What privilege?!?

Carson broke his leg in two places in March 2018. His soccer coach heard the snap from across the soccer field.

Look how many emergency personnel came to his aid.

An ambulance ride and several hours later Carson underwent emergency surgery.

A few weeks later we went on a trip to Verdun, France that we had already scheduled and found out just how hard it is to travel around Europe with a wheelchair. We already kind of knew as we had a toddler at the time, and strollers make it hard enough to navigate but we gained a new level of appreciation for the challenges those who depend on wheelchairs face.

Carson healed well, thankfully, and had no lasting complications from the break.

Privilege… advantage; opportunity;

  • We are privileged to easily get in and out of cars.
  • We are privileged to be able to enter and exit stores easily.
  • We are privileged to explore cities with no barriers.
  • We are privileged to be able to fit between tables at restaurants.
  • We are privileged to be able to get to our third-floor stairwell apartment without pain and excessive effort.

We (the Hamricks) are privileged to be able to walk around on foot. Without having lived a few months experiencing the challenges faced by those who do need to rely on wheelchairs, the Hamricks may have never appreciated what life is like for them.

I acknowledge that our experience with this was short-lived. I acknowledge that it directly impacted only one of us. This illustration isn’t perfect. But if you give it some thought, it can help you grasp privilege.

Our lives are not made more difficult with a need for a wheelchair. We had a tiny taste of that when Carson had to miss out on seeing what was at the top of these stairs and we became more aware of the privilege we usually have.

If you’ve never experienced needing a wheelchair you may not fully appreciate just how helpful those up-front parking spaces are or stores with an extra-large bathroom stall. You may see people advocating for elevators and ramps and wonder why in the world it’s such a big deal, “I can get in the store without a ramp! Why do you want one?” It sounds absolutely absurd to ask that question but that’s how absurd it looks to people of color when white people try to say that white privilege is not a thing. (And yes, I’ve seen one or two Black people who disagree with the concept. I hear them… their voices are valuable, but they are the outliers. “Outlier: a data point that differs significantly from other observations.” From the same definition: “Naive interpretation of statistics derived from data sets that include outliers may be misleading.” Wikipedia)

People of color aren’t saying that white people are bad for having white privilege any more than people who need wheelchairs are saying that those of us who don’t need them are bad.

People of color just want those of us who have privilege to recognize it and find ways to level the playing field. There are thousands of ways to do that and this blog post isn’t about those ways. This post is about recognizing white privilege as a thing in America.

It exists. It’s not a sin. It’s not a fault. It’s not an indication that you’re a bad or racist person. Recognizing it is no different than recognizing that I walk around on healthy legs and can easily get to my third-floor apartment without pain or needing to crawl up backwards, as Carson did for two months.

What to do once you recognize it, now that’s a whole different blog post. Today, I want you to read, listen, or watch a few sources talk about what white privilege is. If the phrasing still bothers you (“white” and “privilege”) just remember what I said on Monday… we must build our “talking about racism” muscles. We must learn not to cringe when talking about whiteness or privilege so that we can hear the message being spoken: this is a critical part in each of our journeys.

Keedron Bryant touched the hearts of millions when he put to song the words his mother wrote. This is what it’s about, people. Recognizing our privilege is a matter of life and death for someone like Keedron. Listen…

The privilege to not fear for my life in an encounter with law enforcement. “I just wanna live.”

I’ve seen this quote floating around:

It’s a privilege to learn about racism instead of experiencing it your whole life.

If you are here to learn, welcome. If you are just learning about racism, you are a privileged person. That’s not a declaration that you’re a bad person. It’s just a statement. Take what you learn and act.

And because this is my blog and I get to post whatever I want even if it’s not related to the topic, here’s the Doxology by Keedron and his sister, Aiyanna.

Resources:
* TodayShow – Keedron Bryant
* Keedron Bryant’s original link
* The Doxology by Keedron and his sister, Aiyanna


Previous posts in this series:
Intro: #OnceYouSeeRacism
1. Build your “talking about racism” muscles. – {general racism}
2. The Dangers of the Colorblind Mentality – (color blind mentality}
3. Be Color Brave, Not Color Blind {color blind mentality}
4. See and Honor Color {color blind mentality; “the talk”}
5. What is an Ally? {allyship}
6. Allyship – digging deeper {allyship}
7. You are here… {white privilege}

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
This entry was posted in #OnceYouSeeRacism, Racism/Race Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to What privilege?!?

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