I am a white person living in a world built for me. The laws, whether they state they are for everyone or not, are created to benefit me. Images in the media make me look better, give me depth, and celebrate me. I was taught all of my life that any skin colour not white is 'other', which placed me at the centre of everything. Everything is measured, taught, created, promoted, and offered with me in mind as the consumer.
I can be a total shit and it only affects me -- not the entirety of my culture. I am given the benefit of the doubt because of stereotypes. I work hard, yes, but success comes easier because my appearance opens doors. It's mine to lose. I've never had to wonder if my apartment application or resume was rejected because of the colour of my skin.
I may not be openly racist or commit openly racist acts, but I am racist in that I'm blinded by my white world and experience and my white world and experience are forced upon everyone else.
I can reach into my glove department or handbag for my identification when asked by an officer of the law without worrying about getting shot. I can stop a stranger on the street to ask for directions without them being suspicious or afraid of me. Nobody looks at me suspiciously at an airport. I can walk into a store with several bags and not be suspected of shoplifting. I can loiter all I want wherever I want without even thinking I'll be arrested.
My Western religion (though I don't practice) is not associated with violence (although it really should be -- when will the Christians pay for their crimes against humanity?). I can drive a nice car without anyone questioning whether I stole it or bought it with dirty money. I can wear a hoodie and not worry about being shot.
Not only is my culture in power, but we do things like appropriate other cultures for kicks. We think it's edgy or cool or kitschy to use urban language, listen to urban music, wear urban clothes, but while we're doing all of this, we could care less about the people who created these artifacts. We call our partners BAE and listen to Beyoncé on repeat, then totally ignore the black men and women being shot for doing nothing but living as black men and women in the world.
I am grateful that social media has burst my white bubble and that I see I've been ignorant to everything outside of it.
As a white person, I benefit greatly from thousands of years of racism. I may not be openly racist or commit openly racist acts, but I am racist in that I'm blinded by my white world and experience and my white world and experience are forced upon everyone else. It isn't better. It isn't 'the way it is'. It's constructed and my ancestors created it for their and my benefit.
I am grateful that social media has burst my white bubble and that I see I've been ignorant to everything outside of it. So what do I do now? I'm still learning. I'm still seeing. It's my job to spread the word -- not my own experience of this, either -- the voices of black men and women. It's my job to stop racist talk, behaviour and ideas from perpetuating within white culture. It's my job to get off my defensive high-horse and listen and learn. It's my job to be an ally, to join wherever I'm needed and to not be offended if I'm not wanted. It's my job to shut up now and make room for REAL equality.
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