Today, I heard you were showing white privilege, white indignation, and white intolerance. Under the most unfortunate of circumstances, these qualities were thrust upon your character by a close relative who, by all measures, exhibits signs of intolerance herself. Not “white” intolerance, mind you … just intolerance toward anyone with an opposing point of view. For this, I am sorry.
This came out of the blue. Well, not really out of nowhere. You did proffer a logical, thought-out opinion about the most recent rioting, looting, and burning in Atlanta. Perhaps, in hindsight, Facebook wasn’t the best social format to do so, my friend. After all, you tried twice before and the words you crafted weren’t met with smooth dialogue either. Your decision to delete all three posts this evening, in my opinion, was the best solution for now.
I saw the whole string of texts sent to you from your relative and may I, again, offer up my apologies. I will give her some credit for privately calling you out and not publicly spewing the hot ashes of her vitriol. As an aside, at least she didn’t call you a “racist” like the other “friend” on Facebook felt the need to do.
So, here’s where I’m at right now – and why I felt the need to write you a letter. You’re my closest and dearest friend. I’ve the fondest regard for your character and know you to be the most sincere, compassionate, loving person toward all regardless of race, sex, income, lifestyle choice, or any qualifier one would choose to apply. The anger and misunderstanding directed toward you is misappropriated. Period.
Here’s what they don’t know: You are starting to understand “White Privilege”. Indignation and Intolerance stand outside your fence – this I know. She is way off base on those two. I won’t even begin to justify those with a response.
You’ve set aside this day to think on that phrase. Since the accusation was hurled at you this morning, you caught the ball, tucked it under your arm and wrestled with it. That’s what you do. You ALWAYS do. You study and meditate. Think and mull over words and propositions … especially if it is deeply concerning to your character.
I heard your voice as you spoke out loud. The revelation hit you around 7:30 this evening, didn’t it?
You said, “It’s the way the movement is worded. ‘White Privilege’ is divisive. This has been the anchor around my attitude. This is why the bitterness in my words comes through. I’ve not a privileged bone in my hard-working skeleton. Privilege sounds Ivy league, haughty, lofty, and aloof to me. The usage is comparative to my experience – which is all I have to go on. So, when I am labeled, “White Privilege”, that is where my mind goes…
…Now, after thinking it through a bit, if the phrase, ‘Being white has its advantages’ was used instead, I could embrace this much better. Seems a small difference, but I understand the issue so much better this way. I now see myself as a white male with less fear for my safety in certain neighborhoods compared to my black friends. I understand my relationships with (some police) as different and job, insurance, voting, and social experiences in America as not the same.”
When you said those words, I knew you’ve been educated. That’s you, Doug. You are someone who knows how to grow … and learn. You know the value in change. You know the humility in recognizing your faults in actions and thinking – and the necessary remedies without sacrificing your values along the path of understanding.
Too bad those who fault you – and label you – will never know your true self because they don’t read this blog.
I am truly honored – and privileged – to be by your side every living moment. Stay strong and don’t ever quit being you. One heartbeat at a time, my friend.