The Privileged vs. The Un-Privileged

          As a child, my mother would always tell us to never walk on eggshells for anyone.  If someone was uncomfortable with who you were and what you represented, then the problem was their burden to carry.

          After the unnecessary killings of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, and the fact that both killers avoided guilty verdicts on the murder charges, many Black parents are once again teaching their sons how to avoid conflicts with other races.

          In 2014, young Black boys are being taught the same things I heard 20 years ago about not being a perceived threat, not representing any negative stereotypes and basically not making White folk uncomfortable.

          In my teenage years, I was constantly warned not to go to the malls or shopping centers with a group of Black male friends because the merchants might think we were stealing.

          At school, whenever a large group of Black males congregated in the hallways they were told to disperse because a group of Black guys symbolized gang activity.

          Meanwhile, my White classmates did not have to worry about such things because of White privilege.

          They could congregate in the hallways and it was perceived as just normal teenage students having fun in between classes.

          When they went to the malls, I never saw anyone follow them around the store or clutch their purse.

          Actually at my first retail job, many White co-workers would tell me to keep an eye on certain Black patrons because they looked suspicious, while they admittedly let their White friends steal from the store and even stole themselves from time to time.

          White privilege allowed them to do things that Black kids were ridiculed for.

          Although Black parents are absolutely correct in warning their children of the danger that is present for young Black boys because of Stand Your Ground laws, why is no one telling White adults that they need to check the way they act when they interact with people of other races too?

          Why is it on the children to be more responsible than the adults?

          Why do teenagers have to be the bigger persons and walk away from confrontation when adults are supposed to be the ones representing maturity and a positive influence?

          If it is not OK for Black kids to speak out when confronted by White adults because of their prejudice and bigotry, then it should not be OK for White adults to initiate unnecessary confrontations with our youth.

          Young Black boys should not have to be the only ones taking responsibility for their behavior and acting in a civilized manner.

          We have all been in a public place where someone else’s loud music was annoying us.  Most sane individuals would simply take care of their business and drive off.

          Unfortunately like George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn is obviously not a sane person.

          So Dunn did not like “thug music.”  Who cares? I do not like “hillbilly music,” but if I hear it blasting from someone’s speakers I simply ignore it and go on about my business.  After all, I am not accustomed to “Black privilege.”  I know the world does not revolve around my feelings and me.

          However, White privilege allowed Dunn to believe that he could tell someone else’s son what to do?  Furthermore, it made him feel like he could make the rules on someone else’s property.

          Scholar Kendall Clark defines White privilege as “a right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by White persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities.”

          Dunn unfortunately believed that he enjoyed White privilege and believed that Black boys had to walk on eggshells for him.

          However, those who subscribe to this ignorant belief system have to realize that no one cares if you do not like Black boys, Black music, or blackberry molasses. 

          The world does not revolve around one group of people, and the only thing that people like him should fear is not Black boys, but living the rest of their lives walking on eggshells for the real thugs that await them behind the fences.

Leave a Reply