A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Opinion

I am privileged

“I can’t breathe,” he pleads as he is held on the ground, the pressure of the oppressor’s knee in his neck growing by the second; the pressure of a corrupt system soon leading him to his death. 

“I can’t breathe!” they shout as they walk along the streets of towns and cities.

“No justice, no peace!” they cry as they hold up their signs. 

How is it that the final words of an innocent man turn into a protest chant to be heard all around the world?

And just weeks before the lynching of George Floyd stood protesters outside of Michigan’s capital. What were they protesting? The death of a minority? No.

They were protesting wearing a mask.

They were protesting for their right to get their hair and nails done. 

The president called those protesting for Black Lives Matter thugs. He called those protesting for their lives back during a pandemic that has killed thousands good people. At the Lansing protests, the police did nothing despite many protesters carrying guns and screaming in their faces. At the recent protests around the country, the police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at peaceful protesters. 

If that doesn’t show the privilege that white people in this country have, I don’t know what will. 

From the moment my mother found out she was pregnant with me, I was privileged. From the moment that she walked into that hospital, ready for me to arrive, I was privileged. Why is it that more black women die in childbirth at hospitals than white women? Black women are three to four times more likely to have life-threatening pregnancy complications, most preventable. 

The moment I walked into school on that first day of kindergarten, I was privileged. Why is it that African American populations in schools perform worse statistically and have lower achievement rates? The achievement gap is destructive to our society.

I can go out to a convenience store and come back home to my dad without a single bullet hole in my body. 

I can accidentally have a fake twenty dollar bill and take it home as a souvenir. 

I can walk the streets alone without being called suspicious. 

The 30+ victims of police brutality and the countless more of white supremacy couldn’t do those things. They cannot live their lives without fearing this day is their last, all because of the color of their skin. 

I am privileged. As a white person in this country, I am privileged. I realize we must use our privilege for good: we must speak up for those who must stay silent, stand up for those who must sit down. 

All lives will matter when black lives matter. 

Our generation will change the world. Keep fighting, keep speaking, keep sharing, keep posting, and more importantly; keep strong. We are in this together. We will get justice for our black brothers and sisters who left this world too soon. 

Rest in power, George Floyd and all of the victims of our corrupt system. 

You will be remembered. You will be heard.

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