Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"It's okay, I'm white"

“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.

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