They Can’t Handle Seeing Us with Power
(Photo Cred: events.leagueofblackwomen.org)
When I was younger and my grandmother would tell me the stories about “white privilege” I couldn’t comprehend it. As a child, you see people. I didn’t see color. I didn’t see racial injustice. I didn’t see the white privilege that has existed long before my existence. Now, as an adult I’m almost suffocating in it. It’s everywhere I go, every corner I turn. I’ve heard the discussions of the disgrace of a black man (Barack Obama) running the country. Complaints of what he hasn’t changed, what he hasn’t done enough of. Sadly enough for them (the white privileged) in 2016, we are acquiring multiple degrees and obtaining positions, we were once denied of. And it makes their skin crawl, it makes them feel less of superior.
I’m an Ambassador at The Amazon Fulfillment Center in Baltimore. This position requires me to train new hires on the safety procedures and department productivity expected of each novice individual. On this particular training day, me along with two other black Ambassadors had about 33 new hires. All of which, were black with the exception of about 6. I noticed this firsthand, but thought to myself, this is to no surprise to me. Amazon is located in Baltimore city which is highly populated with African American residents. So, part of the training requires us to lead morning and afternoon stand-ups. This is a daily meeting where the facility announcements, standard work and productivity rates are given. I was asked to lead the afternoon stand-up, as I spoke into the microphone, facing the crowd, I could feel someone piercing through me. You know the feeling that someone is looking at you? I looked over to my right and there was this young male, I would say no older than 30 mugging me. Looking me up and down in total disgust as I spoke. I just ignored him. As the day continued and new hires sat through about an half hour of HAZMAT training, the same guy, yet again graced us with his unruly presence. As the other Ambassador continued the presentation, she was interrupted with a hand raised. When she pointed to the now irritated gentleman, he quickly folded his arms and said, “I think some of the things you are teaching us is irrelevant. Isn’t this a HAZMAT training.” Her response was, “Everything I’m teaching you will help you fulfill your position. Nothing here is irrelevant and it’s quite rude of you to interrupt me to say that.” As I watched the exchange of words dialogue between this white employee and black Ambassador, the one thing that crossed my mind that acted as the common denominator in both instances with this guy was
THEY CAN’T HANDLE SEEING US IN POWER.
The fact that at one point America allowed our power to be diminished and limited, still leaves a bad taste in the mouths of even my generation. We are actively dealing with a stigma of unattainable privilege. What WE are and represent today is not what THEY are accustomed to seeing. Blacks are making their way through the quicksand and across the bridge to success. We cannot and will not become unapologetic. Not now. Not ever.
I don’t believe there will come a time that whites are 100% comfortable with adhering to black authority or accepting the fact that we are on equal planes professionally. How can we change the face of white privilege if the foundation of generations of whites were conditioned to believe blacks were expendable and unworthy of education, voting rights,etc. How can you reverse the mentality of years, decades of believing all these things to be true?