I’m a white girl and I have white privilege. And that privilege is really bad.
I’ve long been aware of the racial inequality in our country: how could I not? I live here. But while it upsets, me I’ve hesitated to speak out for fear of misusing language, “tokenizing” people victimized by the system, or implying in any way that I understand feeling marginalized. I’ve felt like I don’t deserve to feel rage towards this issue because it doesn’t victimize me. So I’ve just sat back and mourned passively.
But I can’t do that anymore.
Last week I attended a town hall at Gallatin on the recent events in Charlottesville. I left overwhelmed by anger, powerlessness, and despair, to the point of physical nausea. But I realized something key: as a person with white privilege, it is my duty to speak out. It is people like me who have power to change it.
This blog is about my recovery, yes, but I have an audience here that I must take advantage of. What’s more, social justice and my recovery are intertwined. My work in recovery as of late has been focused on self-love, but I feel strong enough now to put positive energy back into the world. I don’t want to live in an unjust world, even if I “benefit” from it.
I’m not going to solve the issue–no one person can–and as a professor on the panel last put it, change likely won’t come in our lifetime; we have to have faith in the long-term. But what I can do is acknowledge my privilege and start using it for good. It’s important to be aware–to be grateful and compassionate.
I no longer care if I step on anyone’s toes. I no longer care if I get the language wrong. If I do, someone will correct me. What matters is that I’m trying and that I’m learning.
I believe in the power of free speech, in the power of young voices, and frankly, in the power of social media (posting is the new marching) to make positive change. And I hope through the power of like-minds and communication, this positive change will occur.
Love to all,