White Privelege

I’m sorry.

Apologies are not something to go amiss, especially by me.  In fact, I apologize even when there isn’t anything to apologize for.  I don’t know if it is a result of situations from my past or just an over-courteous nature, but I excuse myself to the point of annoying friends and family.  Recently, I read an article about whites feeling like they have to apologize for circumstances beyond their control and we should stop this.  It got me thinking.

Why do I apologize for who I am?  Okay, so when I apologize, I am frequently doing it as a result of something I did or think I did.  However, I don’t intentionally try to oppress people or offend them.  In that regard, please understand the tone in which I have started to stop apologizing for mere accidents of my birth.

What do I mean by a mere accident of my birth?  I mean circumstances in which I had no control over.  These circumstances include my genetic heritage which has left me with predominately white coloring and my financial inheritance.  I didn’t ask to be affluent.  I couldn’t demand to be white.  Now, I made choices which have allowed me financial peace since my birth, but I didn’t select my family that allowed for easier financial freedom.  I was born this way.  God put me in this particular time and place.

I do have sympathy for the plight of the poor and for the injustice against particular races.  However, I don’t think it is the government’s right to tax me and divide my earnings to other people.  Charity should be an act of free will, not coercion or force.  If we are not careful, this decision to tax people so that there is equal wage despite merit or effort, we will enter the realm of communism where the government elite prosper and common citizens are left without a voice.

Also, I understand that slavery has impacted our country.  However, I don’t personally own slaves.  My parents did not own slaves.  Why then, is it considered a requirement of true justice and sympathy for me to fund a minority’s college expenses?  To me, affirmative action is simply reverse discrimination.  Scholarships and awards should be given based on effort, not by the color of your skin.

Some people will argue with me that minorities have had fewer opportunities in life and thus can’t break the cycle of poverty and oppression.  My father is a white male and as such, his struggle with childhood poverty isn’t often acknowledged.  He was the son of two Swedes, one legalized immigrant.  Growing up, my dad would live in campgrounds, shower in cold water, and have scarce rations of food.  He put himself through college.  On the first attempt, he failed out because he liked to party.  Needing money, he decided to enter the Air Force.  After seven years, he entered college again and graduated with honors.  Now, yes the military did assist with college funds and this isn’t a route for every person, but he still made decisions to get himself out of the poverty he was born into rather than bemoaning his circumstances and playing a victim.  Also, I’ve seen Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities rise from the ashes of poverty.  These individuals didn’t demand hand-outs, but worked hard to get themselves debt-free or educated so they could start to make themselves debt-free.

It isn’t impossible to get out of the projects.  There are programs to assist individuals in difficult situations.  Even welfare is good if only used temporarily and as a stepping stone to greater “success” (if we define success by American idealism, which is a debate in and of itself).  One program in NJ that helps people get education  and housing when they are going through a tough time is Family Promise.  You can live in their buildings with daycare offered while getting loans for college courses.  Is it hard? Yes.  Impossible? No.

Please do not misunderstand me.  I’m not saying that poverty is a choice.  Sometimes no matter how hard someone tries to get out of the pit of financial duress, they can’t.  It isn’t always the fault of the individual.  Poverty isn’t always a result of laziness. Engaging in media outlets isn’t any more of a vice for a pauper than it is for a rich person.  (Sometimes my language and tirades on TV might make it appear this way, but poor folk have just as much a privilege to watch TV as rich people. They shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or accused of slothfulness as a result.)

I’m not entirely against welfare either.  I just know too many abusing the system and using it for years on end.  I think it should be a temporary form of assistance.  I’m not sure how to prevent system abuse, but there should be regulations in place to minimize the occurrence of such offenses.

My main point isn’t in why poverty exists and how to abolish it.  I’m not quite sure why it does or how to eradicate it.  I just think it isn’t the government’s job to stipulate where I give my money and who gets it.  I think individuals are far more capable of making decisions for themselves than a select few of elected officials.  Government’s role is to protect its citizens from invasion and ensure health through transportation and emergency services.  Note: Healthcare itself should be competitive and offered by private corporations.  Insurance should also be competitive too and monopolies should be forbidden.  If we study socialized healthcare, and especially Obamacare, we find out it is more expensive.

