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How to Use White Privilege

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"Truth" is one of the "Seven Grandfather Teachings" for the Ojibwa people here in Canada.

"Truth" is one of the "Seven Grandfather Teachings" for the Ojibwa people here in Canada.

Being "white" has its privileges. Some would like to disagree but this body was made "white" from design and has been so for over four decades. During this time, I have learned that "being white" can (in some places and some instances) be very useful. That "whiteness" comes with privileges.

Now, one has to know how to use their "whiteness" to make use of those privileges. The place and time are also important. I would not try to use my "white privilege" if I was in Somalia, or in China, or in India as a few quick examples. That wouldn't go well due to the lack of "whiteness" in those places.

This privilege does mainly exist in western societies, where power structures are dominantly white. By power structures I mean the government and those institutions/people closely affiliated with it. And it is important to mention here that not all white people take advantage of their white privilege. It really depends on the individual and circumstances that they are in.

I am of European heritage and I live in Canada so, I have "white privilege" and I have a place where I can use it too: the Canadian society because this society is more, or less controlled by white people. Sure, there are minorities sprinkled around but most of the politicians and people in positions of power are white. So, in this society I know my place in the minds of many who hold positions of power: "I am one of You."

That thought of: "I am one of You", or "You are one of us" (when it comes to colour of skin) always comes from the mind-set of racial divides. That is how "white privilege" survives and flourishes, only in those minds that differentiate others by race. Thus, the interactions of such people with others will depend on the races of those "others". That is the frame-work in which many people live their lives and create the world around them.

Knowing all of this, let's take for example many times I have been face to face with police officers at protests and most of them are white. I let the officers know that "I know my rights", that "there will be absolutely no bullying on their part", and that "we will hold respect towards one another or else things will end badly for everyone and none of us want that". I let them know that I am setting clear boundaries and will not have it any other way. I am coming from a position of power and in such circumstances they have always left me alone, in the last twenty years of my activism. They do not want any part of the game I am playing. This, while Native friends get arrested, trampled and abused.

Here, some might say that I am venting my ego but I am not. My people/tribe fought-off the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, we've overcome a dictatorship in a bloody revolution which I lived through and so, I have no fears. I know that sometimes lives have to be put on the line. We've done so for thousands and thousands of years.

It is very important to set the tone among those living in a racially-divided mind-set. They understand power and "white privilege" has always been upheld through power, force and violence. We conquered the world. We subdued nations, destroyed countries, wiped-out indigenous people; if You disagreed, we killed You. The feeling of "superiority" is what feeds "white privilege" at its core.

In the face of a white cop stuck in that racial-divided mentality, I am an "equal" (and one who doesn't look like it would be a good idea/worth to mess around with) but when they are faced with a Native person well, those are the guys we nearly wiped out. They're just an inconvenience now so, they can be taken out of the community and left to freeze to death on an ice road, in the middle of a Canadian winter night. That's what happens sometimes, when You don't have "white privilege" here in Canada.

In my twenties I wanted to go to be part of the "human shields" movement in Palestine. Many people from the international community did it, helping Palestinian families with daily errands as they could not go out of their homes because they were afraid that Israeli soldiers would shoot them (this was during the Second Intifada). If You were Canadian, or British, or French, Israeli soldiers would not be so keen to shoot You down but being Palestinian without any "white privilege" your life was not that significant. And if someone thinks here: "But Palestinians are white!" They are not in those minds which operate on racial divides. Palestinians just like Persians, are regarded as/called: "sand-n*****s".

I never made it to Palestine at that time but I take the "human shield" role at Native protests to which I go to here. White cops will have to try to beat their "own" before they can get to the Native people and I'm one of those white people who remembers our thousands of years of wars in Europe. I'm educated/privileged and I'm ready if I have to be. So, to my fellow white people living in that racially-divided mind-set and who like to oppress others: careful, your time is just about over.

I am white and not only white and ready for whatever but that type of white people who can get expensive to deal with. Often times, white people come with lawyers, lawsuits and connections (all part of that white privilege heritage). That's why for the most part, those white people who know how to use/take advantage of their white privilege, will get around things and places easier in our racially divided western world. It's the simple truth. Money always helps: if You're white and have money too, You're almost untouchable. Just look at Trump and how he instigated the insurrection on Capitol Hill the other day: an example of white privilege, crystal-clear for everyone to see. What would have happened if Obama would have encouraged thousands of black people to storm Capitol Hill? Just think about it.

All the best to everyone!

Which Side

Comments

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on January 10, 2021:

"loop holes that don't exist for a white person for instance like welfare" - So, white people do not get welfare Mrs. Arledge? That sure doesn't sound right. Would You like to revise that?

"I find it hard to believe that during a protests you are the only ones left alone" - Among my 179 articles You can find many showing proof of my being at all sorts of protests from as far back as 2001. Never have I been arrested, assaulted, or bullied. That is not the case for many of my Native friends. They get assaulted all the time. You should come to a protest with me and You will see. Even in Tampa I was fine at protests there some ten years ago.

I do agree with You that: "We should all learn to accept one another as fellow human beings & this world would be a better place."

Thank You for your comment and all the best!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on January 10, 2021:

Mr Happy,

This article is written well, but I am not certain about the way you use "white" privilege.

Donald Trump is not using "white privilege "....He is just a Bully.

He has learned to push people around to get his way.

Minorities & those of color seem to get their way through loop holes that don't exist for a white person for instance like welfare, but that's another story.

I find it hard to believe that during a protests you are the only ones left alone...it does not matter what color your skin is if you use your common sense and behave like a proud American.

People destroy American dreams during outbursts at protests when they really have no idea why they are even protesting...it's not like protests in the good ole days. They stood for something.

We should all learn to accept one another as fellow human beings & this world would be a better place.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on January 10, 2021:

There is much work to do if we are going to have fairer societies, Mrs. Komori. I appreciate your comment. Thank You.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on January 10, 2021:

Thank You for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment, Mr. Hansen - cheers!

Takako Komori from Yokohama, Japan on January 10, 2021:

You make very valid points. I lived in Waterloo, Ontario for more than 5 years and noticed that although there are racial minorities, the government consists mainly of white people. It would be easier to exercise white privilege in such a society since the proper connections (to politicians especially) are already present. It would probably more difficult to exercise the same privilege in Hawaii where the majority are Asians.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 09, 2021:

A well-written and very relevant article, Mr. Happy. You really described white privilege very well with your examples.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on January 09, 2021:

Thank You, Mr. Dierker. I am happy You enjoyed the read. All the very best to You and yours as well!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 09, 2021:

Best to you and yours. I found this profoundly interesting. Seems quite accurate.

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