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Tue Jul 12, 2016, 07:46 PM


White Privilege, White Responsibility

A few days ago, a friend posted on Facebook regarding the shooting of Alton Sterling. My response:

I don't know how to respond to these types of posts anymore. I'm a white male, and a passive recipient of white privilege, but I don't know what to do to change things. I'm empathetic, but ultimately will never have to deal with the often life-threatening challenges that POC face every damned day of their lives, so how empathetic can I really be? Everything that I can do seems insignificant when measured against the terrorism (yeah, terrorism) of institutional racism. I can only try to teach my sons to be better humans than their dad, help them to teach their children the same, and then pray that a generational change will clean up the mess that hate and fear leave in their wake.

Cold comfort...that's all I have, and I am so sorry...

But today I read this article on US Uncut:

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is “a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice.” Protesting with signs saying “White silence is violent” and “You don’t have to be black to be outraged,” around 50 people took part in the demonstration.

The organizers read the names of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, along with the names of other victims of police brutality, before taking to the streets. They eventually stopped at City Hall, where they made speeches and had a moment of silence for the lives lost.

“We benefit from white privilege,” said SURJ organizer John Bergen. “And, we come from a situation where black lives don’t matter.”

Bergen believes that white people should “step up” and voice their support for minorities who are suffering constant injustices at the hands of the police.


I was wrong. I have more to offer than cold comfort. If I benefit from White Privilege, and remain silent about racism, I'm a part of the problem. If you do the same, you're a part of the problem too.

We may not pursue privilege, but we don't have to use that as an excuse to avoid responsibility. White privilege is not a POC problem, it's a white problem. We broke this, SURJ can help us fix what we've broken. Contact them here:


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