As a white man, this term gives me the willies.
…But it’s true.
I hate to write about social/political issues but this is something I really want to talk about. This privilege, it’s not specifically a race issue, but unfortunately, white people tend to have more opportunity. It makes me feel bad as a young white male. What did I really do? I work hard and am always trying to better myself, but I’m not the only one doing this. I recognize the fact that systemically, I have more opportunity.
The issue to me is more of a socioeconomic issue than a race issue. Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I tend to think most people are not racist. The problem comes from a lack of wealth and an inability to rise from poverty. Unfortunately in this country, many African Americans fall into this category. In addition, the media seems to be dividing this country more than uniting it. The generalizations of police officers as well as the Black Lives Matter movement is what causes the violence. Let me highlight this:
Not all police officers are murderers and not all Black Lives Matter protestors are violent criminals.
Think about all of the peaceful protests where nobody was harmed. When we categorize one group of individuals with one similar trait into a box, we are asking for a problem. People can share one trait (such as race) but have very different personalities and interests and hobbies and backgrounds and, and, and…
Shocking, I know.
Generalizations are killing us. “All muslims are terrorists”, “all mexicans are illegal immigrants”, “all blacks are drug dealers”, “all whites are privileged”.
It’s ridiculous and it is dividing us. People are people, it’s that simple. I understand that, to an extent, the easy access to different media channels overstates these views. But how can anyone be so close-minded? I’ve met people of all races that I like and I’ve met people of all races that I dislike.
But this is beside the main point I wanted to make in this post. As I live in a predominantly white area of America, I want to talk about wasted privilege. This can go for any race but it’s something I notice more in white folks.
Every single person on this earth is passionate and talented. That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone finds their talent or pursues their passion. But I believe that every single person has the ability to be great at something, it’s just a matter of finding it.
I can’t stand watching some of these college students or young people waste the opportunity bestowed upon them. I’m sure I came from a similar background as many young white people. But again, I don’t want to generalize here. Not every young person had the same privilege and opportunity as I did. But I guarantee there are many people who had even more privilege and opportunity than I did as well.
Don’t squander it. Young people lack work ethic and drive quite often when they grow up with privilege. I’m not talking about racial privilege, but I mean economic privilege. When you are never worried about putting food on the table or how you’re going to take care of rent next month, you’re privileged. You’re privileged by the fact that you don’t have to resort to questionable acts to survive. You’re privileged by the opportunity given to you to thrive, not just survive.
This country has to change to allow that privilege to all people.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “___ is a privilege, not a right”. If you are black, brown, white, blue, orange (in Trump’s case), whatever color, and you have privilege, don’t waste it. Many people would kill to have the privilege that you have. At times that you don’t feel privileged, think of others in even worse circumstances. Work to create that privilege if you don’t have it. And most importantly, if you have privilege, share that with others. That’s the only way that every single one of us will be privy to the same opportunities.
I’m an author of fiction normally. Please check out my other works at blog.danholloran.co/