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September 21, 2016

Racism doesn't affect white people...does that mean it doesn't exist?

With two police shootings in less than 24 hours, my Facebook feed is once again exploding with folks complaining about “systemic racism.” These worry warts see race everywhere. According to them they’re being discriminated against on a daily basis. Which I just find very hard to believe because I am white and have never been discriminated against based on my race.

Look: I don’t care if you’re black, brown, purple, taupe, or the blue of the ocean on a bright summer’s day. I don’t see race, because I’ve never had to. I’m white as the pure-driven snow and that hasn’t stopped me from achieving anything: getting into college, securing bank loans, and not getting shot by the police at a routine traffic stop.

The suggestion that there’s some sort of system in place to keep people whose skin doesn’t look mine down implies that there are aspects of the human experience I don’t know about, and I just find that impossible to believe because it’s hard to put myself in someone else’s brain. Someone else’s brain would be different from my brain, and I can really only understand my own thoughts and feelings because they are all I really know.

A lot of people are saying that black people are being killed by the police because they are black, which I guess they’re pulling from statistics that indicate that black people are killed by the police in proportionally larger percentages than white people. Well, there’s a leap to made in that logic, and that leap involves me taking into account that just because I’ve never experienced racism means it doesn’t exist. But the thing is, in my experience racism doesn’t exist.

The truth of that matter is my ancestors weren’t brought here as slaves, bred as human livestock, and then after emancipation kept down through a series of expressly racist institutions, including the U.S. government and yes, even the police force. And because that isn’t my experience, I respectfully think that anyone who says that is their experience is wrong, because it just doesn’t match the evidence I’ve collected through living my life as me.

Look, I’m a good person. I know I’m a good person because my experience tells me so. And because everything I encounter in this world reinforces this world, because the world was built to benefit someone like me. So to try and wrap my head around why anyone would hate that world for making life easy on me would make life less easy on me, and then I would grow to resent the world a little.

So suffice to say, if there’s a “problem” in the world that only affects one group of people, we haven’t really proved it’s a problem. The only proof I’ll take is when it’s literally happening in front of my very eyes, and even then I’ll find it really hard to believe because my life hasn’t been affected by it. We can argue all we want about “racism” this and “brutality” that but the truth is there’s one thing we can’t argue about: my personal experience. So let’s put our difference aside and agree that I am making a good point. Thank you.