By Sophie Corbett, TIWP College Program
Never in my life have I been afraid of the police. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They have always made me feel safe and comfortable. If I were to ever get pulled over, my first thought would be “How can I get out of this ticket?” not “Is this the moment when I will take my last breath?” I have never had to change my behavior in order to look less suspicious nor have I ever worried that a neighbor would mistake me for a “thug” and call the cops on me. That is the definition of white privilege.
I have never really paid attention to the advantages that my skin color has brought me, but now I need to. I can no longer ignore the fact that my privilege is apparent in many aspects of my life. I can no longer ignore my own racial biases. I can no longer ignore that I was brought up in a systemically racist society that taught me that my skin color was superior, and that I was more valuable.
It is my responsibility to use my white privilege to educate myself and dismantle my racist tendencies. To condemn racism, but make no attempt to understand and work on our own biases is the definition of white privilege. We mistakenly believe that we are not part of the problem because we view ourselves as good, progressive white people. The truth is we are all complicit because we were all socialized by the same inherently racist institutions. The real change occurs when we use our white privilege to educate, understand and speak out, not when we are using it as a justification for staying silent.