Always grateful to be born white.

Mary Ann Denning
Corning, NY

I grew up in a 100% white small city in Western NY. Although sheltered from race issues, from a young age I was aware that I was very fortunate to have been born white. Nearby Buffalo had it’s race difficulties and I was able to have an easier life by birthright. Guess I have felt that it was a crapshoot as to what body I was born into and I sure got lucky!

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

22 Responses to "Always grateful to be born white."
  1. Pam says:

    Unfortunate and misguided?

  2. Mary Ann says:

    Too bad, you must have read this wrong. I am humbled by the unwarranted opportunites given to me by virtue of the color of my skin. It’s not right or fair. This country and world have a LONG way to go.

    Mary Ann

  3. Tim Childs says:

    Maybe grateful sounds, although I understand what you mean, a bit like what the white supremacists are saying; in your case, I think it’s just an unfortunate choice of words, but I know exactly what you mean. White people tend to dominate everywhere, it’s not right or fair, but just the truth. As a Christian, I pray everyday that He gives me a life where I won’t dominate or otherwise oppress anyone else, and no one will dominate or oppress me. As a white person, although from a poor background where I have struggled to make something of myself, I try just to understand that God loves ALL of us equally; ‘There is no favouritism with God’ (Romans 2:11 NJB) This is not a Christian homily or platitude of any kind, it is truth. Racism, or any kind of prejudice, is not from God.

    • CaliDreamGurl says:

      Well stated…Your reply was much less emotional than mine…*deep sigh* :o)

      • Tim Childs says:

        That’s very kind of you. I just read your comment too, and it was also refreshingly honest. God made us different, but like separate parts of a jigsaw puzzle we all need each other or the picture won’t be complete! It is easy to hate, but so much harder to love, tolerate and respect the other person.

      • Kica says:

        But I, as a Black woman understand your emotion.

  4. Tamara Padgett says:

    She’s not tacky just honest…and as a black person I appreciate her honesty….there are too many white folks running around pretending they have no advantages, that society isn’t geared toward rewarding them just for being white…or worse actually thinking they are victims and are the disadvantaged ones..(not saying some whites dont have disadvantes, i.e poor whites in Appalachia)…but…in this day and age, in this society, there are still advantages to being white… this young lady seems to be grounded in reality and I appreciate her honesty and candor.

    • The main comment sounds like overcompensation for white guilt. You say there are many advantages given to Whites. Where are they? Gimme some! Just kidding. Life is a challenge for everyone. And, there are lots of disadvantaged Whites throughout America, (not just in the stereotypical Appalachia). We all make assumptions, whether accurate or not…

      • Tamara Padgett says:

        Hi Andrew, sorry just now reading your reply. I am not on here everyday and didn’t even know I could check my DISQUS comments…LOL…My husband is white, and no this is not my ( I have a white husband defense..LOL) and yes my husband struggles with challenges of daily life just like everyone else…and in this day and age there are a lot of obstacles based more on class than race, which everyone below a specific socio-econonic strata will suffer..That being said, there is still racial discrimination that may not be as blatant but still there…take for instance…a name say my name was Shaniqua..there have been studies shown that people will assume that person is black and not interview or hire them…its racial discrimination…can you PROVE it probably not…Also I live in a small town outside of Indianapolis, and frankly there are just some places I WONT go that are less than 50 miles from where I live..maybe I would be perfectly safe…I won’t risk it and especially with my husband..cause at the very least I would be looked at with suspicion…now my husband he could go to those places ALONE (in other words, not with his black wife and no one would bat an eye…and I am not saying there are places my husband could not go without feeling unsafe…whites help more whites get into un-advertised private jobs (non-government), is this done purposely with the specific intent of racism?…Not really, just so happens whites know other white, and the people they know are the ones they help…so its actually more a case of nepotism than anything…but the result is still the as more whites and blacks form personal relationships with one another this may also change..The economic downturn has been shown to disproportionately effect blacks more than whites..was this purposefully done with intentional racism?…probably not, just so happens that whites had a leg up when it came to generational wealth, being wealthier for longer, having access to societal advantages than just say the last 30-40 years of the civil rights movement that blacks have had the same access. Longer access to societal advantages gives one the opportunity to build wealth over a longer period and possibly pass that on to future generations. Higher percentages of blacks had the majority of their networth tied into their homes, so when housing went under, there went biggest source of black wealth..not to mention blacks were more likely to have taken out the subprime loans…so no this is not me whining about what a pain it is to be black, or saying that every white person just has it loads easier than black people, and that white people don’t struggle…Just pointing out some facts of how society is and has been…not saying that it can’t and won’t change…ANNNNND….what is this white guilt that I hear so much about???…I can tell you at least one white person that I know very well who doesn’t subscribe to this so called “white guilt”…why is recognizing that one may possess advantages for whatever reason, mean they subscribe to some sort of guilt?…I don’t get it…My husband can walk in our neighborhood without people picking up the phone to call the police, or assume he may be here to rob someone…that’s a fact, not white guilt..he doesn’t feel any guilt about it..its just a fact, it is what it is…its not his fault therefore he has no reason to be guilty…this young lady that wrote the original post, does not appear to feel guilt, and she shouldn’t feel guilty..she just realizes she was lucky and that she has certain advantages…just as a person who is strikingly gorgeous has advantages over other people..

