In the words of Kendrick Lamar, “Sit down! Be humble!”
Over the last few years, we’ve seen the debate around removing Confederate statues heat up. In Charlottesville, that debate took an ugly turn as, you, white supremacist groups, ascended on Virginia to voice your opposition to what you deem as oppression. In light of some apparent fear that you would soon be replaced by people of color and have your history erased, you chanted, “We will not be replaced!” with tiki torches in hand. As you clashed with counter-protesters and their chants of “Black Lives Matter!” you replied, “White Lives Matter, Black Lives Don’t!”
As I watched the news, I heard you, white supremacists, complain about the oppression white people have been experiencing since Obama; you expressed the need to take your country back. And yes, I tried to sit and understand, but what the hell are you talking about? The truth is you sounded like spoiled kids who were forced to share toys with the new kids on the block. Apparently, having to share a space and power in this country with us feels like oppression to you all, the same people who have a history of enjoying keeping other people out.
To be very clear, you have not been oppressed in this country – ever. Your faux oppression is rooted in hypocrisy. You now face criticism after being free from it for years. In the past, critics of whites were met with fierce and often violent consequences. Why? Because you used to be the only voice. Now, you are angry because you have to share the microphone. You are angry because that “freedom of speech” thing you’ve taken advantage of for so many years just happens to apply to people of color too.
You were chanting, “We will not be replaced!” But replaced as what? Replaced as the only voice? Replaced as the only representatives? Replaced as the only lives of value? Now, people of color and their allies demand you live up to the creed this country was founded upon. If all men are created equal, then that means it’s about time you make room for all of us too.
You have no idea what it is to be oppressed.
- Your mothers and fathers are not being torn away by ICE agents while dropping you off at school.
- You won’t be forced to leave the only country you’ve known since childhood.
- You won’t be forced to pay higher tuition costs and have people argue you were given an unfair advantage because affirmative action leveled the playing field.
- Your churches were never burned or bombed while young girls attended Sunday school.
- Your lawns were never decorated with burning crosses.
- Your ancestors never hung like strange fruit from poplar trees having committed no crime other than living in their skin.
- There is no travel ban on you because your religion is misunderstood and defined by the worst and least popular example, one that goes against its core beliefs and principles.
- There is no mortal danger for you when exercising your right to bear arms.
- You don’t have to bare the reality there is a history of unethical science dedicated to proving your intellectual inferiority.
- You don’t deal with systematic efforts at the federal, state, and local level that are working to disenfranchise you of your vote. You didn’t have to march on bloody Sunday to demand that right.
- Nobody is trying to push through legislation that impedes your right to marry.
- No one is trying to make you buy insurance at a higher cost because of your gender.
The fact of the matter is YOU should be made to feel what everyone else feels in this country and maybe then you will understand how much privilege you have. Think about it: white males are the measuring stick by which we determine how well other groups of people are doing.
So no, you aren’t being replaced. Unfortunately, your privilege is very much still present and alive and as long as you consider yourself better than anyone else, get used to hearing us call you out.