Oh, white dudes. Y'all got real mad at me last month when I called out your privilege. More than the usual amount, which is substantial in itself. I don't respond to anything I've written because I already said my piece, and it's up to you to take from it what you will. I know my audience: wine-drunk feminists who quote rap lyrics, shop at Forever 21 and love sandwiches. Angry white men are not my target demo.
I'm going to address your complaints in the hopes that you not only gain a better understanding of your privilege but also how you respond when it's pointed out to you. If not, feel free to continue hating on me. For me, your white male hate is like claps for Tinkerbell. It only makes me stronger.
You say I'm a racist because I call out white male privilege and used the popular young person phrase "Why are you the worst?"Guys, do you know what racism is? Let me Google that for you.
1. the belief that all members of each race possesses characteristics or abilities to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races
White privilege, on the other hand, refers to the very real advantages and/or immunities that white people benefit from over individuals of other races and ethnicities. And as James Brown told us, this is a man's world. Society is built to bolster men and suppress women. I'm nowhere near the first person to point it out. If you're a white male, things are pretty good for you as opposed to, say, if you were a black woman.
Now that those definitions are out of the way, no one is saying that your white male privilege makes you inferior humans. No one is saying you've never struggled if you're white. But the truth is you likely haven't struggled because you're white. There is a difference there. Institutionalized racism and sexism are so embedded in our culture most people don't notice it or see when they're part of it.
A white man who'd never consider himself racist once asked me why my family would "regress" by moving back to Mexico decades after immigrating. It is likely that you've never had your articulated anger sexualized as being spicy, as we mouthy Latinas often experience. You are more likely to make more money than a minority female for the same work and are less likely to be stopped and shot dead by police for no just reason. If you are sexually assaulted, no one will wonder if you were asking for it by the choice of your clothing. You can probably walk home at 2 a.m. without fear. Your authority is likely not questioned or degraded because of your gender or race. No one blames your normal body functions for your mood. There are 500 million other examples.
You emailed me, private messaged me, tweeted at me and approached me in social settings to assure me that you're not like that. In fact, you even have black, Mexican and Asian friends!
What if I said it's okay for me to call you "the worst" because I've slept with like 20 white guys who think the WNBA is pointless and say shit like "I mean, is it really a coincidence that most terrorists are Muslim" because they heard it on Real Time with Bill Maher? (Insert eye roll and jerk-off hand motion here.) Just because you have non-white friends, it doesn't mean you are incapable of being offensive or even racist. We are all very capable.
The challenge isn't to prove that "not all white men" are like that or to convince me that you're one of the good ones. It's to understand that you do, indeed, receive better opportunities because of systemic discrimination against minorities and women. Instead of calling me a bitch on Facebook, you should confront the inequities that come with your privileged status; a status that you can't help because of the way society is built. You can't change your genetic makeup, but you can challenge the privilege you gain from it and not downplay it when it's called to your attention because it makes you uncomfortable.
Understand that your privilege is deeply rooted in racism and must be called out if we're ever going to progress into a more fair and just society. I have experienced privilege over other women of color, including my own race, just because I'm light-skinned, educated and grew up middle class. It's our responsibility as privileged people to call out the inequities and allow those less privileged to voice their anger and not try to take away from their experience.
Stop and think about how you're viewed and what you gain from the world solely because of your race and gender and ask yourself if you think it's fair. Become aware and make an effort to change this reality in your day-to-day life. If you need examples of ways you can do this, talk to your non-white friends about ways they've experienced racism or been marginalized, including by you, and what you or others could have said or done to avoid this. Truly listen and if you give a shit at all, make a point to change those behaviors. In fact, let's all do this. We can all benefit from waking up.