Privilege is Ability to Choose Blindness

Hannah Oh,
Provo, UT

I grew up thinking that “colorblindness” was laudable.
To be colorblind was to be “not a racist”.
When people brought up race to me, I thought how misguided they were to obsess over race instead of choosing to ignore race and look at people individually.

Then, one day, I was walking in the park with my husband, a Korean immigrant. We were pushing my sweet, beautiful 8 month old baby in her stroller, enjoying the summer and the perfectly manicured lawn and trees.

Suddenly, I remember hearing a truck revving nearby, and then I heard someone scream out at me.

I tried to ignore it, hoping I’d imagined it. My husband and I were walking faster, maybe just matching paces, maybe both racing forward. We started making stilted smalltalk.

Finally, he said, “You heard it, didn’t you?”

I started crying. “Yes.”

The young men had shouted at me, the white woman, “Hey, what are you doing with those Ch**ks?!”

He said that not just about my husband, who was minding his own business, but about our perfect, innocent baby.

That was the day I realized what white privilege is: White privilege is the ability to be colorblind. It is the ability to be ignorant of racism, because it is avoidable.

My daughters and my son will never have white privilege.

Being colorblind is a choice….but only for some.


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