        • Krane says:

          I don’t know about that, I’d say if there was really racial discrimination, Blacks wouldn’t fill in the “Black” box on college applications or job applications, the fact that they do tells you that they expect to get an advantage.
          One of the things about those name studies, to my knowledge they were all done based on low-skilled jobs, fry cooks and such. Whites, especially White women, can’t walk down the ghetto without fearing violence, so “looks of suspicion” doesn’t really do it for me. Once again you display the liberal logic of “White are wealthier, the wealthy have privilege, therefore, Whites have privilege.” A upper class Black would have those class-based advantages that a poor White would not, yet affirmative action benefits the upper class Black(Before you say that “the exception proves the rule,” consider that the majority of Black college students, who likely benefited from affirmative action, are upper class). Of course many of the (literally)poor are poor because of stupid decisions, not “my family was poor so I’m poor.” Just look at correlations of poverty with drug use, criminal behavior, sexual behavior, ect. Racial profiling is a reality, but have you ever wondered why? Blacks commit crime at about seven times the White rate. Humans by nature recognize patterns like this. It is the same reason Whites(and Blacks who can afford to), prefer not to live in the ghetto. Is everyone who lives in the ghetto a criminal? Of course not, but living in the ghetto significantly increases one’s chance of being a crime victim. Blacks clearly prefer living among Whites and being profiled to living among other Blacks an being robbed.(or worse)

          • Tamara Padgett says:

            I agree with some of your statement sand take issue with some things. 1.) I never said that all whites are wealthy and privieged because they have access to genrational wealth. And I don’t display any “liberal logic” that says that “whites are wealthier, and therefore white are more advantaged. Please go back and re-read my statement. I was obviously speaking in generalizations, and averages and not lumping every single white person into the same bowl as it were…and I would say that you are displaying some type of “conservative bias” making the assumption that I am a liberal which BTW I am not..If anything, I consider myself politically independent with libertarian leanings, I voted for Ron Paul in the primary and would have voted for him if he had won the nomination…but that is neither here nor there, back to my comments. Again, I never said a white person wouldn’t have real fear walking through certain neighborhoods in this country, in fact I was very fearful when my husband and I went to Detroit 3 years ago to pick up my stepson, especially fearful for my husband…was I racially profiling, perhaps…but fear has evolved in humans over thousands of years to allow us to protect ourselves it …it is what it is…But even with all the Detroits and other urban areas where a white person may feel endangered there are 10 times that of rural areas where I say, as a black woman might be fearful, don’t believe me? Just download any map of the US and see how many areas there are of urban vs rural, majority white vs. majority black. As it is here in Indiana, once you get outside of the major metropolitan areas you will see demographics change from almost 100% black to almost 100% white. And there are many more rural areas in the US than major metropolitan areas, statistics wlll bear out this fact…So as to the point I was making with my original statement…there are more places that I am fearful of going alone, than there are places that my husband would fear going alone

            Now onto the things that I agree with you on…It has definitely been proven that blacks from a higher socio-economic background have benefited from affirmative action…Now the only thing I need to know is the actual statistics…how many higher income blacks have benefited over lower income whites, or other lower income blacks for that matter? I honestly don’t know, but would be very interested to know this number, and to know if people are receiving government benefits that really do not need it…unfortunately this kinda things happens ALL THE TIME, as with any goverment program so it is not surprising. And of course I obviously prefer living in the small 98% town that I live in vs living in a high crime area…however, just to make a is not only majority black areas that are subject to high crime but areas that are majority poor white also have very high crime..this appears to be more of a class issue than a race issue…and I prefer to be anywhere where the class of people living around me are honest, hardworking people…And again to give an example to the point I was making before about race and generational wealth… my husband, came from a family with a wealthy background his great grandfather worked hard and amassed wealth by owning several car dealerships in the small town where they lived in the 30’s and 40’s…Fast forward to now, my grandfather -in-law, the son of this very ambitious and hardworking man..hardly has a pot to piss in at the age of 76, he barely gets enough SS to live on and has mortgaged and re-morgtaged his house to the point that he will never have the opportunity to ever own it…some of this was life circumstances…but the rest was very poor choices made which he will freely admit to…and thus he has no “wealth” to pass on to subsequent generations…,My family, on the other hand came from extreme poverty in MS, my grandmother grew up amongst intense, violent racial discrimination…in spite of that, she managed to better herself by moving north, go to school, obtain an education and start her own business as well as working in a mother also went to college and instilled in me the value of an education…and although I would say there is no real “wealth” to pass on..I can say that my grandmother did buy and pay her home off in a short amount of time, my mother as well as myself have done the same…although none of this was because we had a “leg up” it was strictly due to hard work and discipline….So I must admit I do find it hard to have sympathy for people who started off in this world with every financial advantage and yet still find themselves in difficult circumstances due to poor choices..

