This Is What I Hear When You Call Me ‘White Girl’

I hear you say that I am weak. That I do not have the strength to stand on my own. That I am unable to fight for myself, protect myself.

When you call me ‘white girl,’ I hear you say that I am a woman who comes from privilege. Someone who doesn’t understand what it’s like to fight for what she wants. Someone who doesn’t get what it’s like to come from humble beginnings, to be in a family that worked their way up from nothing. Someone who doesn’t have to bust a$$ for the things she wants and believes in because they’re handed to her, right? Because she’s a white girl.

When you call me ‘white girl,’ I hear you say close-minded, biased, racist. But you don’t know anything about me. And you are wrong.

I am not racist because I am a white girl. I am not weak because I am a white girl. And I am not inherently better than anyone because I am a white girl. I am none of the things you claim me to be—someone who comes from money, who is judgmental, who only sees the tiny white bubble around her white picket-fenced life. I may not be able to understand the world through a different lens, but that doesn’t meant I can’t emphasize, can’t understand, can’t love. I might be of a different skin color, but that doesn’t make me close-minded, prejudiced, or self-assured.

If you would have asked me a few months ago how I saw racism in today’s world, I would have said this: that the right way to live is to see the world without color—everyone the same, everyone equal, absence of what splits people apart. But I don’t see the world that way anymore. I see the world as a collection, a paint-splattered canvas—white, black, brown, yellow, Indian, Hispanic, Latino, Japanese, Chinese—all. A chaos of colors, all different, but coming together. Equal, yet still distinct.

You call me a white girl, synonymous, in your opinion, to one who does not understand. But I do. Not in the exact same ways, not in the same rights or challenges or pain, but I get that people are struggling. And I care. I get that the world still deals with racism. That the world still boxes people by their skin. I am boxed like that too, in my own small way. White girl. Meaning racist, meaning privileged, meaning conceited, meaning weak.

We are all so much closer than we think—not in the amounts or extents or depths of our struggles—but in our humanity. Our difference of colors. Our difference of backgrounds. Our differences of where we’ve come from, the sh*t we’ve fought through, the strength we have—all races, all unique, all human.

This is what I want to hear when you call me ‘white girl’ and what I want you to hear for whatever the world calls you: Girl. Human. Woman. Strong. Empowered. Loved.

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