STOP ACTING LIKE "IT" DOES NOT EXIST

MARCH 19TH, 2018 | by Chantel Carnes

Dear IT, 

 

IT can open doors for you, IT can make your life easier, IT can allow you to get away with things that others could never. IT is a gift for you, but a curse for the rest of us. IT gives you the confidence and assurance that the probability of your security at your job or security during the course of your academic career being threatened, is unlikely. IT sets you aside from everyone else. You can use IT to your advantage and use IT to help advance your success.

IT is at the dinner party with your new group of friends, IT is in the workplace, at school, amongst your friends, in public spaces amongst people you don’t know. IT is in the air you breathe and as much as people try to ignore IT, IT is living and growing in our world. You're  sweet, nice and intelligent personality does not mean you don't have IT. You can be nice and have great character, but you still have IT and IT still benefits you.

 

The difference between you and me is that you can use IT. IT is always there for you and IT can get you out of tough spots. IT can give you the freedom to say what you want and how you want, more leniently that I can. While yours sometimes keeps you out of trouble, mines gets me into it. Mines makes me look over my shoulder, mines makes me nervous and uneasy at times.

 

Do you know what it’s like to be so proud of something and also resent it at the same time. I don’t want to change it, I just want to change the way people see it. Do you know what it’s like to be so comfortable with something you can’t change and yet so uncomfortable at the same time? Do you know what it’s like to always wonder if the reason why something happened or didn't happened is because of something you can’t change?  

 

I didn’t say you have it easy, I am saying you have it EASIER. IT makes your life easier and somehow makes my life harder. It’s not your fault, because you also have something you can’t change. It becomes your fault when you choose to ignore IT, downplay IT, tell yourself and others that IT does not exist or use IT to your advantage in a way that suppresses others. I blame society, but you can’t blame society all the time. You have to take responsibility for IT, because IT is everywhere.

 

People tend to believe IT is a “myth,” or a “lie.” They’ll say that “black people made it up” to make ourselves the “victim.” I’m not sure why anyone would want to make something like this up, because IT is one of the most aggravating things to live with. It is demeaning to know that you will never be seen as or treated on the same level as them simply because you do not have IT. We see IT all the time, we are forced to ignore IT and if one day we reach our breaking point and decide to speak up, we are labeled as “angry.”

 

People get upset, because they think we are saying that because you have this, all of your problems cease to exist. That is incorrect. Everyone has problems and everyone has struggle. Nothing is ever completely easy, because we do not live in a perfect world. However, because you possess IT, things may come easier for you.

 

You may not even notice it. You may not notice that passing by a cop does not make you nervous. You may not notice that you have never been told that your natural hair is “unprofessional.” You may not notice that you never have to wonder if you did not get that job or promotion because of that thing you can’t change.

 

Just because you do not notice IT, does not mean that we don’t and does not mean that IT does not exist.

 

Yes, White Privilege is real, it’s here and it’s winning.

 

White Privilege is America’s way of reminding people of color that we don’t matter and regardless of what we do or how qualified we are, we will never have the luxury of saying or doing certain things that non-people of color can do. White Privilege says that we as people of color have to work twice as hard to earn half of what they have.

 

What it must be like to live in a world where your entitlement and privilege gets you what you want. White Privilege is a fact. A fact is not an excuse or justification. Again, White Privilege does not mean things are always easy for you and it does not mean that you don’t work hard and don’t deserve everything you’ve earned.

 

BUT it does mean that you have a special kind of privilege that allows you to do or say things that people of color could not. It means that society treats you better than it does people of color. It means you do not have to question the things people of color have to question. It means you live in a different world than us.

 

Most importantly, it means that when you see White Privilege, you:

 

  1. Recognize your White Privilege

  2. Speak up about White Privilege

  3. Check your White Privilege

 

- Sincerely, Chantel Carnes

Follow Chantel on Instagram & Twitter @missxochantel

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