How Is White Privilege Like Global Warming?


In the time since I have became a vocal little son a gun on the internet, one comment always comes back again and again.  White friends (and sometimes family even) tell me I am too harsh on white people when talking about race.

  1.  No, I’m not.
  2. The beatings will continue until the morale improves.

Racism is a white person’s problem.

Racism is a white person’s problem.

Racism is a white person’s problem.

It is a problem that has plagued our country since before it’s creation and in 239 years of existence as a country, no one seems to be cleaning up the mess effectively.  Racism is a problem which negatively effects people of color.  But it is a white person’s problem to correct.  Because white people are the only ones that have the power, privilege and agency to do so.  So if I make an analogy and use “white people” instead of “some white people”, it’s not your duty nor is it constructive to tell me “it hurts my feelings when you say ‘white people’ because I’m a good white person, and this doesn’t apply me to me”.  Because:

  1.  You are derailing the conversation and taking the focus off the issue and more on your hurt fee fees.  The families of Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin wouldn’t be sympathetic to your hurt fee fees.  Trust me.
  2.   You are expecting a cookie for your allyship and that is unacceptable on all measures.

The analogy that I regularly use that everyone seems to understand is to try to imagine for a second that polar bears could speak.   Imagine a polar bear came up to me on her hind legs, frustrated and said:

“Man you humans are fucking everything up on this planet.”

The polar bear is right.  Humans are collectively ruining Planet Earth.  So therefore it would be WILDLY inappropriate for me to get frustrated with the polar bear for pointing out the obvious.  It doesn’t matter that I recycle.  That I turn the water off when I’m washing my hair and shaving my legs.  The I use dehumidifer water in my laundry.  That I use my car as little as possible and walk as much as I can.  That I’ve decreased my fast fashion purchases ten fold.  That I don’t waste food.  None of this matters.  I am still part of a greater collective that is effectively driving global warming and making the planet unbearable for all the other species.

The same rules apply towards white privilege and white supremacy.  If you are a white person, no matter how good of an ally you are, you still benefit from white privilege and contribute to white supremacy in ways you don’t even have to think about.  Which is the very definition of white privilege.  Not having to think about any of these things until I bring it to your attention is white privilege on steroids.  Obviously I still love you, because you know I don’t keep people around if I don’t.  But I will not mince my words when discussing racism.  Because that’s letting white people as a whole off much too easily.  And because lives depend on it.  The more time you spend arguing semantics with me, the less time you’re out there educating other white people.  Which is your mission, should you choose to accept it!  Because both global warming and racism are at epidemic levels.  xoxo


PS –  Agathe, as a person living in Norway, I know some of this flies straight over your head.  But not all of it, because you’re no dummy.  I needed to write this some place and this seemed a good a place as any.

(Credit:  Josh Brill Co)



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