Hi, my name is Shadress and I am a white privilege pessimist.
I don’t want to be, but as of late—I can’t help but be one. By nature, I’m an optimist. As a true Pisces, I see the possibilities in everything. I’m a dreamer. My imagination is broad and usually, I can find the good in everything…everything! But not lately and not when it comes to this subject matter.
Of course, I know thinking negative thoughts only manifest into real-life. I’ve even managed to not speak it aloud to prevent giving the universe that energy, but even with all the preventative mental exercises—I am still a white privilege pessimist.
For the past few years, the amount of police shootings of unarmed black men has increased. The amount of hatred and blatant racism towards black people displayed by white people have multiplied and at the core of it all is white privilege. It has festered in the foundation of this country and through its own negligence, it has resurfaced by someone that is giving it a bigger platform.
To be clear, I am far from being naïve to the fact that racism has existed for decades—centuries even before my existence, yet and still there has been no end. Sure, we’ve made some progression. Yes, we have a few more liberties than our ancestors had, but that’s only on the surface. When you dig deep and look hard, how much further have we really come?
Our ancestors were subjected to the same cruelty of having the police called on them for trivial things, being harassed and killed by them, and then being treated like the villain in their own death. They were falsely imprisoned, held against their will, and when they tried to stand up for themselves—they were isolated and punished.
Still, the same is going on today. Black people are having the police called on them for existing. White people are signing black people’s death warrants with every phone call—knowing the history and current relationship between black people and the police. The president is using his platform to push his ethnic cleansing crusade, while unarmed black men and women are being executed on cameras and nothing is being done. False imprisonments and inequality in sentencing are still being practiced with no end in sight.
And I’m supposed to be optimistic about this ending soon?
Trying to prove white privilege exist to white people is exhausting. Which makes exterminating it even more challenging. Most times, it’s dismissed as a falsified concept black people created with no concrete evidence it is in fact true. There is always the occasional white person who pokes holes in the ideology by pointing out “all black people aren’t poor,” “all white people aren’t rich,” and other useless examples to divert the focus away from the topic itself. What most fail to realize is that those white people who aren’t rich will still garner better treatment that the rich black people they like to point out. The public parading of black celebrities through court is proof enough to dismantle that very statement.
Nevertheless, what most fail to realize is the basis of white privilege is rooted in hindrance and lack thereof. For white people, white privilege has prevented them from feeling the financial, professional, educational, and legal deterrents black people face daily. Being white affords white people the benefit of the doubt despite the severity of their actions. It allows them to be seen in a better light because by nature they are deemed superior. White privilege grants white people the respect of not tarnishing their name before “the facts” are gathered. It guarantees their life won’t be taken during a traffic stop or while running away from the police.
Even though history has proven white people are equally if not more violent than any other race, white privilege creates a space for other people to automatically feel safe when they enter a room.
And This is what I’m supposed to be optimistic about changing?
Its true I could muster up some optimism to hold on to. It may even be possible that white people will see the pettiness and danger in calling the police for stupid shit. There is a chance that an overhaul in the justice system may take place—racist police officers who kill will be imprisoned—and black people will receive fair sentencing. There may be a glimmer of hope that black people across the board will eventually have a fair shot at a better life with the demolishing of financial, education, and professional discrimination. In the clear spectrum of things, there is a minute likelihood white people will one day experience a fraction of the harsh treatment they have bestowed upon black people, or even own up to the advancement they have received off the backs of us.
But I doubt it, and that right there is why I am a white privilege pessimist.
Or maybe I’m a realist?