White Privilege is as Real as it is Cruel
Here on a warm summer evening, I’m, like most of you, standing in this fading Sunday sunshine stricken by both deep despair and boiling rage. I have few words. But again, like you, I do have a voice. Right now, and in the most horrific and unjust of ways, black lives are being subjugated and criminalized by the laws and governance of our lands, and yet we currently allow ourselves to remain bound to this system. I alone don't know how to eradicate the systemic racism that throughout the years has spread and congealed in the veins and corridors of those who have somehow connived for themselves power. I know that our histories are complex and that even the smallest of changes in our society will create a monumental and irrevocable shift. But that shift must happen. Things can change. Everything will change. WE MUST CHANGE. And not knowing what to do, simply must not be the reason that we accept the injustice of inequality and racism in our society. It must not be the reason that we refrain from using all of our might to forge our despair and rage into purpose.
Racism. Inequality. They are not random actions of nature. Both are purposeful and intentional. They are a carefully devised strategies that have been allowed to seep into the fabric of our institutions and society, enshrined in unfair laws and constantly reinforced, minute by minute, day after day, year after year after year. So much of our society has become so steeped in the poison of racism, that it is hard now to even imagine the scale of the injustice. We go about our lives sometimes blind to the facts about the regularly fatal reality being born black.
For me, my reality is to live in a time where I have both freedom and privilege. I have never had to fight for these rights, march, protest for, or ultimately even be attacked and killed for trying to attain them. My children will have infinite opportunities when they decide how they wish to live their lives. My family's health is not compromised by a lack of access to decent healthcare. Our lives can be assumed to be long. And I have little to fear from any authority. Health, social and economic pleasantries are bestowed on people like me - but they are funded from the sickening profit derived from generations of racial inequality. Why me? Because I am white. It is the only the colour of my skin that entitles me to live this way. This is white privilege. It is vile. It is a shocking and repulsive truth, isn't it?
As a mother, I am only ever as happy as my saddest child. Well, there are millions of black women suffering the cruel injustice of having to raise their child whilst enduring social deprivation, racist attacks, persecution, and a very real threat of violence that is wholly caused by this inequality. Every single day. For a mother, how tragic and soul-destroying must that be? So I ask, as humans, as mothers, how can we bear to seek security, opportunity, or peace only for ourselves, when so many of us are right now being murdered, crushed and degraded by racist behaviour?
Now is not the time to seek comfort or distraction from this truth. We cannot look away. And yes, it is difficult, this is so difficult, but each of us will lose both our own and our collective humanity if we choose to stand by and not fight racism at every level.
Where do we start? Right here... We cannot be ignorant of the facts nor believe that we are powerless to change them. If we don’t know what to do to help to stop inequality, then we must commit our time to reflect long and hard about it. Learn more about what we do not understand and really educate ourselves. Resources are everywhere. Don’t wait to be fed the news, search out the truth. We must use all our freedom and resource to unite and eradicate inequality. We must stand up and be actively anti-racist.
Be outraged. And be actively, loudly, purposefully, vocally anti-racist. Vow to never lose sight of that purpose for as long as racism and inequality exist.
White privilege is as real as it is cruel. It must end, and it will because Black lives matter.
Rachael Muller 31 May 2020