Thursday, July 7, 2016

A White Momma's Thoughts on White Privilege and Philando Castile

I just watched the horribly sad Philando Castile video while getting ready for bed. Not the exactly the kind of thing to bring peace of mind before a night of sleep. I needed something to redirect my mind and heart away from the sadness, so I scooped up my boy and nursed him for a while. He stuck his foot in my armpit like he does, got nice and cozy. I rubbed his little peach fuzz head because I know it relaxes him. As my little sweetie nursed in my arms, my actual thought was, "I'm glad he's white. He'll never have to be afraid like black men must be so afraid."

Guys, if you don't understand what white privilege is, it's everything I just wrote and experienced. White privilege is turning off the switch and closing my eyes to social injustice so I'll sleep better at night. Because it doesn't directly affect me. White privilege is being pretty sure my white son will never be harmed by a police officer for no reason. White privilege is feeling safer because our skin isn't brown.

How messed up is that? But it's the truth. And if we want change for PEOPLE like Philando Castile and their families, if we want justice, we need to open our eyes to our own white privilege and ignorance and racism. We can't say we're past all of that as a society, as idividuals. We're not. Philando Castile is proof we're not. There's a lot I can't do about this grave problem in our society, but what I can do is pray and listen and acknowledge that there is such a thing as white privilege and racism. You have to acknowledge a problem before you can fix it.

And I want this problem fixed. For Philando Castile's family. For my black daughter we're going to adopt one day. There will come a time when black problems are my problems because my daughter's problems will be my problems. When that time comes, I won't be able to redirect my mind and heart before bed so I can sleep better. I won't be able to cuddle her and know with certainty that she'll never be unjustly harmed by a police officer just because she's black. My white privilege won't extend to her when someone sees her as a threat because her skin is brown.

Outside my little apartment, a lot of mothers are snuggling their babies, hoping and praying the world will be a better place by time their babies dare to reach a brown hand to their wallet in the prescence of a police officer. To those mommas, I don't even know what to say other than that I can only imagine what that must be like. You live it. All I can offer are my prayers for peace and comfort during this impossible time, my condolences, and most of all, I can stop turning a blind eye when it's convenient for me.

Let's get real about our society so that by time our babies have babies, both white and black moms can snuggle their cuties and feel good knowing they'll be safe.

 

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