My Sacred White Privilege

My Sacred White Privilege

I have thought long and hard about visiting this subject and yet the drum beat in my mind has grown louder and louder.

I accept many friendships, they are friendships from people that have merit.

I don’t go searching for friends and readers on my face book page (perhaps 5%).

I’ve even deleted about five percent for lack of insight, racism, lack of self reflection and basic intellect.

I am hard pressed to listen to some of my friends as they disparage the immigrant classes entering our society and yet….I listen.

They are bold, brash and brazen.  I listen intently and one thing comes out in their comments.  Immigrants are “takers” and not “enhancers” to our society.

Because of this I am a bit obsessive and I categorize these friends, most of which fall into a curious category.

They are perhaps 25 or a 50 people (in my friends list of a 1,000 or so).  They are successful in their own professions and yet many don’t seriously self reflect on how they achieved their success.

I realize that I too am probably in this category.   I can’t escape white culture and privilege. I can however try to overcome it and strive towards something more fitting to humanity.

Numero Uno-I have never had to worry about having been afforded education, housing, health care, insurance, food on the table, cars, vacations, and all my basic needs.

I have lived a relatively charmed life, I have never gone hungry.

I have friends and extended family children that have.

My successful friends often times tout how easy it is to be successful and disparage the lessor amongst us.

I look at them as being born on third base.  They talk about how easy it is to score. They talk about hitting home runs and tout how easy it is to get to home plate.

They don’t remember that Grampa or Great Grampa built the playing field on which their lives play out.
Most often they inherited something, a business, a profession, a farm, a way of life and leisure.

They moved into a ready made way of life provided for them by their father, grand father of great grand father.

I do not disparage those that have continued to strive and achieve and I readily admire those that have taken their businesses to another level.

They are of an entirely different class and most often would recognize my delineations.

I too inherited a bit of privileged class and have ridden on the shirt tails of those that have  had meaningful educations. Even a namesake that allowed me some privilege.

My immigrant friends inherited little or nothing.  Many did come to understand survival skills, survival skills to be used in a world of privilege and cut throat economies.

As my “successful” friends that inherited their fathers/grandfathers businesses strut and posture. Many times just living off the proceeds and never adding to the legacy.

My immigrant friends continue to strive and achieve.

THE STORY OF THE UNITED STATES ISN’T BORNE ON OLD BUSINESS PRACTICES.

Hopefully the story of America is born to be repulsed by old time privilege.

Immigration is the fuel that pushes this nation forward.

There was once an evil man that recognized the advantage that the United States had over every other nation on this planet.

He recognized that the lithium in batteries that fueled the light in the Statue of Liberty was our immigrant renewal policy.

He strove to put an end to our accommodation of immigrants. HIs name was Osama Bin Laden. He was an evil genius.

His goal was to manifest fear of those that are different than ourselves.

Today we are building a fantastic wall in his memory, it will serve as a memorial to his prowess in understanding our simple chickenhearted fears.

Time and time again the waves of immigration fueled our success.

The “Nine dollar Men” of India paved the way for people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs.

We bow to those that became the pinnacle of success but often times fail to realize how they came to be.

Those that strive, those that appreciate opportunities, those that strive to a higher calling.

My life has been easier than some, many of my “successful” friends live lives that have been easier.

None of us went hungry, none of us wondered where the next dollar was going to appear.
Our concerns were real and our efforts were mighty, but we seldom felt it might be our last breath.

During this time, my immigrant friends have gone to school, they have gone to work, they are paying taxes, Taxes that many of us are “patriotically” trying to dodge.

My recent immigrant friends have become teachers, doctors, lawyers, Hollywood Film Makers, Officers in the U.S. military, Electricians, Journeymen and many vital people in our society.

Some of my  “successful” friends are now spending their time complaining about immigrants, as they play golf, shuffleboard and cards in warm climates of Florida and the South West.

No longer wanting to contribute their taxes to maintain a meaningful society.

Alas, They have no reason to feel threatened by those that buoy this nations economy, in spite of their generational meaningless inheritance.

The nation moves forward, though being burdened by a class of privileged people that begrudgingly dislike change.

They pick and bad mouth incentives to enhance the lower and middle class.

The class that often times brings enlightenment to us all.

Never seeing the investment that brings tax and revenues.

Certainly there are a few that abuse the system and we all dislike that aspect and should work to correct it.

We have become a society that gravitates to a mantra of “no new taxes”

Yet we appreciate sidewalks and street lights and good roads.

We should be a society that should be debating tax equity rather than “no new taxes.”

They are comfortable in their prowess of their success ,as they forget that they too are immigrants a generation once removed.

One Reply to “My Sacred White Privilege”

  1. Excellent observations here, Bill. I was born and raised in Rock County, Minnesota, and remember very well the very first time I ever saw an African/American. He was a young man walking slowly thru downtown Luverne under the burden a very large back pack with a sleeping bag tied underneath, This was in the mid-fifties. I was very young, sitting next to my Dad in the front seat of the family car while on a Saturday afternoon shopping trip. As we drove past him, we kids commented on his appearance. Dad told us that he had served with many people of color in the War… and they worked hard… and they bled the same color blood as the rest of us. Those comments from my Dad pretty much set the “tone” of my life-long experiences with people who were not Caucasian. Same as us. They bleed the same dolor blood. Skin color is only skin-deep. Good life lessons (and I thank my Father for that) but the true nature of my WHITE PRIVILEGE only came into clear focus when Barack Obama was elected President. I was teaching in a public school in Austin, Texas, and the student population of that “east-side” high school was 60% Mexican/American, 35% African/American, and 5% Caucasian. It was a humbling and deeply personal experience for me to watch students of color and co-workers of color and good close friends LIVE THRU THE MOMENT of “one of theirs” rise to the presidency. It put into extreme clarity how I had taken my personal Danish/German heritage for granted as I watched these fellow citizens come to full realization that an ancient barrier had been broken. It was thrilling for them… and for me. I celebrated with them… but at the time we never could have foreseen the terrible present-day circumstance of HATRED AND RACISM flowing from the very same office of the presidency. That breaks my heart. THAT must be defeated.

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