  5. CaliDreamGurl says:

    You may be grateful for some reasons…and you may not have to fight some of the obstacles of race…but when your FACE starts to wrinkle (in your 30’s), with crows-feet, redness, age spots and sagging skin all over…you’ll wish you were Black! I, on the other hand… am grateful to have been born BLACK! I love my chocolate skin, my hair that I can wear curly or straight ( I get tons more complements with it curly BTW)…and yes, I was raised in an awesome mixed upper middle class neighborhood, by an amazing-simply fantastic father (all of the men in my family are/were good BLACK men), and a wonderful mom (who is in her 80’s and looks like she’s in her 60’s or 70’s)!!!!!

    So I am: Always grateful NOT have been born white

    • Krane says:

      Well look at that. An upper-class Black admits that life is easy. Sort of. Blacks age better than Whites, but they also die younger.

  6. Daryl Denning says:

    I am quite biased here. Mary Ann is my wife! She and I have both expressed the same sentiment about America’s birthrights as disproportionately in favor of whites. Finding the right choice of words for our advantage of this over most folks of color is a touchy thing. Since making our statements to each other about our easier road to travel as whites, I learned of my own diversity. My great-grandfather passed as white, to afford his family better opportunities. His father was a Corporal with the NY 26th Regiment of US Colored Infantry in the Civil War. He was wounded with a minie ball in his leg in battle in 1864 at Johns Island SC. My great-great-grandfather’s nephew was wounded that day as well. Another died of disease in SC. On Dec. 11, 2006, 100 years to the day of his death, I stood at my great-great-grandfather’s grave. I lit a luminary. I placed a flag in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) flag holder I had purchased. I read aloud the beautifully written GAR Creed by a local woman who became a Washington State Senator. My great-great-grandfather was a proud member of the color guard of the local GAR. He had a brother who passed as white and served in a white regiment, living the rest of his days as white, to avail his family of that easier road to follow. I am conflicted about that, but they were faced with difficult choices I cannot evaluate. They had a brother “light mulatto” who helped fugitive slaves escape to Canada. I am proud of my mixed race ancestry. It has been a spiritual experience, making my “white” life much richer and I feel my soul connected to those good folks of color who came before me. I have also been blessed to have Mary Ann as my soul mate, sharing with me gladly all that we have been learning about my ancestry. We are limited by our life experiences and language that might not do justice to the injustice of racism. But we are sickened by the injustices and are inspired by those who elevate themselves above this, as Dr. King inspired. I will be at the mall on August 24th. Not far away is the US Colored Troops memorial, where I have been moved by the many Denning names engraved upon it. My Dennings. Who fought for justice. They are with me always. I am grateful for that, too, among my many blessings.

  7. Jay Grabow says:

    I think that most white people don’t feel privileged, so some are insulted when we say that they are. Most people have obstacles to overcome in everyday life. I’m white, and I struggle – as do most of the white people I know. (To be sure, I know many whites who do not struggle AT ALL.) If whites were to walk a mile in an African American’s shoes, THEN they’d realize just what is meant by “white privilege”. Think of your own struggles as a white person, then add racial discrimination to that burden and see how much harder it is to get by.

  8. Krane says:

    I am grateful to be born White too. I’m grateful to have White(and Jewish) genes, which endow me with intelligence that is rare among Blacks. I’m grateful to have White parents, who took care of me as a child. I’m grateful that I never had to experience, or partake it, violence. I’m grateful to have been raised in a White area, a peaceful, clean, safe area. I’m grateful that, unlike the people in Africa, my ancestors built a great nation, full of peace and prosperity. I do not deny that life for the average Black is worse than life for the average White. I just don’t think that it is my fault or that because of it my people should have to give up our good life and suffer genocide.

    • Ashley says:

      Krane, ignorance is truly bliss in your case. Educate yourself on black heritage and culture. Or better yet, take a clue from the white man who said,” it is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

  9. M'Karyl Gaynor says:

    Mary Ann:

    Do not feel in anyway negative about what you expressed…honesty is good…and I think if people really take the time to read it properly…it is not a bad comment…and yes, being born white has allowed you some privileges that excluded racial discrimination and it concomitant issues to overshadow your life…but you did not choose that…you only choose who you are…and thank your husband to for responding…xooxox

  10. snuffy smith says:

    I’ll never feel guilty being white. That kind of mentality is for sick liberals.

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