The Benefits and Costs of Whiteness
The Whiteness Letters
Dear Friends and Family,
Last week, we had our second Dialogue Wednesday for White People and I must confess: I did not want to do it.
But having the choice to deal with our Whiteness or not is a benefit of being White. Our skin color does not and will not function as:
A biological, ebony-colored tattoo that labels our bodies and our spirits as disposable to those who produce and consume racist ideas. –Betinna Love
Being White means, I never have to think about my skin color, my Whiteness. I never have to learn about, recognize or even name my race. I never have to consider what it means to live in a system of White Supremacy because that system was made for me and people who look like me. I can go where I want, live where I want, shop where I want, work where I want without ever having to change my name, my hair, my voice, my clothes, my language or my personality. I never have to worry about being touched, manhandled, handcuffed or shot, when I am pulled over for speeding, and, often, I don’t even have to worry about getting a ticket.
Because of my White skin, I am alive.
If our country had not been founded on the idea that White-skinned people were superior to dark-skinned people, then:
Black people never would have been enslaved.
Black children never would have stolen from their mother’s arms.
Indigenous people never would have been forced off their lands.
Indigenous children never would have been taken from their families and forced into White-American boarding schools.
Japanese people never would have been locked up in White-American concentration camps.
Latinx people never would have been left to die in the desert or locked in White-American cages.
Latinx children never would have been taken from their mothers and fathers.
And, that’s just a sampling of what a racist system founded on White superiority has, and continues to, cost Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. There is another—albeit different—cost to White people like me.
I cannot love my neighbor as myself as long as I live in, benefit from, and deny our system of White Supremacy. I cannot enjoy my unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as long as darker-skinned people cannot and do not enjoy those same rights. I cannot be who I claim to be or want to be, as long as I turn a blind eye to our racist systems that cause pain, suffering, and, even, death to my friends and family with ebony-colored skin.
I’m on this journey to combat racist systems and be the person I want to be. I hope you will stay with me.
Until next time, stay healthy, safe, and loved, most important, loved.