A White Person’s Awakening to Social Injustice

Hi Everyone. My name is Scott and usually this is my platform for talking about mecha anime I like, some interesting things I’ve noticed about anime and want to talk about, and even some manga sometimes. This is an anime blog after all. I’m not doing that today. Black Lives Matter is fully supported here. Thanks to the Covid-19, the death of George Floyd from strangulation for nine minutes, the United States is on fire and it’s broken insides and injustices barely under the skin of this country has been revealed to all of us.

People are in the streets and protesting for their rights against police brutality and the social injustices of colored people in the United States. We’ve seen the largest amount of people in the streets in ages. While I haven’t been protesting because I am a coward, I’ve been doing what I can on my part. Donating where I can to places I believe should need money, sharing these posts online, and such. It doesn’t feel like that much to me, but I don’t feel like anything I can do will ever be enough.

It’s taken me a while to get to this point where I completely understand how privileged I am as a white male in this country. I’ve lived in a small town made mostly out of white people in Western Washington all my life. There were people of color in my schools, but nothing major. Then again, I’ve always been oblivious to how people treat other people and I never had to be checked by it. When asked the diversity question on my college application, I didn’t have an answer. How could I answer when I didn’t truly or understand it to any complete level.

I didn’t even see facial injustice myself when I got my bachelor’s degree. The University I went to was a small college town made out of white people. You can walk around the town tipsy at night, which I’ve done a few times here and there, and nothing bad would threaten you because it’s a nice college town. It didn’t help that all of my friends were also all white people. I just lived my peaceful, ignorant life and never questioned it at all. God, I was so privileged.

It took until me going after my master’s degree until I was awoken to it. I went to graduate school in a city in the Midwest. I went from a blue state to a red state on the bible belt. The school itself was a land grant school built on cheap land. It was surrounded by grave yards and immediately to the south of the school was the poor district of the city. There was a gas station that you shouldn’t be at around 2 am at night because who knows what happens. It wasn’t until I took my walks about the park south of campus, because I lived right on the border, that I saw that the poor area was mainly populated with Black people. That and one racist old man telling me about how Black People lived south of the university when I was on vacation in L.A. Not surprises there I suppose. None of this felt right.

The real awakening for me was one summer when I was working on campus during the summer where I lived in the Student Apartments. So basically, I never went off campus. This was also the summer where the punch game made the news. The news where you were asked a question and were punched in the face. I was a victim to that. One day, two Black teens wandered by my student apartments as I was heading back from work and I got punched in the first. One of my front teeth ended up broken because of it.

At first, I was just mad. I wanted vengeance for this. Then some more thoughts occurred to me. I was taken to the hospital in a ambulance and returned to campus in a police car after being looked at at the hospital. I was also under my parents health at that point. I was just about to fly home for a month before school started anyway because I was in my early 20’s, so I went to the dentist and got my false tooth put in. I don’t think many Black People in that city are able to afford that kind of medical care. That was a small wake up call to an ignorant white person who hasn’t seen anything wrong with this country until that point. It took me until my early 20’s for me to even realize that.

Guys, don’t be ignorant like me. Don’t make it take you this long to figure out that people are people no matter who they are and who they want to be in the future. Don’t make it take you this long for you to consider that every single human being on this planet, no matter where they came from, deserve the same rights and privileges of the highest privileged person in the United States and the world itself. While I don’t think the master’s degree I got is worth anything at all at this point from a job level, I do think the life of experience I got from staying in that city for a number of years was incredibly valuable to defining whom I am now. A person who wants people to be equal and happy.

#BlackLivesMatter
#TransRightsAreHumanRights
#EqualityForAll


This post was inspired by the stories that Simply Gee shared about her family on twitter living in NC during the 1990’s. They are horrifying, but I am glad that Simply Gee shared them. Please look up her twitter because she is a great manga collector with a good manga based podcast I like listening to.


12 thoughts on “A White Person’s Awakening to Social Injustice

  1. “It’s taken me a while to get to this point where I completely understand how privileged I am as a white male in this country.”

    I still don’t completely understand it, but I’m trying to figure it out, too. I enjoyed reading how you’re approaching the issue.

    I’m to the point where I can say things like I understand how fortunate I am that I can drive around and not worry about being pulled over because of my skin color. But the more I think about that single fact, the more it interweaves with other aspects of my life. What if I _were_ constantly pulled over? I’d have some recourse to the law, right? But what would I do if not only was I pulled over because of my skin color, but my reports to the authorities were dismissed for the same reason? While at the same time, charges against me could be fabricated to the point where vignettes might murder me.

    And never be charged?

    That happens all the time — and I think that’s one of the many meanings of “systemic.”

    I just don’t know what it’s going to take to drive home the idea that “all men are created equal.” It’s exasperating to see the mental gymnastics some people go through to justify exceptions.

