Feeling guilty for my ivory privilege

Matt Spencer
West Hollywood, CA

I am well-aware of the privilege that I enjoy growing up white in America. Very rarely does my race cross my mind. My Caucasian race is not how people define or understand me. Men don’t cross the street when I approach them and women don’t clutch their purses. Nobody asks me “what I am.” What I am is the majority, and with that comes the convenient privilege of being society’s “standard default” race. I cringe in shame to hear white people say that racism died with slavery, that affirmative action is reverse racism, that the playing field is already even. I cringe because I know from my many Asian, Latino, African-American and other ethnic minority friends that racism is far from dead. As a gay man, I understand well the experience of being judged and discriminated for who I am. One distinction between my minority identity and that of a racial minority, however, is that my sexual orientation isn’t printed across my face. It isn’t something I have to face every time I leave my house. I feel guilty for my white privilege. I feel even guiltier though, that – given the choice – I wouldn’t change it if I could.

 

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