I finally figured it out as I was watching a YouTube channel of two young black men showing their reactions to hearing oldies music for the first time. Kudos to them for their attempt to bring the races together.
It’s not bad that they were totally ignorant of the music that shaped my youth, but it revealed a nuance that is lost during all of our current conflicts.
You don’t know me.
I have had no way of knowing you.
Everyone grows up in a bubble. My white privilege experience as a child was sleeping on a pillow that bridged from my bed to the window sill. This was so I could breathe the coolest,freshest air I could get access to on those hot south Texas nights.
Then we got an oscillating fan. I was envious of my brother’s white privilege when the fan would circulate the air around his bed. When we got a water cooled window fan, we were in heaven even though the moisture made the windows and doors stick.
We didn’t have health insurance growing up, but I didn’t know different. I didn’t know about risk just as I didn’t know about the plight of black people. My parents didn’t sit me down and give me the “racism talk”. Instead, they lived an example of love and acceptance. I never heard a derogatory racial slur in my home and in turn, I have never delivered a racial slur in my life. In fact, I have never been in a fist fight.
One of my first jobs was to work the counter of a skating rink. On Sunday nights, for whatever reason, the skaters were almost exclusively black. I’m talking shoulder to shoulder, dancing with great skill and rhythm, black.
You would think this would be the time to tell me what’s up. Instead, we laughed, joked and I fixed their skates or loaned them the tools when they wanted to make adjustments themselves. They did not commiserate on the injustice of lynchings or Jim Crow law. I never felt awkward or out of place. This is ages 16 and 17, many many Sunday nights.
My wife and I had an interracial couple as friends. They told us of the mean looks they’d get in store parking lots. I knew they were telling the truth. I knew there were racists, but they told the stories with such good humor, I never saw it as festering hurts that would eventually spill over into burning down stores.
I’ve never cringed when a person of another race served me or treated me medically.
My white privilege continued as I couldn’t afford college and joined the manual labor force. I raised two sons, (without insurance) often working six and seven day weeks; working sick and sometimes injured (without workmen’s comp).
I’m wondering how the activists and protesters have come to judge me without knowing me. What scale did they use? Why was I not informed? Why do I get no voice or chance to ask any questions?
I know for certain that no one has come to me to challenge me on my white privilege; but I want to know how much compassion the protesters have for families that are experiencing cerebral palsy, or schizophrenia. Brain injuries and autism tend to overwhelm families. How much time should these families be expected to channel to black causes? Why? Because of their skin color?
When you say “white”, you include every white person. If I owe you an apology, come to me for it directly and bring your evidence.
Neither the black activists nor the leaders or members of their organizations invited me to break bread and answer the questions that I didn’t know I had. They didn’t come to my church and they gave me no warning. I would have heard them out. Instead, they went to a political party that had no incentive for there to be peace between the races. In fact, quite the opposite; they are using the situation to acquire money and power.
In my opinion, the only people we know for sure by their words and actions that they are hate filled and unrighteously judgmental, are the activists themselves.
If we judge people according to personal responsibility, it is individual policemen that have their behaviors to be held accountable, not some white guy who has spent the last three years caring for his wife who has dementia, and hasn’t raised his voice to her, or anyone for years.
Again, it’s not skin color, it’s ideology, values and empathy.
In conclusion, I will leave you with the words of Charlemagne Tha God. Unless you agree with him, there is no point in discussion. Pay particular attention at the 2:10 minute point.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=odF8qxHlJsQ
I bought my friend an elephant for his room. He said, "Thanks." I said, "Don't mention it."