White privilege makes me feel sickened.

Jaime Misky,
Milwaukee, WI

I chose these six words because they have been a harsh reality I have learned as I grew up. From K4-5th grade, I went to a school in which I was very much a minority. Though many teachers were white and there were classmates who shared the same skin color, most of my peers did not look like me. However, this is not something I ever really thought about. I did not see color. My classmates were my friends. We played together at recess, shared stories and secrets, braided each other’s hair, jumped rope, held hands, and simply loved one another for the people we were. The best part was having the opportunity to experience these changes together. The following years brought significant learning curves from every side. We shared tough conversations that were ultimately life-altering. Through talking to one another we learned about each other’s cultures, the foods our mom’s like to cook, our different religions, the injustice blacks face in America especially, all spectrums of racism, white privilege, and more. We learned respect. In finally acknowledging our differences, and learning our common ground, we better understood one another and could more fluidly look past those differences to the people we knew before the prejudices of the world came crashing down on us.

I learned that it is important to see color and to recognize my own privilege; it is my duty to use my advantage to reach out a hand and help and be a voice for those who do not share my privilege. I learned to be confident in my beliefs, and to be unafraid to stand up for myself, others, and those beliefs. I learned a greater respect for every human being, no matter what. My high school experience at an all girls Catholic school brought many challenges, especially in regards to race and how far I was willing to go to stand up for my beliefs and the people I loved. This environment was drastically different, as I was one of many white people who looked a lot like me, and very few young women of color. I was now walking the halls, talking to, and becoming friends with girls who I knew varied in perception of the world, as they had had a different upbringing than I had had. I knew many of these girls were very well off and many held conservative and more traditional views. Through many experiences over the past four years, I have learned more than ever to respectfully have a conversation with someone who is drastically different than I am regarding politics, race, religion, gender, sex, money, and other controversial topics. There were many times I overheard or was directly targeted with negative dialogue regarding these issues. It was a significant reality check of just how privileged white people feel they are in this world, and how institutionally and ingrained in every part of life in America, white privilege is. My six word essay means exactly what it states: white privilege makes me sick. It is a part of life I wish I could erase and make it so that all people, no matter what, had equal opportunities and chances in having a successful life in the United States. I am hopeful, but apprehensive. I want to live out the ever-cliché concept of being the change I wish to see in the world; however, I know it is not simply as easy as that. I will, however, do everything in my power to make the world a more equal place. I will continue to evolve, as I continue my education in and outside the classroom. Though I am aware of the hatred this world can hold, I also see its beauty, unity, and hope. Maybe someday, white privilege will be nonexistent. I sure hope so.

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