Deconstructing “whiteness” won’t change my skin.

IMG_4949Mariel Rieland,
Seattle, WA.

I’m about as stereotypically European-American as you can get… Born to an upper-middle-class family, raised in the suburbs, graduating from a private Christian university. And yet, I’m a sociology major who studies systematic social inequality for a living. I’ve learned how to deconstruct the broken systems of race, gender, and class that influence all of our lives. I am passionate about changing these realities and working towards equality and freedom for all people, but I struggle with the fact that I will always be seen as “white.” My privilege is embedded in my skin, no matter how hard I try to distance myself from it or work beyond it. I know I will never understand what it is like to live as a POC, or as a social minority in general. I’m grateful for the privileges I’ve had, but I grieve at the fact that my very existence predicates upon a history of systematic violence and discrimination. Is it possible to redeem whiteness? That is the question I ask myself.


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