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OPINION: Check your privilege

The Henry Hype

It’s 2020 and I’m tired of having arguments about racism.

We put a man on the moon. We created the Internet and watched it become the powerhouse it is today. Vaccines have been developed for diseases that otherwise would have killed thousands. We’ve fought and won wars, although there were many losses for those victories. Numerous inventions have made our lives so much easier, and the next great creation still has yet to be thought of by a brilliant mind.

We can have all of these amazing accomplishments, yet there are still people who don’t believe racism is a problem that needs to be addressed by everyone.

I don’t mind talking to people about racism, because I try very hard to be an ally. I know I can never truly understand the negative response someone has simply because of the colour of their skin, and I want to learn from the people that experience it.

When I was in university, I learned what white privilege was and I was determined to use my privilege positively. I did research, I examined texts that depicted blatant racism, I signed petitions regarding the issue, and I started having conversations with friends and family to get them to acknowledge their privilege too.

I’ve noticed it’s incredibly difficult to have conversations about white privilege. The word usually insights someone immediately saying they’ve struggled and it makes them uncomfortable.

The thing is, a lot of people don’t understand what white privilege means. Like the word feminism, it’s treated like a bad word no one wants to be associated with.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, white privilege is “inherent advantages possessed by a white person based on their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.”

At its bare bones, it’s simply acknowledging that you may not have struggled as much because of the colour of your skin. It’s not saying you’ve never had issues or objects in your way, but they typically didn’t happen because you’re white.

One example I keep coming back to is the lockdown protests versus the Black Lives Matters protests.

There were a large number of Caucasian people attending lock down protests with guns of varying sizes and kinds, screaming in police officers' faces, and holding signs that say ‘don’t ruin my senior year’, ‘I want a haircut’, and ‘give me COVID-19 or give me death.’ Most of them were allowed to go home, unharmed, at the end of the day.

At the Black Lives Matter protests in the last couple of weeks, people holding signs that read ‘I can’t breath’, ‘it could have been my son’, and ‘skin colour isn’t a weapon’ have been met with violence. People have been run over by cars, shot with rubber bullets, or sprayed with tear gas.

African-Americans are protesting for their lives, while Caucasians want a haircut. That’s white privilege.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

Robynne Henry

About the Author: Robynne Henry

Reporter for the Bonnyville Nouvelle
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