Tuesday, November 4, 2008

White Guilt

I just spent the last couple of hours discussing the terms "social justice" and "white guilt" with a friend of mine. My conclusion is that there is no conclusion to either term, but I do have some thoughts.

There are times when people respond to various opinions of mine by saying, "that's just your white guilt talking." These opinions usually come at times when I am acknowledging certain patterns of inequality or preference that I observe. For instance, I have been very open about the fact that I seldom like white rappers. Not because they are white, but because for some reason I am usually unable to take them seriously. There are some exceptions. I do not hate all white rappers, I just can't stand to listen to most of them (that I've heard). This is an opinion of mine and it is based on quality of music.

To set the record straight, my opinions are almost always based on what I think, not on what I feel. Furthermore, I do not feel guilty for having a white mother. This is not to say that I am ignorant to the fact that being white comes with unearned privilege.

Personally, I despise the term white guilt.

White Guilt is a hollow term. It can not be measured, nor can it be attached to any one person with a definition.

Guilt is a selfish emotion that allows us to dwell on the past and disallows us from focusing our energy on what can be achieved in the present. Sitting around in guilt is essentially throwing a pity party for yourself. Have you ever heard someone say, "right now I'm learning how to deal with my white guilt"? I have. "Dealing with guilt" is in itself a privilege that perpetuates the injustice that the white person is initially feeling guilty for. Ya dig? Inequality is not about you or your guilt, white person. You (we) are a cog in a machine. By giving power to the term white guilt we are enabling a counterproductive emotion. I'm sorry that you feel guilty, white person, but get over yourself. I imagine that feeling oppressed would be much worse. Dedicate your efforts to those who need help rather than your own self pity. Educate yourself on terms than can be supported with data such as "white privilege".

No human being is responsible for the actions of their ancestors. We are only responsible for our own actions and what we allow to occur around us. This is not to say that our present day society is unaffected by its history. The impact of our ancestors is unavoidable. However, my point is that time given to feeling guilty about your fucked up white ancestors and peers is time taken away from confronting your fucked up white friends, family, politicians, CEO's, doctors, teachers, bosses and neighbors (the list goes on). Evil and ignorance is not specific to any comnunity, whether it be ethnic, spiritual, class, gender, regional, etc. However, we must observe that privelage and oppression is. The issue is not what you feel, but what you do.

I acknowledge unearned privilege.

It is real.

I do not feel guilty.

I refuse to perpetuate the ills of my ancestors.

I will confront ignorance and hate.

I refuse to be silent.

I love.

I change.



1 comment:

no$leepgetmoney said...

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real talk of "white privilage"