“it’s okay, I’m white, if something happens, the police will protect me…”
“it’s okay, no one wants to rob the white guy, it means the police will get involved…”
Every two weeks on a Tuesday evening, I walk from Powell Station to Tenderloin After School Program where I volunteer at the teen homework night. It is a two block walk that brings up more fear, insecurity, and soul-searching than any other steps of my week and to cope, I often find myself repeating, in some form or another, the phrases above.
From my suburban high school days to present day, I have taken psychological comfort in the fact that the police have my best interests at heart. But seldom other than my two block trek do I let the reality of that privilege bubble to the surface where I can consciously acknowledge its presence.
During my two blocks, I feel guilty that I hold this privilege, and so I try to bury it. Because it is a privilege I will never have to give up, and that makes me feel good. feel safe. feel protected.
So I don't know what it is like to be these two kids. I will never know, and the truth is, I don't want to know.