Commentary: EJ Terry on the Non Sequitur of White Pride
Allison Washington

As a matter of fact, I have been shamed for being a white male a million times in my life in the US. I have been shamed many fewer times for being a foreigner. The combination of the two made very hard for me in my life here to be socially and politically involved. I ended up working as a volunteer at the park district where nobody was implying or explicitly saying that I was an overly educated privileged white man and that was the reason why I had time to be there (usually by people who watched football during their Sunday afternoons instead). I had blank stares because I dared suggesting that I could actually read Swahili better than someone who named his child from that language. Sorry, but I was in Africa building schools and hospitals during my summer breaks and using Swahili. I spent EVERY summer of my college years preparing materials or installing them. I did it because I thought it was useful, not because I felt guilty. Yes, I did because I could, but how many things we can we do and still don’t? Does anyone think that my family would have let me do that if I didn’t have a nearly straight A and did the school I was supposed to do? Could I do that if I smoked pot or failed more than a couple curfews? The answer is no, I had to earn the privilege to be allowed to spend my summers working.

It is easy to be angry for being belittled because all your efforts are negligible because you are white and chose your cis path because… who knows why really.

But there lies a double false equivalence and some bias. The life of a person who chooses a clear trans path, is emotionally, economically and physically much harder than what I chose. But not all trans lives are that hard, some parents are much more understanding and so can be communities. But most trans lives are incredibly hard. Minority kids are incarcerated at much higher rates, go to dreadful schools and face all sorts of horrors. Yet, some minority kids are spoiled rotten and expect all sorts of tolerance and discounts just because they aren’t white and I envy their fancy homes. But most minority kids have a much harder life, it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in statistics to figure that out.

Yet, not all cis white men or women have easy lives. Not all chose to take an easy path, you certainly did not. A minority person who is proud of MLK is as wrong as I would be. We have to be proud of what we do with the lives we get, of the struggles and limitations that we overcome, of how many brothers and sisters we love and support. In the end we are all the same and all different, depends upon how detailed and small are we willing to go to call a difference.

With warmth

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