White Privilege Means My Kids Can Do Dumb Shit and Not Die

How does one define an effective blog?  I have no damn idea, but I’m guessing keeping content within a fairly limited scope is part of the equation.  Thankfully, I don’t have to aspire to being an effective blogger, because I’m pretty certain what I’m writing right now will topically share absolutely nothing with last week’s Father’s Day post.  

We’re just about a week out from the acquittal of police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot and killed Philando Castille, a black motorist who was pulled over for a broken taillight and was still wearing his seat belt and had his girlfriend and her young daughter along with him in the car and maybe didn’t do every last thing exactly as he should have but didn’t deserve to have seven fucking bullets shot into him.  I, along with many of my friends, am riddled with white guilt and wanting to hash out the issues of systemic racism, injustice, and the gut-wrenching sadness of the situation. Simultaneously, others, also including many of my friends by the way, are wanting to nit pick all the things Mr. Castille did wrong and how it’s his fault this happened.  It creates a bit of an impasse for folks on both sides, and a whole lot of soul crushing rage for myself.  

I am not here to debate the case, or discuss the law, or ruminate on police procedure.  I have neither the expertise nor the desire to do so.

Instead I’m here to state with full confidence that my WASPy kids from the affluent first ring suburb, who will likely never in their lives be pulled over for a non-functioning tail light, enjoy a safety net that many others in the world do not.  And it’s not because they have perfect parents (though obviously they do), or because they perform in the average to above average levels on standardized testing, or because they are genetically predisposed to having stellar decision making skills thanks to the X chromosome given to them by yours truly.  IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE WHITE.  

Now, I’ve got some explaining to do.  Which is ridiculous and mainly attributable to the epidemic of cranial rectal inversion going on in America right now, but whatevs.  I’ve got a 750 words per post goal, so what the hell, I’ll explain.  

First off, if you too have WHITE kids, this is not a criticism of you or me or our kids and it’s not a reason for you to go on the defensive and it’s SURE AS HELL not a reason for you to point out all the things a black guy did wrong when he gets shot seven times by the police when he’s still wearing his seat belt while his girlfriend and her small child are in the car.  It’s just the damn truth.

Secondly, let me explain what I mean by safety net.  I mean that even if one of my kids were to get pulled over for a broken tail light, and even if a mushroom cloud of marijuana smoke came billowing out the window when the officer came to ask for licence and registration (which it didn’t in the Castille case, BTW), and even if he or she disclosed to the officer that there was a permitted firearm in the car, and even if he or she made an erroneous move as the situation transpired, the officer would not be so damn afraid in that moment that he’d need to discharge seven bullets into their white bodies.  Even if one of my kids were to make every single mistake that that Philando allegedly did (again, not here to debate facts of the case) they would NOT BE SHOT DEAD.  And it’s because they’re white.  That is a pretty fucking nice safety net.  

My mantra for this stage of my life is ‘the adolescent mind is not fully developed.’  I say it so damn often that folks around me grow weary of it.  But it’s undeniable that my kids make a lot of really bad decisions and believe a lot of dumb things.  My son lies to me on a regular basis about wearing his bike helmet and thinks he only needs to shower once a week.  My daughter believes donuts can make a meal and that the new Ed Sheeran album is the best album ever made in the history of man.  And, this phenomenon will get worse before it gets better. They’re going to invest in relationships which are detrimental to them.  They’re going show up in places they shouldn’t.  Someday they’ll probably get pulled over by an officer of the law.  This might make them nervous and they might flub the instructions given to them.  But they won’t die.  I wish it were true for all God’s children.  

As luck would have it, this video showed up in my news feed as I was writing this post. Sadly, I’m too dumb to figure out how to embed it, but please watch.  At the 3:33 mark, he talks about ‘making a mistake.’  In a perfect world, I’d just post the video on Facebook and let Trevor do the talking.  But, we don’t live in a perfect world, so I blather on in written word.

2 thoughts on “White Privilege Means My Kids Can Do Dumb Shit and Not Die

  1. Knowing that our white bodies are not likely to be viewed with the kind of suspicion, fear, and threat that puts others in danger, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to put our bodies in the way of police oppression. I wish I could say that I’ve come up with something brilliant. Let me know if you do.


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