I had no idea I was White until I went to Oregon State University and met the first Black person I ever really talked to. I say "Black person" purposefully because Black skin is what I saw. I did not see her as an individual woman with an ebony glow and an American reality different than mine. I remember looking at the pictures she already had up in our dorm room - pictures of colored folks at a HS prom in the same cheesy poses us White folks employed - and thinking, "Oh my God, I think my roommate is Black."
Cruising with my new African-American roommate in the weeks, months, years that followed made me start to piece together what it means to be White in this country. Now, 25 years later, I am still connecting the dots of my American Caucasian culture. One things for sure - I experience the social privileges that comes with being a White American every day.
The slaying of Michael Brown finally pushed me over an edge into domain acquisition and website creation. I have been talking with any White folks I can, sharing information on social media, and generally feeling like I need to crap or get off the pot when it comes to my active resistance to racism. Sure, I am against the persistence of racism, but what am I doing to engage and lead my people to act against it? White folks are the ones to eradicate racism. The time is now.
Remember Rodney King? And the verdict and the riots that followed. The Rodney King incident was shocking for Whites in 1992 because police brutality against an African-American man was finally caught on secure video - undeniable brutal force; the cop was sure to spend some time. Black people had been talking about police brutality for decades but finally the world got to see it in action.
There will be justice.
Right? Wrong. The police got off. And riots went down in history.
Flash forward 25 years. It's 2014 and police shoot an unarmed Black boy SIX times, leave his dead body on the blazing Missouri road for SIX hours before shuffling him away in an SUV, and then release unrelated information about the boy in an effort to cast him the criminal. Where is the outcry from my White brothers and sisters about another unarmed black person dead at the hands of police? Where is the outcry from the Native Hawaiian community? The gay community? The Chinese community? The Christian community? I talk to my friends about Michael Brown and most explain they are too wrapped up in their own children, husbands, friends, jobs to pursue current events. Some even said they heard something about someone getting shot but stopped listening because they found the discussion disturbing.
And that is White privilege. We have the privilege to not pay attention. Our boys, here on the Big Island, are not being gunned down in their own neighborhood. Our dead child wasn't left on the road to rot. Our people don't get pepper sprayed when we gather to protest. We can act like nothing is wrong because not much is wrong in my White world of organic food, play dates, and steady work.
Project White folks is on. We have a ton of essential hard work to do Caucasians. Let's wake up and live.