Perhaps, we can offer civics courses and budgeting instruction in public schools.  I also like pay incentives to high-performing teachers to teach in high-risk locations to better the education system in the inter-city.  Education is a viable and valuable tool in helping break the bonds of oppression and extreme poverty.  (I know that this language is making it seem like I think poverty is a result of laziness and choice.  I understand it isn’t in some cases.    In those instances, the church should be providing for the people, not the government.)

The church should also not require people to give.  Charity should be motivated by a heart for God and people should give what they can and want to give.  The more people are taxed unnecessarily, the less they have to give to others.  People have to carry their own load too.  You don’t want to become a financial burden to others by giving so much you can’t pay your own bills.

Needless to say, I don’t want to continue to feel bad or be made to feel guilty for circumstances beyond my control.  Just because I’m white and come from a family with money doesn’t mean I haven’t had difficulties in my life.  (I’m short and I don’t notice the world accommodating my stature to great lengths.  I’ve had to live with it and make changes to my life to deal with being a short person in a tall world.  I also get made fun of a lot, but I can choose to sulk or prove that my height doesn’t have to stop me from reaching high cabinets.  I realize this is a bit of a petty comparison.) I have had struggles and had to move past them rather than become debilitated by them.

I am also a feminist.  This might confuse some people.  I am not the kind that thinks women should be given special privileges based on gender.  I’m also not fighting for men to be silenced and I don’t think they are all useless sacks wasting oxygen.  I want to fight to give women a voice and make sure they are recognized for the efforts they contribute to society.  Now, I could just sit around and talk about injustice and how women are still treated poorly in society or I can be an agent for the change I wish to see.  I don’t have to be a helpless victim.  Instead, I can be an advocate, raising awareness, and being a champion for women here and around the world who might be scared to speak up.  Government has been less helpful for assisting women be recognized than individual people fighting for cases they were passionate about.

I’m for the minimization of government control in individual lives.  Government bureaucracy has only ever left desolation and corruption in its quake.  People gain power , can get prideful, and harm the very people they tried to represent.  If people are left largely to govern their own families, communities, and states, we might witness the very revolution of change we hoped to see.  (I think that makes sense in my mind and hopefully yours.  I hope these are not just nonsensical ramblings. Then again, my eyes are becoming bleary from staring at a screen and I’m tired from night-feeding my toddler.)

Yeah, I fear Trump, Cruz, Bernie ,or Hillary becoming president.  I’m curious how these became our top nominations in this year’s election.  However, I find comfort knowing God is in control.  He works all things for his glory.  Society is sustained by his hand, spread through and in his people, more than it will ever be by a single individual, usually not God-fearing, as President of the United States of America.  If these are our choices though, I am doing a write in nomination.  That is my right and privilege as a United States citizen.  I know that my true citizenship is in heaven as a child of God though; thank the Lord for that because this election is a disgrace.

(I don’t want to keep apologizing to the world for the things these white folks are saying and the misrepresentation they are giving to my race and for some, my God.)

Was any of this coherent or was it a rabbit trail?  I might have tried to address too many ideas and topics herein.  Apparently I haven’t be freed of apologizing yet and I seem to be ending this post with regrets and condolences.  Why do I feel the need to ask forgiveness for controversial thought and opinion.  People are allowed to disagree and that is part of the beautiful aspect of humanity.  We are made better through challenging thought, testing, and questions, not in having everyone agree and not be offensive.  We will always offend somebody regardless how hard we try not to.  I should really stop this post before I keep rambling and spend the next several paragraphs apologizing.

Parents, and perhaps people in general, need more sleep.

End.

 

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2 Replies to “White Privelege”

  1. I personally do think there are systemic injustices in place in America that make it harder for minorities to get out of poverty and live lives equal to white America. I just read “Between the World and Me” and wow, was that both a challenging and powerful book.

    I also think it’s the government’s job to take care of its people, and that means taxing some to give to others. I’m very much in favor of that, because many won’t do it themselves and give according to their own privilege. But I understand how many find this problematic.

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