There’s a really excellent video titled, “One Easy Thing All White People Could Do That Would Make The World A Better Place“. Though it’s a good story, I couldn’t help but tear up as I watched it. It’s in moments like this that I realize how much of an impact my skin colour has on my day-to-day life. I try to remain aware of this. But it’s not something I have ever had to be aware of. I never grew up knowing my whiteness. I never had to experience circumstances in which I was noticeably treated differently because of my skin colour.
I thought about times where I was in a room full of different cultures and races and I was literally the only white person. I tried to remember how I felt. The truth is, that although I felt “different” physically, I felt perfectly comfortable more than anything else. But now that I really think about it, that’s probably just another one of my white tendencies. I feel comfortable in all situations because I’ve never been made to feel any different. I can feel comfort in a room full of differences because no one judges me on my difference.
Being white is still different from being black, or brown, or yellow, or red. But being white is never seen as the difference. Everyone is viewed as different from me. That superiority complex our pigment has is a real bitch. I don’t choose that life or that assumption, it’s chosen for me. I feel guilt in my whiteness. I feel shame. I hate that because I’m white, I’m granted more opportunities than those around me. Essentially, I have it easier. I go through my mundane life without having the slightest clue of being treated poorly simply because I have a darker skin tone or a different cultural heritage.
That’s why this video hit home for me. I have always held the position that because I was born into a white, middle-class family and afforded all of these opportunities, it is my duty to use them to help those who were not granted such things. Although the sister-in-law that this woman speaks of was in fact half-black, I still can appreciate the idea of using my whiteness to defend others. I know that my race can command and demand respect from other people, a sad but true fact. I like to think that I have done this and will continue to do this in my life. That I would have been the one to also step in if I saw something like this happening to a friend or even a complete stranger.