I Have White Privilege: And This is My Checklist

I have white privilege. My white privilege is something I’ve accepted for a while but I was reminded of it today when I read about a pregnant woman who was shot by the law enforcement agents she trusted to protect her and thought I’d discuss some of the things I notice that benefit me in my white little world. I hate the inequality of one group of people getting treated better than another, but that is sadly how the world currently operates. How we can stop that?! I wish I knew… But the first step to solving a problem is accepting you have one. So, here’s my white privilege checklist:

  1. I don’t have to fear that my color will get me killed.
  2. I don’t fear cops
  3. If I call the police about a burglar in my home, I know they’re not gonna turn up and think I’m the burglar.
  4. I especially don’t fear being killed by a cop. Why would a cop kill me? Pff!
  5. A white person can murder a whole bunch of people and the police try to avoid shooting them.
  6. We whites can sue everyone for everything because we’re white.
  7. I don’t fear security officers.
  8. I don’t fear store owners.
  9. If I am walking home and think someone is following me, I can ask anyone for help, and they will probably do so.
  10. I know that justice is always on my side. And if it’s not, I can sue everyone.
  11. I know I can always find fair representation in any situation.
  12. I’m not likely to ever go to jail for a crime I did not commit.
  13. If I committed a small crime, I know I’d probably do community service for a short time whereas a black person would serve 10-20 years.
  14. What I say is considered more reliable than the words of someone of colour.
  15. I can be an asshole and people won’t say it’s because of the color of my skin.
  16. A white celebrity is a celebrity; a black celebrity is a black celebrity.
  17. I’m not expected to be grateful all the damn time.
  18. I’m not expected to say “thank you” to someone for not treating me like shit.
  19. I can easily get a loan. From a bank.
  20. People don’t assume I’m good at basketball.
  21. I can eat chicken every day; no-one is gonna say anything.
  22. People don’t stereotype the food I eat, my hair, nor the clothes I wear.
  23. People don’t fetishize the color of my skin and make assumptions about me based on it.
  24. I don’t have to change my name to get a job interview.
  25. If I get turned down for a job interview, I know it was because I suck at job interviews, not because of the color of my skin.
  26. People don’t assume the worst about me because of my race.
  27. People don’t ask me: “What do ‘your people’ think?”
  28. By default, band-aids are in my skin color.
  29. If I could afford an expensive car, I could drive it without people thinking I stole it.
  30. If I could afford a mansion, I could live in it without people thinking I’m a drug lordess.
  31. I’m allowed to have an opinion.
  32. I’m allowed to be angry.
  33. I can choose to ignore my race or not; speak about it or not. I’m not constantly reminded of my color. I’m not forced to be a spokesperson for my race all the time.
  34. My race is the default race. If I search on Google Images for: “man”, “woman”, “girl”, “boy”, “family”, “mail man”, “clerk”, or any other image of a person, I see images of my own race. By contrast, if I search: “black woman”, it asks if I want to refine by stereotypes like “angry” or “attitude”, or sexual definitions like “thick” and “voluptuous”.
  35. As a kid, I was told I could be anything I wanted to be and I knew it was true because…
  36. My race is represented EVERYWHERE – to the point where even white people end up sick of seeing white people!
    White people in politics.
    White people on TV.
    White people reading the white news.
    Giving me the white weather.
    White people on the chat shows.
    White people in the movies.
    White history documentaries.
    White people policing the streets.
    White people putting out the fires.
    White mayors and leaders.
    White doctors and white nurses.
    White people singing on the radio.
    White people dancing on the stage.
    White bank clerks giving me my white bank loan with a white smile.
    White people teaching me in school.
    From books by white authors.
    Who are written based on research conducted by white researchers.
    White people in the magazines.
    White fashions, white hair, white make-up.
    White people at the conference.
    White people DJing in the club.
    White stewardesses serving me white food on the big white plane!
    White people in my Twitter feed.
    White people in my YouTube feed.
    White people on WordPress.

And so on and so forth, ad nauseam, ad infinitum…

Yes, There Are Missing Girls In Washington D.C

0325-missing-girls-metro-pd-2-1200x630If you’re on social media, you may have seen an article doing the rounds with the title: “WHERE IS THE MEDIA?: At Least 25 Black Teen Girls Are Missing In D.C Since Feb 1st!”

Is it true? Not exactly… but it’s not far off. Yes, there are missing girls in Washington D.C but behind the headlines there’s more than meets the eye.

First of all, let’s take a minute to remember that the media is an evil distraction factory and a poor substitute for the police. We should not be outraged about ‘where the media is’ because the media is not a government department and does not find missing children, it merely reports skewed facts about missing children and feeds off public hysteria.

What we need to look at is the Washington DC Police Department. Now, a big reason for the sudden interest in missing black children is that this year the Washington Metropolitan Police Department started publishing missing person notices on their Twitter feed. Because of this people have more awareness of these missing person cases, which is a good thing, but people don’t seem to realize these are normal levels of missing person cases. This is not the Twilight Zone, these are just average stats for any major U.S city. Also because of the demographics of Washington DC, which has a majority black population, it’s likely to have more missing black people than other races.

Worldwide, an average of 85,000 people are missing at any given time (NamUs 2016), around 50% are typically white adult males with black people making up 37% globally and minors 40% (USA Today 2014). Around 12,000 people are currently missing in the U.S (NamUS 2016).

Back over in Washington DC, so far this year the Metropolitan Police Dept have logged 774 missing people cases (501 juveniles and 273 adults), of which only 38 currently remain unresolved. On the other hand, the Washington PD solved 736 missing person cases in the last 3 months alone, and 479 missing minors were found. It’s so easy to focus on the negatives and forget all the hard work the Washington police department puts into protecting its community.

As you might imagine, the figures for missing people change frequently as citizens are found or others go missing. The good news is the stats represent a steady drop in missing person cases since 2015 and the Washington PD reports only 9 remaining unresolved cases between 2012-2016, so the vast majority of people who go missing each year in the state are found.

Most young people who are reported missing are runaways and turn up soon after being reported, with very few cases remaining unsolved. However, many social media users worry that missing black girls will be trafficked. Unfortunately, there are no official figures on human trafficking in the US because cases are rarely reported or known, but no doubt young girls and particularly girls of ethnic minorities are more at risk of being trafficked or prostituted and further at risk of violence because of socio-economic factors which affect girls and people of color in the US.

“Our frustration is, we deal with a very desensitized public,” says Robert Lowry of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “The natural inclination is that the child’s behavioral problem is why they’ve left.” But sometimes these children are running away from “abuse or neglect or sexual abuse in the home”.

Of the 38 people missing in D.C, 22 are minors and 18 of them are listed as ‘critically 1490360160673missing’: “A critically missing child is one who is at an elevated risk of danger… A child’s age or mental/physical condition can be factors in determining whether a child is deemed to be critically missing” (NCMEC 2016).

“What the community is alarmed about,” says DC City Councilmember Trayon White, “[is] we had a 10-year-old girl missing the other day, but there was no amber alert.” White feels this was due to the child being black, although the strict guidelines of when a child can be considered to qualify for an amber alert may have affected the level of support received in this case. “AMBER plans require law enforcement to confirm an abduction prior to issuing an alert” (Office of Justice Programs 2017).

All in all, the conversation about missing children and the treatment of ethnic minorities is an important one and never unwarranted. “We applaud the conversation and we applaud the attention that this issue is being given” (Robert Lowry, NCMEC). It also appears that, with the current climate of anti-police sentiments and racial tension, police departments in the US have a long way to go in terms of building and maintaining public trust.