White Privilege

I was scrolling through Twitter this morning and noticed a disturbing trend, pointed out by many others retweeting.

It’s the most dangerous time to be a white person

And it made me realise that they are completely wrong. What they probably meant to say is, “It’s the most dangerous time to keep using my White Privilege to keep oppressing those people I consider inferior”.

I’m fairly removed from the racial divides of America but even a blind man could see this coming. It has been boiling ever since the Emancipation Proclamation. Powerful white people didn’t want to give up their privileges they had during slavery and twisted and turned the laws of the land to keep their former slaves enslaved.

Here in Australia White Privilege is rampant, no one discusses it much until a particularly bad incident makes it to the news but then it all dies down again as the media moves on to other, friendlier topics.

No country in the world is without a history of White Privilege and slavery. It may not have been formal slavery everywhere but Aboriginal people were subjugated, torn from their lands, forced to work for the White people, and treated like cattle. Like with the American racial issues, I’ve led a pretty sheltered life from Australia’s history of oppression. It’s not something that was covered in school history class.

I’ve traveled through rural and regional Australia and have seen the run down conditions of those remote settlements. It’s disheartening to know that us city folk live so well compared to them.

I think it was highly likely that the oppression in America and here would have continued unabated for decades to come were it not for the corona virus. Months of anguish, isolation, and anger at how it was being handled by the government brewed a violent concoction of fear and outrage. The spark that set this ablaze was the murder of a black man by a white cop in a painful and humiliating way, all over a counterfeit $20 note that the victim may not have even realised that he had.

In recent days the charges or Murder 3 have been upgraded to Murder 2 and the other police officers that were involved have also been arrested and charged with accessory to murder. It is a bit late to save the innocent man who had his life choked out of him but the sheer volume from the protestors have finally forced the justice system into action. This could be the start of the revolution, there is a monumental amount of work to be done to change the inherent systemic bias against people of colour both in America and here in our backyard.

We can’t stop now, the momentum is here, it needs to keep going. There is going to be violence, there are always groups of people that like to take advantage of turbulent times to their own gain but if everyone keeps pushing for justice for all victims of police brutality we can help those few good cops that are left to speak out without fear of reprisal, to then clean up the police system into a force that will protect people equally, regardless of the colour of their skin.

And yes, I realise that I am using a lot of White Privilege as I sit here in my comfortable house blogging about how people should keep getting out there protesting the injustices of racism.

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