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On Being Privileged

August 14, 2017

Note: I identify as a biracial (Asian and white), straight, privileged woman. 

I’ve thought about writing about this topic for a long time, so here it goes! In light of what’s happened over the past few days, I figured now is the time to step it up. It’s time to talk about racism and privilege in America.

Why are we lifestyle bloggers so afraid to talk about what’s happening right in front of us?

To start with, if you’re wondering about exactly what’s happened this weekend, check out this article from the Washington Post, detailing the events in Charlottesville. It covers the rally, the counter protesters, the violence, and the response. It talks about the gritty details that we all cannot seem to agree on. The same details that I have been arguing with others about since the events took place.

A car running through a crowd of people. Photo courtesy of Joe Heim, Ellie Silverman, T. Rees Shapiro, Emma Brown (Washington Post)

How is this level of blatant hate and racism still alive and well in America? Aren’t we past it? What on earth did the Holocaust and WWII Japanese internment camps and slavery and the Trail of Tears teach us? Nothing? I guess less than I thought.

For the purposes of honesty, let’s call the white nationalists what they are: Nazis. They are Nazis. They are frequently pictured holding swastika flags and other nazi images. The rhetoric they use is the same as the Nazi party during WWII. They openly and unabashedly march, yell, and salute exactly like Nazis did in the 1940s. And over the course of the last few days, that’s the most common thing I’ve responded to people with during online debates. “Hey, yeah, let’s remember we’re talking about literal Nazis.” “Sure, freedom of speech, but you’re defending Nazis.” “These people are Nazis.” And what kills me is how many (white) people don’t seem to get that. Or maybe just choose not to.

I am tired of arguing with white men about the 1st Amendment in regards to Nazis. I’m tired of defending the counter protesters who were brave enough to show up. I’m tired of blocking assholes on twitter who can’t seem to say anything besides “white is right.” But at the end of the day, I’m not the kind of person that those hateful, racist Nazis are focused on. It’s not about me.

Depending on where I am in the world, I could pass as almost any ethnicity, including, in some cases, white. I’m straight. I’m upper-middle class. I fit into the American ideal standard of beauty. People like me are not the focus of this hate. In that sense, I’m incredibly privileged.

So going back to what happened this weekend: this is not about me. This hate is not focused on someone like me, but it does still have its effect. Because if it’s not me now, next time it might be, or the time after that or the time after that. It is never too early to stand up to hate. I stand with those on the right side of history. I stand with those who know that free speech is not an excuse to spew hate and fear. I stand with the counter protesters, the Nazi punchers, the brave people who openly scream ‘no’ to racism, with BLM, with Holocaust survivors, with immigrants. The list goes on.

A sign at the Phoenix Women’s March

I can’t offer much, but I can say I will be an ally. I will use my position of power to give voice to what is happening in the world. And I will continue to remember that this is not about me.

Additional reading:

Yes, You’re Racist Twitter 

An Op Ed from The Root on Privilege 

Things You Can Do Right Now Re: Charlottesville (list)

 

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