Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Drowning In White Privilege

It hit me again today, as I read the morning paper, how surrounded I am.

Surrounded by something most right wing commentators would deny even exists.

My oldest daughter is nearly fifteen.
She is on holidays, so she sleeps in late in a bed with clean sheets.
She doesn't lock her bedroom door at night because she knows she is safe inside and outside.
She pins quotes from academics and literary giants on her boards, together with color palettes and ideas for a new bedroom.
She has friends who tell her she is beautiful and worthy.
She gets told every day that she is loved, sometimes more than once.
She wears clothes that make her feel good in her body.
She has parents who set boundaries and limits and walk with her through all of her choices so she doesn't feel alone.

She's never run away from home.
Never been in legitimate fear for her life.
She's never been placed in care because her circumstances weren't safe.
She's never had to look for a decent place to crash for the night because she had no where else to go.
She's never had her face on the cover of the Winnipeg Free Press.

She's safe and sound.
White and privileged.
Middle class.
Indulged and encouraged.

And she wasn't found wrapped in a tarp floating in the Red River this week like 15 year old Tina Fontaine.

When I looked at Hannah this morning I was overwhelmed by how different her one shot at life was, compared to the one Tina got.
I was overwhelmed with the way I had everything in my arsenal as a mom to give her everything she's needed for her chance to be.
Money, safety, doctors appointments, school, support....
....but I'm white, you see.  She is too.  So is her dad.

Tina wasn't.
She was a 15 year old First Nations child, disposed of in a dirty, filthy river.

May I never  drown so much in my white privilege that I can't come up for air long and often enough to see those fighting to stay afloat around me.

1 comment:

  1. Eloquently put. My family of two, while allegedly disadvantaged by being a single parent family, is also basking in the privilege of being white and having a great income. My 21 year old daughter is less aware of her privilege, but is nevertheless very privileged, and has never feared for her life or been food insecure.

    Thanks for caring, and being so eloquent about it.