“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am a white man and I have white privilege. I didn’t ask for it but I got it. All of us who are white have it. It is our inheritance bought by slavery.

Racism is a monster, a hideous creature that thrives in darkness, and it has been hiding under all our beds our whole lives. To ignore racism or deny its existence is to feed it the way a child sneaks scraps under the table to the dog.

White privilege is not about being born wealthy, but then again, it is. It’s not about your money, your station, or your opportunity. It’s not about you.

It’s a different kind of wealth, one we all got whether we wanted it or not — the wealth of establishment.

The dictionary defines the word, establishment as such:

  1. a constituted order or system.
  2. the existing power structure in society; the dominant groups in society and their customs or institutions; institutional authority
  3. the dominant group in a field of endeavor, organization[1]

Establishment sets the table and the rules. Here in America, those rules were written by white men for white men.

I’ve heard people say they know underprivileged white people, so they take issue with the term, ‘white privilege.’ Yes, there are poor white people. Poverty is a terrible thing, a crushing force that presses people down. Historically, the poverty felt by people who are not white is disproportionately worse than those who are white. Poverty is like a dirt road in the rain. It is a hard slog that can stretch on for a lifetime. However, for anyone in America not born a heterosexual white male in the last several hundred years, that dirt road in the rain is set at a steeper incline.

Yes, there are white people wrongfully killed by police-police brutality is a major issue, but white people don’t have to fear the police because of the fact that they are white.

Nobody chooses the color of their skin, but centuries of racial domination have left white people’s skin unfettered by the manacles of history. White people benefited from slavery then, and we benefit from it today.

White heterosexual men don’t have to march for equal rights.

White heterosexual men don’t have to ask the Supreme Court for permission to marry, or to vote, or to attend a good school, or any school. Straight white men have never been excluded from joining the armed forces, the police force, or the court.

You’ve never heard someone introduced as, “The first white heterosexual male…” head coach, quarterback, NFL owner, commissioner, broadcaster, journalist, doctor, CEO, pilot, police chief, lawyer, judge, astronaut, dean, congressman, senator, mayor, governor, or president. No one has ever had to say those words.

When we are indifferent to inequality and the injustice caused by racism, we let that monster grow. It is up to us on our own whether we feed it. I say drag that monster out from under the bed and throw it into the light, watch it shrink under the sun and you’ll see that it’s really just a cockroach and that’s the best it could ever be.

White privilege is real. It is the byproduct of a terrible and evil thing. Just acknowledge it. None of us can ever understand the pain it has caused, but we can try. We can listen.

When we listen our hearts will stir and then we can do something about it. We can change the establishment. We can vote.

[1] Definition provided by Dictionary.com

Originally published at https://bertrock.com on June 8, 2020.

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