The Gustavian Weekly

What No One Will Tell You About Being White

By Laura Schroeder Opinion Columnist | May 2, 2014 | Opinion

laura_headshot copyAs much as I can try to ignore race, society will never be able to. It’s merely a fact of life. I don’t think anyone else is going to be honest with you about what the world is really like. Therefore, I am going to try to prepare you to the best of my ability for what people might say or think.

Don’t listen to people when they say they don’t see race. Everyone sees race, even if they aren’t considered racist. Everyone sees race and everyone judges you because of it. You will always be treated unfairly due to sex, gender, race, sexuality or anything else. It’s just something you have to adapt to. The world is unfair and we all have our disadvantages. Every race has a history of oppression and everyone has some baggage to carry because of it, regardless of your being affected directly or not. Something people won’t tell you is that you get judged for being white.

Silly, right? We’re the most privileged race, yet still face some prejudice. It’s not nearly as much as any other race since we are in fact privileged, but it’s still there.

People will deny your knowledge on topics like social justice and racism because they think you don’t know anything about it; how could you? Suddenly, because of your skin color, you are useless to any group trying to change the world. You have no qualifications to tell people how to help themselves or others because people refuse to believe you’ve gone through any hardship.

You’ll get passed up for plays or creative films in school because the people running them don’t want to seem racist by putting just white people in the cast. You’re just going to have to deal with it.

You will always be what you are. Don’t fight it; flaunt it. You don’t have to be anything but you to be fabulous. Creative Commons

You will always be what you are. Don’t fight it; flaunt it. You don’t have to be anything but you to be fabulous. Creative Commons

People will take one look at you and force you to go to a series of speakers on racism or prejudice because they just know you must be one of those white people who don’t understand the difference between Africans and African Americans. And as ignorant as you are, you have to be educated, while the black woman raised in Edina is being ignored because she must know everything there is about being oppressed.

It’s not reverse racism just because it’s against whites and not blacks or Asians. That phrase is stupid and makes no sense. It’s racism no matter what; people just don’t think it exists. And maybe it doesn’t.

I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that I am oppressed because I am white. It’s not that severe. But even white people cannot escape the fact that everyone is judged on the color of their skin. Everyone. No matter how much privilege you have or acquire, you cannot escape the judgmental eye of the public.

So take this information under your belt and go through life. Be aware of prejudice, but accept that it’s going to happen no matter what.

Maybe it’s better that no matter what, you will not receive any special treatment for something you didn’t work at. If anything, prejudice and oppression make us better people; they give us strength and the ability to join together with like-minded people and work to change the world. There’s no such thing as bad without some sort of good. So go through life and try to focus on the good.