White people are still people

Sheila Parkins,
Canada

I’m so tired of all the racial ideologies going around today. I’m white. My parents are immigrants from Europe. Growing up in Canada, it’s actually Native people that tend to get the worst of the racism as a group, though individual acts of racism can happen toward anyone.

But you know, I never had an issue with any of that. My best friend as a child was Native. I have half-Native family members; my ex-fiancee is half-Native. I’ve had all sorts of friends, and dated people, who were from all kinds of racial backgrounds – black, Indian, East Asian, immigrants, locals. I didn’t care how they looked, and their ethnic backgrounds were interesting to me, just as much as my own is.

But things have shifted. Now, it’s “wrong” to be white.
A lot of people lament the privilege thing…. oh yes, cos growing up low-income, moving ever 2 years for my entire life (if not more often than that), having my parents fight and then split as a kid, and then spending my teen years helping to raise my younger siblings is soooo privileged. Not to mention college, where I struggled to get any scholarships because most of them required you to have volunteer experience (let’s be real here, nobody who can’t afford college will be volunteering because they need that time to work to earn a living). So much white privilege.

That’s insulting. But even worse is that I can’t give an opinion without someone pointing out that I’m white, and because I’m white, I apparently can’t possibly have any valid observations on anything where race might possibly be a factor. I can’t experience racism because I’m white. Nope, it’s impossible. That time some random Middle Eastern chick threw eggs at me from her balcony as I walked by and shouted “white trash” at me? Not racism. Those times (cos there were several) where I was out shopping and random Native people confronted me to rant about how “we” stole “their” land (& who later got sheepish when I told them my parents are immigrants and not even from the countries that colonized Canada.)? Not racism. The idea that everyone of my race is inherently racist and naturally want to conquer and subjugate? Not racist. Hell, even the white kid I knew who lived in a very rural area near a Native reserve, who was bullied as a kid for being white, to the point where he was beaten and held down while they paper-cut his eyeballs – well the white kid is *still* privileged in that scenario, apparently.

I’m so sick of it. What’s worse is that it’s starting to sort of subconsciously change my attitude. As I said, I’ve never been one to judge based on skin colour or ethnic heritage. But lately, I find myself hesitant to talk to people who aren’t white (and to a lesser degree, white people who I suspect may lean this way) because so many of them have leveled some kind of accusation of racism or bigotry at me over any opinion I have, any joke I make, any accidental benign misstep when I ask them about their own heritage or personal background. I don’t want to deal with it, and even though I know not everyone is like that, I find myself becoming subconsciously cautious and more insular because I just don’t wanna deal with that negative, accusatory attitude anymore.

So you know, congrats, woke people, you’re out there creating tensions, emotional exhaustion, and mistrust where there was none before. Good job.

At least I’m self-aware enough to realize I’m doing it and try to mentally counteract it. I hope there’ll be a day again soon, though, where my natural trusting nature can come back at full steam.

 

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