Author: Nicole Commisso
I am/have been lectured by today’s society that just because I am categorized as white, I must chalk up all my success and hard work to the notion that is “white privilege”. This notion that because of my skin color I do not have to work as hard as someone who is non-white is reverse racism in the highest order. If you are accusing someone of something, in this case being that a white individual is more privileged, due to nothing else but the color of their skin is the definition of racism. By societies standards, I am privileged in every which way due to my skin color and if I choose to disagree with this I am deemed as a racist or a bigot. No matter what I have faced, my family has been through, or how hard I have worked and what I have accomplished in my almost twenty years of life is diminished and taken away from me according to white privilege. The greatest privilege in this country, regardless of race, is having a standing household that has two providing parents. Studies have shown that a single mother, black or white, is more poverty-stricken than a household of two parents, again being whether they are black or white. This contradicts the notion that white individuals have this so-called major privilege over non-whites in the sense that a white single mother is in fact worse off than a household of two black parents who seemingly have such less privilege.
I bring this matter to attention because I am a white female and I have not been privileged in my life whatsoever. At a young age, my house was no longer one with two parents and my mom became a single mother, before this I was in no way born into the upper class as this notion usually makes successful whites out to be. The struggles we underwent as a family are indescribable and were none-the-less challenging being that my mother was a stay at home mom who hadn’t worked in fourteen years that now had to support my two younger siblings and I. Without recent job experience it was very difficult for her to find a job to put food on the table, keep the heat working, and barely pay for a roof over our head, while still taking care of the three of us all by herself. She wasn’t handed anything because she is white, there were no extensive privileges she had over anyone else because of the color of her skin as I never was either. She worked as hard as she could even though it was an extremely difficult thing to do because she had to for us and herself to survive. Not once did she feel sorry for herself and not do everything and anything she could to support our family.
I have chosen not to play the victim role, as many have with this term white privilege, I instead take full responsibility of my life and I have chosen to work hard and make the best life I can for myself and one day a possible family of my own. I choose not to blame anyone or anything for the battles I have undergone and fought but rather persevere and make something greater of myself instead of looking at the world with this “poor me” ideology because of what I have endured as a human being. I have worked for everything I have in my life – I got a job as soon as I was of age to and have been working ever since, I was extremely driven in high school because I wanted to make a better life for myself and applied for countless scholarships (on which I received many which I rightfully deserved) in order to go to college to create the life I want, in which I have student loans that I will one day need to and will pay off. Some of us are born rich, some of us are born poor, some of us are born white, some of us are born black, etc. No one can choose what they are born or born into and if someone is born white to say that their successes and everything they have worked hard for is because of the color of their skin is in its own definition, racist.
Now, I am not going to deny that black people, or anyone that isn’t non-white, in the United States have suffered historical discrimination in the past but that does not mean that this is current in history right now. My own grandfather came here from Italy and was discriminated against when he first got here. He even had to change his first name because it wasn’t “American enough” but that does not mean he played the victim role or didn’t work as hard as he could for himself. I can assure you he has not experienced this white privilege even though he would be categorized as white. We should not be now trying to implement this false notion of white privilege to make non-whites feel better for instances that happened generations upon generations ago. You cannot “fix” where you started in life, this is beyond your control because, like I previously mentioned, it is physically impossible to choose which skin color you are born with. What you do have control in is personal responsibility, taking responsibility for yourself and your actions rather than claiming the victim and punishing white individuals for just that, being white. Injustice does not fix injustice in life and I refuse to allow society to tell me that I have gotten to where I am due to the color of my skin. I am where I am due to my successes which are not because I am white, they are because I have earned them with hard work, perseverance, and knowing exactly who I am and sticking up for that regardless of who tries to tear me down. As a white woman in today’s society, I can strongly say that I have not had or received this so-called “white privilege” that has been shoved down societies throats. It is insulting and unfair that in spite of what I have been through that I am supposedly privileged just because my skin color is white.