Yeah, I’m going there.
When I would hear the words “white privilege” I used to think it meant I was thinking, acting, or feeling a certain way. It used to confuse me and almost frustrate me because I didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong. I know that when I see someone of color, or someone who doesn’t look like me, that I don’t have any specific thoughts about it. I don’t make assumptions about that person based on their skin color. If there was someone in the store next to me that was acting shady, or yelling or whatever it may be, that would make me uncomfortable. I would be uncomfortable if they were ANY race. It’s based on their actions and personality. I know this about myself.
This, in fact, is NOT what “white privilege” is. White privilege is not something I am *doing* or something I am *thinking*. It’s a privilege that I have simply because of my light skin tone. There’s nothing I can do to not have this privilege. I can’t get rid of it, or wish it away. What I can do, is acknowledge it.
While going through our training classes for our adoption we did a lot of reading on certain aspects of becoming a multiracial family. My husband and I are both white, as are our older two children. So welcoming a child of another race means we had some things to learn. I wish I could say that my “white privilege bubble” popped during this time. I wish that I could say that during this studying we did, that it all made sense. Although I learned a lot and am very thankful that our agency provided us with this education, I needed to experience it to have it really sink in.
My “white privilege bubble” popped at an unexpected time for me. I was looking through a magazine that we often get in the mail called LTD Commmodities. I saw a baby doll that I thought both my girls would love for Christmas. As I looked through the purchasing options I had a choice between a white baby with blonde hair or a white baby with brown hair. That’s it! I know my youngest daughter can have white babies. My older daughter has babies of all different skin tones as well. Where the issue came for me is that there was not even an option for me to order a baby that wasn’t white.
It all clicked for me. I started paying more attention. These kinds of things were EVERYWHERE. And yes, I know that Amazon has a long list of options for baby dolls. But my white daughter will NEVER walk into a store, any store that carries dolls, and not be able to find a doll that looks like her. She will be able to every single time.
It’s far from just dolls. That’s just where it clicked for me.
I have worked hard to get where I am. But I also had a world around me that preferred my light skin.
I have never been the only white person in a crowd of people. Or the only white friend in a large group of friends.
I have never had someone question my integrity or work ethic during an interview based on my skin color.
I don’t get watched closer than others in a store.
If I spoke about my college acceptance, it would cross exactly ZERO people’s mind that I was accepted to fulfill a quota.
Myself, my mom, her mom before her etc etc have always been able to walk into any store selling hair products and easily find an entire isle of products to choose from.
Elected officials. Enough said.
The list goes on ...
I don’t say these things to shame you. I don’t feel this way because I have a daughter with darker skin tone. I feel this way because it’s the reality of the world we live in. I chose this unpopular and controversial topic because it’s important. Would my “white privilege bubble” have popped without having a daughter of my own with darker skin? I don’t know. But I’m so thankful it did.
If I haven’t popped your bubble today, watch the video I have included below. It doesn’t feel good to see these things in our world. It hurts and I hate that it’s happening. But acknowledging it, and understanding it helps you become more understanding to those around you. It helps you understand why people may feel the way they feel about situations.
And all of these things bring us all closer together. I know that I cannot solve the white privilege in the world. But I can share my experience and journey with it in hopes to pop a few more bubbles along the way.