I am glad you wrote this.
Joshua Sanders
274

Yeah, no doubt that everyone experiences privilege in some way as well as prejudices. However, I think that people like you fail to realize that the repercussions of slavery and centuries of anti-blackness still affect black people today. I agree with your MLK quote about worrying about character, but the truth of the matter is that when a black person walks into a room, no one is concerned about their character at first. All they see is black skin and then the negative preconceived notions set in, we usually have to prove that we aren’t our stereotypes. Your point about Oprah is hard for me to accept because I am not Oprah. I am a regular black woman and due to systematic racism (not sure if you believe this is real), there are a lot of black people who are living in poverty (not to say that there aren’t black people who are poor by their own doings.) Oprah and other black celebs are the exception. You said some of my points weren’t very important but how about the fact that job applications with black names are likely to be overlooked, imagine not having your job application even looked at because of your name … or that black people get longer and harsher sentences for the same crimes. Again, these are just a couple of examples. Also, I want to address your advice on saying I should reply “You’re pretty for a white person.” This. cannot. work. White people are societies standard of beauty. From a young age black women, especially, are told that they are ugly. They are too dark, their nappy hair is ugly, their flat noses are ugly, their big lips are ugly — now it’s a trend though because Kylie Jenner got some lip injections (I’m rolling my eyes at that btw.) So many black women bleach their skin, get nose jobs and destroy their beautiful hair because they want to look white. Saying “You’re pretty for a white person.” does not work because white people are supposed to be the most attractive race. I grew up in Africa, where almost everyone is black and I STILL got made fun of for being too dark… which I’m really fucking not. White beauty standards have literally made their way to a continent that is predominantly black. There are lots of American shows in Nigeria (where I grew up) and a lot of what I see on my T.V. are white faces and when we are constantly exposed to that, we start to believe that is what we are supposed to look like. I’m sick of things being associated with evil when it’s black.

Also, I was not complaining that I can’t joke about cancer omg, I don’t want to do that. I was just pointing out how people would joke about a disease in Africa but not one that white people can be harmed by. The jokes would not be as common if they affected white people. I’m using cancer because everyone knows cancer, we may even have people we have lost to it but NEVER in my life have I ever heard anyone joke about it. However, when I found out that Ebola made it’s way into Africa, I was in London at the time and I honestly can’t tell you how many jokes I heard.

I disagree that a black teen would be scrutinized by a black security guard. Honestly, because black people go through so much crap in America, there’s a bond we have. I know for a fact that if that just a regular teenager walking into a store, causing no harm, a black security guard is not about to bother him. They’d probably fist bump. I think there is sometimes an unspoken connection between black people and it is because we all have one thing in common and that’s the possibility of being exposed to racism everyday, and knowing that we have to fight against racism and dangerous stereotypes constantly. Why do you think we call each other brotha/sista?

As for the black teen who can get free drinks and favors over a 50 year old white man, I agree. That takes me back to my point about different privileges, pretty privilege exists too. White privilege however is the most important privilege there is and realizing it may prove to be helpful and useful in changing America.

I understand your point about being Jewish, yes I have heard Jewish stereotypes but no one knows you are Jewish by looking at you. You are still a white male and that is what people perceive.

If white privilege didn’t exist, why are there things like affirmative action that give minorities, disabled people AND women a boost? Affirmative action is one of the first solutions. If white people started to acknowledge their privilege, maybe the things that affect black people and other POC due to their race can slowly be diminished.

“Think about white privilege, and how it impacts your life. Think about how easily and freely you move through the world, safe from the same racist suspicions that people of color face, often daily … When someone asks you to “check your privilege,” that’s all they’re saying — think about how your whiteness impacts your perspective, and consider whether you might be missing something. Listen. Learn.”

I know I do not need your approval to be successful, that’s not my argument. My argument is that there are people who may obstruct me from my success simply because I am black. I will definitely overcome though.

I get that we all face prejudices but the ones black people face are pretty damn bad.

Ezinne Ukoha says that “White people are seen as humans with flaws while black people are seen as imperfect and brutish in a way that is unfairly limiting.”

I don’t want to write too much and lose you and I understand that I may not be able to convince you about this topic but that’s okay. I can see how it may be hard for you to accept something that you have never experienced.