on fear and privilege

As a recovering drug addict who used to break a lot of laws (I’m sober now), I grew up living in fear of cops. And rightfully so: Because I was ACTUALLY breaking the law*. I remember the anxiety I used to feel every time I left the house with weed or a pill in my pocket.

And yet, because I was a white woman, I always got a pass. Pulled over for going 105 in a 55? No ticket. Pulled over at age 17 after drinking a six pack and smoking a blunt? Get home safe, dear.

Keg in my trunk at age 16? Driving on mushrooms, acid, ecstacy? Blowing through stop signs?

No consequences. Not even a slap on the wrist. I broke the law for years and the worst I ever got was a speeding ticket.

Hell, when I got arrested at a World Bank protest, I was later awarded over $10,000.00 in a civil action lawsuit.

If that doesn’t highlight the incredible privilege I have experienced, I don’t know what does.

Not long after I stopped using illegal drugs, it hit me that I no longer needed to be afraid of the police because I was no longer breaking any laws.

Except: no.

I no longer needed to be afraid, and in fact I NEVER actually needed to be afraid because I was white.

My friends who are not addicts, my friends who have no drugs in the pockets, my friends who are breaking no laws, live in fear that they will be shot simply because they are not white in a country that favors and protects whiteness.

This is unacceptable.

This is criminal.

This is terrorism.

As someone who has benefitted from her whiteness in ways too numerous to count, as someone who was an actual threat to society and who actually put people’s lives in danger, I feel a sense of responsibility to call our country what it is: a police state. One that is set up to keep white people in power. One that is set up to give white people a pass. One that is set up to keep people who are not white living in fear. One that preys on people who are not white. One that kills them for doing nothing but existing.

This is unacceptable.

This is criminal.

This is terrorism.


*I actually don’t think addiction/possession should be treated as a criminal offense, but that’s a long discussion for another time. My point is simply that I broke laws, behaved recklessly, and definitely put people’s lives in danger — and yet, I always got a pass.