Friday, February 22, 2013

Privilege

Haiku My Heart
February 22, 2013
Haiku My Heart is a weekly posting of Haiku from participants all over the world. To see more and find out how to participate, please visit Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon.



Raw hurtful feelings

My heart aches for true justice

All those that conquer


It’s not supposed to happen. A person with white skin from the white race isn’t supposed to complain about racism to a person that is Black or Indigenous Native American, I’m being told, in a discussion that I entered into. They said I wouldn’t know anything about it and that I shouldn’t have hurt feelings at what was said because I am White.

What was said was pretty straight forward and simple. Someone was mistreated at work. They did some work and someone else, who was sloughing off all day long and tends to do so on a regular basis while on the job, took credit for it.

The person that was mistreated, a Native American, in his complaint, said, “Some white guy” did it. I wondered if he thought the guy did it because he was White. I wondered if this mistreated person thought that all White people did these things. I wondered if this person did these things to everyone or just minorities. I wondered if the word White even needed to be used to describe what happened.

I also wondered if people that have been a victim of racism measured their experiences with other minorities that have experienced racism. Like the Jews in Nazi Germany versus the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears, who had it worse? Whose persecution was harder to endure?

Maybe these people are right. Maybe I have no basis for defending myself as a White man because I don’t get a daily dose of discrimination and racist hatred thrown at me on a regular basis. Maybe. I don’t know. But I see it done to others and I know it to be wrong.

What I do know, is that I don’t do things, or say things, to people based on the color of their skin or their race. I also know that I didn’t choose to be white skinned when I was born. Whatever higher power or natural event that created us as human beings never gave me or anyone else a choice as to what race or color we would be. The decision was out of my hands.

I know that in America, white men have privilege. Many White folks don’t understand this concept. I am fully aware of it. There is nothing that I can do about having this privilege. I can’t get rid of it. I wish I could, but I have not figured out a way to get rid of white privilege. 

It just makes me feel terrible that some people insist that they must mention the race and skin color of someone that did something. They make it part of the conversation, then tell me that they are not racist. I just want Peace.

Peace and Justice for all

19 comments:

Kris Miner said...

Joe, love you for recognizing white priv, and wanting to get rid of it. All colors on the medicine wheel, all walks of life. Take care!

rebecca said...



today my haiku celebrates the wisdom of nature. the way birds never stop to judge a new day, "will it be full of sunshine, will i have my fill of worms?? will it rain and dash my plans for nest building?" no. they sing their hearts out for each and every new morning, no hesitation or stipulations. and all those bees out there...do they only pollinate red flowers? do they spend a single moment summing up a flowers worth based on colour, size or location?? not a chance! they are too busy in the dance of life, gathering pollen, making honey. and all those seeds willing to burst open for the chance of living.
we are surrounded with reassurance and the wisdom of the natural world, each and every day.
one would think we could open our eyes and know that we are all one.

holding you in love, light and peace.


Kim Mailhot said...

Looking past the differences and finding what is common to us all, heart, mind, soul, light, energy, spirit...that is what will bring us to peace.
May we all get the strength to do that.
Much love to you, Man, and Peace.

Jean said...

I think we are all racist in some forms or another. I know that when I see an obvious immigrant or minority person living in a nice house, driving a nice car or running a successful business, I have higher regard for their hard work than I do for the white guy that I really hadn't noticed anyway in the same position. I think much less of the homeless white dude. Which obviously shows that I don't expect as much from certain people. Why? Because I assume that some people start with fewer advantages which isn't always true and may rarely be true for all I know. We all make snap judgments about everyone based on whatever (mis)information we have at our disposal. This includes falling in love at first sight. We can't withhold our thoughts but we can increase our education.
Frankly, white guys often do take advantage of their position in society. They may not even realize it. But it's how the game is played. How many guys are in management positions off the backs of people around them because they tooted their horn constantly even when they didn't do the work? I've had my husband do this to me. It's not only white guys that do this but the white guys get away with it more in our society because the guys in charge are usually white guys too and we all have a tendency to trust people most like ourselves because we think we know them.

Marit said...

I wish you - and everybody else for that matter - peace of heart. Whatever color: just be. Be should be enough.

Karen said...

No matter what our skin colour, we all hurt when treated unfairly.

Stephanie said...

