White Privilege?

My grandpa grew up on a farm. Milking cows. Feeding chickens. Fucking goats. I actually don’t know what his day-to-day activities were. I wish he were here so I could talk to him about it. I know they had chickens and pigs. Not sure if they had cows, but I’m assuming they did. They had a garden. They grew their own food. They shit in an outhouse. He had a sister. A little sister. She’s an old woman now. My grandpa is dead and his little sister is in her 80s. Life goes on. And on and on and on. 

My grandpa’s sister posted some pictures on Facebook the other day. She’s been posting a lot of really old pictures lately. The other day she posted a picture from 1922 of her dad with his dad. If you’re having a hard time keeping up, that’s my great-grandpa and his father. In 1922. 96 fucking years ago. At the family farm. The very same piece of land that I learned how to hunt, fish, hike, camp, garden, drive, drink. The same place my kids will presumably do the same.  

Family legacies are weird. Family land is strange. 

On another level, that is a clear example of what some would call white privilege.  

There’s a lot of contention around the subjects of race, racism, privilege, appropriation, supremacy, etc., etc., etc... But being a 5’ tall white dude of at least partially Jewish ancestry who is married to a black lady of African and Native American ancestry, I’ve done a lot of thinking about these subjects. We have kids, man. My kids will have to navigate this world. A world full of hatred, ignorance, misunderstandings, stereotypes, in-group/out-group behavior, and discrimination all based on “race” or skin color....on all sides. Trump got a lot of hate for saying that, but I see where he was coming from. Don’t get me wrong, I also most certainly see where the people criticizing that statement were coming from. But shit, he was giving an impromptu speech. And he was right! The shit does come from all sides. ALL sides. 

That’s getting too far off topic though.  

I try to have as much of an open mind as I possibly can when thinking about anything. I try to view things from as many sides as I possibly can. I try to wrap my head around as many perspectives as I can manage. Unfortunately, that’s not something enough of us do. It’s not something we’re even taught to do. As far as I’m concerned, it should be the first thing we’re taught. The single most emphasized lesson.  

Still too many digressions... 

My dad is getting married. Somewhere in my thought processes I had the ugly thought that if they get divorced she’s gonna take the family farm. My family farm! That’s my birthright! She can’t take it!

Then I got to thinking something like “holy shit, I have a family farm...” 

I have a chunk of land that I just magically get to inherit simply because a guy who bought some land a hundred years ago happened to have a kid who happened to have a kid who happened to have a kid who happened to be me. 

I am well aware that I’m in the minority here. Most people aren’t in that situation. But I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of people who are in my situation are white people. That is literally, objectively white privilege. If you dont see how it is, you’re fooling yourself. And you’re probably triggered in some way. Take a step back. Nobody is accusing you of racism or trying to say your life is a cakewalk just because you’re white. Well, some people do make those accusations. And ironically enough, they’re typically not seen as racist... but that’s another story for another time.  

I’m simply advocating for an acknowledgement of all the little nuances that exist within our culture. There is truth in what is expressed by most people on any given side of any given debate. Instead of trying to “win” in arguments, we need to be trying to cooperate in conversations. 

We have all these confrontational ways of talking to each other. We have all these trigger words. Wound-inflicting verbal venom. All these phrases that immediately set people off.  

...on all sides. 

...on ALL sides. 

It’s funny though. We’re all living in this current moment. This snapshot in history. Right now feels like the only thing that matters. The only time that exists. There’s far too much happening all at once, at a far too rapid pace. It’s impossible to keep up. But, from the bird’s eye view that I tend to take, things look pretty fucking great.  

Put it this way.... 

Right now, I’m a beneficiary of a phenomenon called white privilege.  

My kids are black though.  

When I die, assuming a woman my dad marries doesn’t end up with the family farm, my three black children will have to fight each other for rights to the family land.  

But... looking at that a different way, that’s just the white man perpetuating black-on-black violence...  

C’mon! It’s still a comedy blog! 

I guess to wrap it up, I’ll just echo something I’ve said many times in the past. If we’re all standing in different areas of the same room, we’re all going to have different perspectives of what the room looks like. We can either argue about who’s right and actually get nowhere, or we can put our collective perspectives together and try to make the puzzle fit.  

jake chrismanComment