White Privilege

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Alright here I will discuss white privilege that has recently been talked about in class and how I feel about having my own white privilege. I take it as not a burden, but a blessing. You should never be ashamed to have privilege, just like you should never be ashamed of living in poverty. It is something you are born into and have no control over. I don't take it as a burden; I take it as a responsibility now. I'm not ashamed to be white, I'm proud of it, because that's who I am and I like who I am. I haven't always, but I definitely do now. White people begin to feel guilty, discomfort, shame, and begin to feel sorry for themselves when white privilege is brought up. I contemplate at times whether it is because they feel attacked by all this white people are the oppressors talk that they start talking about the shame and guilt that they have so they feel less responsible past atrocities made by our race. I hope not and I don't believe so. One needs to embrace white guilt, white discomfort, white shame, and quit feeling sorry for themselves. I know it can be hard, but forgive yourself for your previous ignorance, because it is not your fault you were ignorant. White individuals that do learn of their white privilege put in a lot of effort to learn this as in taking classes like this one to rid yourself of ignorance. So be proud to be white, give yourself a pat on the back for shedding yourself of ignorance of white privilege, and move on because otherwise your white privilege owns you. But fuck it, let's own it white people! We could make t-shirts, I don't know but just let go of that negative feeling you have about your white privilege, whatever it may be and let's be optimistic, because the glass is half full. Look at the past and look where we are now, yes we repeat mistakes and get amnesia, but no one ever achieved greatness or changed the world with a pessimistic mind set on the future. In the Greek mythology story Pandora's Box after every know evil was released from the box, the last thing that fluttered out was hope. Hope is something that fear fears, hatred fears, oppression fears. It is something so contagious and so powerful beyond measure that it can defeat all evils. The only you have to do, and one of the hardest things to do is believe in it and have hope.
I still don't know all of the white privilege I experience and I won't know everything I gain from it for as long as I live. I know it exists though, and I'm going to use it to my advantage. Like the cliché kind of cool Spiderman quote "With great power comes great responsibility" and I'll be damned if I'm not responsible with this power. I'm not sure how I'm going to use this power yet, but I will. I will encourage every other white person to do so as well. With this great power of white responsibility I set out to make a change. I know a lot of people weren't sure what to do with their white privilege, I say to them the first step is just explaining white privilege to white people; this is you using your power responsibly and your first responsibility. Knowledge similar to hope is a powerful thing and can also defeat all evils. First responsibility of white privilege is spreading the knowledge of white privilege; this is not an easy task. Many people will have difficulty talking about this topic; don't be discouraged we are here for you. Also don't judge and belittle a person's ignorance of white privilege because we were also there, hell I wouldn't even say the word ignorance when talking about it. It is a word that is hurtful to many and it is associated a lot with an attack on a person's character. If a person feels their character is being attacked this is just going to make your responsibility to get them to see white privilege that much harder. Also if you are still confused on what you believe to be white privilege, I'll describe what it means to me. White privilege to me is a privilege that comes from centuries of exploiting other races to gather more power. We have the vast majority of power now, you can debate whether or not the exploiting has stopped or not, I'm not going to get into that. However, I will get into what we have gain from exploiting. We have gained almost all of the power to control and manipulate political laws, regulations, and sanctions, educational curriculum, social norms, cultural events (holidays, appreciation months, etc.), media, location of races into certain neighborhoods, and the list goes on. White privilege is what you get what you don't deserve, but you do deserve to use it. Though use it wisely.

Magic Mountains

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This blog will discuss the Educo retreat into the Groot Winderhoek Mountains in the Western cape of South Africa. This was a three day retreat that stripped of us technology, no watches, no laptops, no TV's, and no cellphones. The only form of technology we could use was cameras. While stripping us of something we were given something else, we were given the freedom and inability to not escape into technology that shackles us from social interaction. This freedom places people in situations that made them feel uncomfortable, however that was quickly dissipated I'm sure after our first night there when we had our first evening talking circle where everyone opened up and many poured out their soul for us. By doing this they became completely vulnerable to us. However, for myself personally that gave our group a sense of invulnerability. In a very much contradictory manner the complete vulnerability expressed by many created an invulnerability of emotional connection for the group as a whole. With everyone telling their own story, the majority of them tear-jerking, we became tethered and woven together in mutual vulnerability. As individuals we were vulnerable, scared, and anxious, however together we felt strong, uplifted, and unified. In that circle as the day changed to night, no longer could I see faces. No longer could I see the mountains off in the distant. No longer could I see the individual rocks at my feet. No longer could I see the bushy terrain that envelope us around our seemingly sacred circle. This allowed us to only focus on the one sense that mattered at that moment which was our sense of hearing. We could only listen and that's what we all needed to do. We didn't need to give words of comfort as individuals struggled to produce words of past painful experiences. As person after person divulged their story all I could hear is the individual talking, the wind whisking by, and the sniffles of my comrades that were by my side. What could have been hours, I don't know because we had no concept of time, felt like minutes. Each story lended itself to a new one, each person opening up inspired another to open up. It took many people to open up deeply about their issues to give me the courage to open up about issues that I rarely talk about. To those that I have thanked already I thank you again, to everyone else I haven't had the chance to thank I thank you with all my heart. You inspired a scared boy to do something that was long over do.
After that incredible release of emotion the rest of the trip turned into focusing on myself and what I need to do to become a better person. A lot of self-reflecting occurred at the Educo retreat there were two things I got out of the trip. First was I need to diminish the impact that I have on the environment. I can make a big impact by doing very subtle things like turn off the faucet while I brush my teeth or in between cleaning dishes, as well as using electricity only when I need it. I feel back in love with nature as I always do when I get to spend an extended amount of time in it. The environment is so pure to me and so beautiful. It is a creation from over millions of years of adapting, changing, and trying to perfect itself. We as humans are sort of fucking it all up. Now what we need to do as human beings is keep going back to nature, never stop visiting it, because each time you go and visit you realize what you must protect and your amnesia is lessened. Ingraining that in our minds is key. It was ingrained once more in my mind at Educo, however I know that I'm going to need more and more visits, because each time I leave a little is lost. Each time I go back to nature though that appreciation and that instinct to protect it increases more than was lost previously and it is constantly increasing in this matter as long as I keep going back. My intentions are to never stop going back, and my intentions are to conserve, protect, and diminish my impact on it.

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