Today I watched a video of a pedestrian being harassed on the street by a police officer. The pedestrian was black, and the cop was white. It probably wouldn’t matter what day you were reading this; on most days, you could say “I saw that video too.”
We see this type of video every week; every day people live through harassment, humiliation, and degradation, often at the hands of those that are paid to protect us. The moment in this particular video that really sat with me, that made my stomach twist, was the cop disdainfully asking “What do you do for work? Anything?”
I cannot imagine being stopped on the street on my way to get a haircut, as this man was, and being asked if I had a job. Moreover, I can confidently presume this is not a situation I would encounter because I look a certain way.
Being white gives me so many privileges that I do not even realize because those privileges are never spoken of. I do not get asked where I am going, what I am doing, why I am there; the world tells me that I’m allowed, I fit, I belong.
Because I look a certain way and talk a certain way and have a certain amount of melanin, I am treated differently. It has given me advantages in life that I did not earn and that I do not deserve.
I don’t know what else to say other than when I am faced with these stark reminders of my privilege, I feel like shit, and that is a good reminder.