Uncovering My Privilege

“Differences in privilege are not made less by not engaging in service” 

– S. Mei-Yen Hui

Our class readings this week were all about white privilege as well as difficulties associated with service learning. After letting such eye-opening words marinate in my heart and in my head, I have to say it: HOLY EMOTIONS.

I am white. I am privileged. I have a pretty house in a quiet neighborhood. I have a happy home filled with love. I have access to a higher education at a great university. My skin color does not hinder me in anyway, if anything my white skin is an asset. It’s so incredibly hard to wrap my head around the concept of white privilege. I can pass judgments about almost anything and voice my opinions on these judgments and as McIntosh said, I still will not be seen as a cultural outsider.

In the article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” McIntosh creates a list of observations concerning white privilege. This list of 26 simple worded conditions hit me hard.

21. “I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.”

Ouch. I feel angry and ashamed about these privileges I have been given. How does the color of my skin make my life more worthy than another’s?

Maybe this opportunity to work with the Lost Boys and Catholic Charities came about because I am white. So what? The heart, the most vital organ in the body is RED and this is true for all. This heart of mine pumps passion for helping others through my veins. My intentions are pure. No one has the right to question my motives for engaging in this service learning experience because although my skin is white, my heart is RED.

Despite my naivety, I do not posses some complex and believe that I can change the global dynamic of white privilege. However, I do think that by becoming aware on social issues and understanding my position to these issues I will be able to serve others and make a positive change. I promise to try to never judge any person on the basis of their race and I can only hope the same is reciprocated.



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