You express this racial bias so well. My husband is of Mexican descent, dark skinned and has dealt with racial prejudice his entire life. He worked for many years in a job that he spoke on the phone to his clients, when he met them in person they would do a double take..oh, I didn't expect you to LOOK like that etc etc and many time much worse. We STILL deal with these issues, just recently coming back from Mexico...what I considered to be a very inappropriate question to him of the customs officer. I don't know the answer, I just try in my daily life to be kind...all I can do.

peace to you!

Mel said...

If only...and I do wish. Ah but it would appear to be humanness at work. Sometimes I wonder if I'm overly sensitive to it, or if we've become numb to it. Not sure of that answer, but I am clear there's no'right' feel to it at all....not in my world. I laughed when someone pointed out to me my prejudice on those who are prejudiced. I do find it difficult to practice tolerance of their beliefs in other areas...it seems to bleed over and get in my way.

I admit that I find great solace in the fact that human beings are silly creatures..... Thank goodness we ain't done growing yet!

Dawn Elliott said...

Such a powerful piece today, Joe!
I loved the things that you wondered...the progression of thoughts that try to make sense out of discrimination. Throughout time, there seems to always have been a hierarchy of "we're better/stronger/smarter/richer than you," making for a world of winners and losers, instead of groups that share their collective talents for the greater good. Well, the demographics are a-changin' and pretty soon in these United states, whites might just be in the minority!

Laura said...

everyone hurts... suffering is a commonality we all share no matter the color of our skin, our nationality or religion, age, size, disabilities, abilities... and kindness, compassion recognizing our connections to everyone... you are blessed with this gift. I'm so sorry that you were in a hurtful situation Joe, you are one of the kindest people I've met online. Color should not have entered the conversation, you are right, and yet... perhaps the individual who made the comment has tremendous pain and that got in the way of seeing you as YOU and not as a symbol of his suffering.

gentle steps

acreativeharbor.com said...

Powerful haiku ~ some day we might learn ~ ^_^

ps. got to your haiku circuitously ~ you link on Haiku My Heart was not working not sure why ~ thought I would let you know ~ Be gentle with yourself ~ Hugs ^_^

betmo said...

i hear what you are saying because we are cognizant of the wrongs against minorities in this country- my favorite is still the white male in my office complaining about not having a 'white history month' or 'men in life insurance' when we do a 'women in life insurance' focus...i think many white folks in this country are oblivious to white privilege because they have been around so few minorities...it is a bit of a shock to them to believe that folks of color or different gender or sexual orientation would be mistreated...unfortunately, there are many in this country who have crawled out of the ooze and are actively discriminating...and it gives the rest of us a bad name...while it's hurtful to be lumped with them- i completely understand why...

human frailty
never perfect; ever flawed-
hopefully changing

Hazel Ceej said...

Education is one key; a change for the better. We all need that, whatever our color.

Sleepshort said...

I think that you have a balanced view

GrandmaK said...

Your final word, "I just want Peace," touched me deeply because I think that is what we all want but often do not want to pay the price. Peace means relinquishing freedoms perhaps we are not will to part with. Yes, I see being peaceful as being unselfish. A hard concept to accept since there is a certain amount of greed in all of us. Peace and Justice becomes a journey of release so that others might acquire Peace. Thank you for this post! Wishing you well! Cathy

Mark M. Redfearn said...

Aching for true justice is worth the pain, I think.

Priti.Lisa said...

I have had these same thoughts, this merry-go-round of right or wrong, victim or racist...for as long as I can remember. Many conversations with many people I disagreed with, hoping to change their mind, wanting them to see what was so clear to me.
But then, trying to answer back when they say, 'you can't possibly know what is like not to be white'
I kinda do. I was married to a unwhite person...I kinda know how that changed the way people saw me too. It's an ugly world out there...for now I just avoid the people that are the way I don't want them to be...I never changed anyone by trying. The only thing that changed was that they hid the part I didn't like from me...but that didn't mean it wasn't there.
Love you JOe♥

peggy gatto said...

I never care about race, gender, religion, politics of others, I care about people. I am entitled to my opinions and they, theirs.
PEACE

foxysue said...

Greetings to you Joe, I'm just grateful I have eyes to see all the colours and honour variety! If we were born blind we may have to depend on our intuition much more, reading hearts!

Ms Foxy x