Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Powerful Insight on Race and the Police

I want everyone to watch this video.  Despite the horrible quality, I think that this perfectly encapsulates how many people see that there are different sets of rules for different people, especially with what's occurring recently with how many police incidents.

That is actor Wendell Pierce: a man from New Orleans who invested in the first downtown grocery store in inner-city New Orleans post-Katrina.  Clearly the kind of person who we should aspire to be.  And this is how he feels about interactions with police.  On top of that, he is hardly the only one who feels that way: I heard a young black teenager who was at a rally over Ferguson speak about being terrified when he saw a cop come down the street because he forgot the key to his house and had to go through the backdoor and his first thought was "this cop is going to shoot me, because I'm trying to get into a white woman's (note: his mother's) house."

As a white man, my first reaction to see police after me isn't fear for my life: it's annoyance.  I'm annoyed that a cop is trying to enforce some ridiculous and silly traffic law.  Never does fear for my life enter the equation.  Why?  Cause I'm white, and I know that this sort of violence is not even on the table.  That just isn't true if you're a minority in this country.

This is what people are talking about when they say "white privilege".  Not that white people don't work hard to get where they are and don't struggle in any way: we all know that life is a struggle in and of itself.  What "white privilege" means is that there are difficulties that I, as a white person, don't have to consider because they won't affect me directly, due to no other reason then the fact that I am as white as snow.

And, unfortunately, that exists.  To deny that is to deny the obvious truth.