    “While I don’t think the master’s degree I got is worth anything at all at this point from a job level, I do think the life of experience I got from staying in that city for a number of years was incredibly valuable to defining whom I am now.”

    That kind of thing is precisely what a Masters Degree is supposed to do. So I think you more than got your money’s worth!

    My wife asked me to watch a video by Emmanuel Acho. It was called “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, Part I.” I highly recommend it. Among other points, he said that the problem originates among whites, so whites are key to solving it. So it’s important we figure this out.

    I’m glad to see we’re talking about this. It’s a step in the right direction, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think I should rephrase some things and go with “I understand more about my privilege then I did.”

      We are a social people and yet we seeks to still tear each other people as well. I guess humans are just so confusing.

      Ok, I will look that up. They recently had an Oprah lead talk with a council of African Americans from different areas of society on television that I found pretty enlightening as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for a post like this. It was totally needed here. I’m glad you became aware of your privilege. Some people are still in denial in that regard. I understand if you don’t want to directly protest, but donations can help, talking to other black people (or other POC groups) about their experiences, learning more about history and boycotting certain businesses would be a good start, too.

    I’m sorry to hear that you were a victim of the knockout game.

    I will say that some of my college experiences were different than yours. While I had friends of all ethnic groups despite not being in that diverse of a university (although the city where my Alma Mater is far more ethnically diverse though), I had my own issues. People were avoiding me, making dog whistle terms, making terrible assumptions, and during my sophomore year, there were some students who said “white power” to my face. I got so angry, I flipped them off (first and time I’ve done so to someone) and cussed them out. Anyone who knows me here or offline knows I rarely ever swear, so that should tell you how furious I was. Some people even got uncomfortable when I talked about being profiled before and it showed how sheltered a lot of my classmates were.

    I’m thankful you got to acknowledge these things. I never felt judged by you at all and you’ve been awesome to me in the blogosphere. Interestingly enough, I remembered it’s been roughly a year since I made that scathing rant about a certain movie and you having an excellent response when I pointed out the protagonist centered morality of one of the main characters as well as the problematic implications of certain henchmen in said film. That showed me you were willing to learn and realize how even G-rated things can harbor low-key bigotry in the presentation.

    More people in the anime fandom and others need to be more aware about these issues. Thank you very much, Scott.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I keep thinking about how to respond and all I can say is that I try to be a good person, try listening to people, and everything. I know I am a flawed person and I keep trying to fix them by listening and understanding as much as I can.

      Your college life sounded like hell. I’m so sorry.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We all have our flaws, Scott. Trust me, I’ve made mistakes, too. I’m glad you’re doing your best to listen.

        I had some really rough times in college. I did learn some things and did make friends, but I still harbor resentment towards people who bullied me there.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think acknowledging privilege and understanding that one has it, and then using it to help fight for equality is a huge step forward. So many people refuse to even acknowledge it or admit that it has contributed to the groundwork of systemic racism and prejudice because they feel like it’s an attack on them personally, but it’s not. I really appreciate you sharing this and taking a moment to talk about it. Silence is violence and complacency in systemic abuse. Even if one isn’t sure what to say or how to say it, it’s better to make a mistake and learn from it than to say absolutely nothing at all. I’m grateful for your voice. ♥

    (Also, it’s better to say Black people rather than African American because not all Black folx are African Americans or identify as African Americans. I know Trinidadian Black people and Indigenous Polynesian Black people, just to give some examples.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, that is fixed. I don’t know why, but just typing “black people” sounds kind of wrong and offensive. I suppose that’s another thing I needed to learn.

      Like

      1. It can feel strange at first, I used to feel very similarly. But having more conversations and unlearning a lot of negative things helped me learn to not feel that way as much. Also Black is always capitalised, like you would for Asian or American etc. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have been thinking what to say since I read this post. I find it hard, so I will keep it simple. You are being too hard on yourself. We are all shielded in some way. We can only perceive the world through what we experience. So some of things that happen in this world go unnoticed for that reason by each of us. Sometimes it takes an event or change in situation to show us what exactly we have missed.

    We can never do enough. I don’t care who you are in life, you are still one person. One person against a world full of people. One person against an institution and practice that has gone on for centuries. So what can we do? We can try with what we have in life to make a difference. Will it make a difference?

    Unless you can predict the future you will not know at all. Sometimes little things can make a big difference. But if we don’t try to make a difference then things will stay the same That is one thing we can count on.

    Use what you feel about being shielded to understand that there are other things you might be blinded to as well. Try to see them as best you can. Understand that other people might be shielded as well and may not see what you see. Not by putting them down for being blind but showing them through your actions, beliefs and opinion but most of all empathy. Because you where them at one time.

    In the end, be yourself. Do what you can to make a difference regardless of what it is you do. Be proud that you stood up to face injustice and what you think is wrong. The rest is just details.

    Liked by 1 person

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