast of the family, so it was easier for me to rebel early on. Despite this, I still benefit from racism due to my skin tone. Even though I’ve had some major setbacks in my life, I know damned well that my life would have been even more hazardous had I been born with brown skin. Feeling like an outsider amongst my family members allowed me the ability to notice racism early on. Although I may understand the debilitating effects of white privilege on a superficial level, I will never truly know what it is like to be systemically oppressed.
There are still times when I don’t see the water around me, but every act of racist violence is a ripple that breaks the illusion that everything is fair and just. There are times when those old implanted sound bytes echo silently in my brain, and I push against them immediately. I pray to God that I never end up with Alzheimer’s, which would cause them to come out of my mouth. The thought of that happening frightens me to death because there are people out there who will embrace me for showing such a symptom of mental deterioration. Even with all this, I still have it much easier because I was born with white skin. This gives me fire and purpose to correct other white people, especially when they confide their worst racist thoughts with a wink and a nod as if I automatically agree with them because of my skin tone. It is my moral imperative to challenge them because I could have very well have been the same way.