For most of my life I’ve been told by people how much more privilege they have than me. This often coincides with being asked if I can give them something or buy them something, which always gives me a little chuckle. But as I’ve gotten older and better travelled I personally don’t believe in “White Privilege.” I do, however, absolutely believe in White Nationalism and Racism. I suppose the ability to wield that hatred against other people is considered “Privilege”.
I grew up in a town called Centreville, Virginia. It’s one of the wealthiest towns in the wealthiest county in the US. My family wasn’t super wealthy, but I didn’t feel as if I was missing out on anything. One thing I do remember is the racial dynamic that has continuously grown since I was a child with my classmates. In 1st grade I remember being called a NIGGER by a kid named Kyle. In 5th grade I remember being told I couldn’t hang with my friends because I was black. In 7th grade I remember my math teacher saying he didn’t like me, so I wasn’t allowed to go to math class anymore. I still struggle with math. My High School was much the same, however most of the “cool kids”, are far from cool now. I think writing about them would be a waste of my time.
What I’m trying to say here is that it’s no Privilege to be cruel and foolish. Privilege is a weird term like Black-on-Black Crime, likely orchestrated by the white 1% to get people to believe in something that isn’t true, or otherwise has no meaning. President Lyndon B. Johnson said “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” And here we are. The concept of White Privilege was created to confuse white people into a false sense of superiority. In addition to the constant attacks on BIPOC communities by police, this has allowed White Americans to step on us for generations.
Now we have Donald Trump, and I could (and almost do) write about his racist actions on a daily basis, but sometimes I just wanna chill. In any case, I find his latest racist tirade to be especially interesting. On Friday evening he banned federal agencies from performing critical race theory training, a form of racial sensitivity training. What’s odd about it is that many managers in government offices are BIPOC, and this information is readily available. I know some people like to say that racism in America isn’t real, but we all know those people are Nazis. They know it too. Trump’s ban on these trainings won’t prevent people from being anti-racist OR racist. And it won’t stop these conversations from happening. This is simply a ploy to gain votes from uneducated white voters that already hate BIPOC, and it’s just a continuation of the White Terrorist actions of Americans.
Another form of White Terrorism that’s showing itself more and more is appropriation. In Oregon especially, the first thing that people think of when they hear the term appropriation is white people with locs. Personally, white folks with locs don’t bother me. I think they tend to not look great or smell great, but someone’s hair style should be theirs to determine. I also have no issues with white rappers or soul/funk/jazz singers. I think Art is something that can (and maybe should) transcend race, culture, and age. But when a non-BIPOC university professor masquerades as a black person for her entire career, and teaches at one of the best universities in the US, we have some major issues that need to be resolved.
I’m speaking of Jessica Krug, from George Washington University. This woman, who is Jewish and grew up in Kansas City (which has its own issues), has been lying about her race to teach Black- and Latinx-focused classes. To me, the saddest thing about this is that many other talented real BIPOC have had their careers affected by this. Betrayals of this nature are much more offensive than idiotic blathering from our racist president. Even so, this woman could have (and likely did) still help people decolonize their minds. But now that potentially positive work has been muddied. And the crazy thing is, she could’ve just been openly Jewish the whole time. The Jewish people have their own stories to tell, and there are surely interesting ways to spin these histories together, examining the cultural commonalities and divergences. Jessica Krug’s false identity was more than just unnecessary – it was a missed opportunity. I would love to speak with this woman and just ask her: Why? For one, why did she feel the need to hurt a community she clearly wants to be a part of? And why didn’t she want to just be herself? Apart from her lies, it appears as if she was a complete boss. It’s unfortunate that all the good work she has done is now tarnished… when she could have just told the truth from the beginning.
When I read about Jessica Krug all I could think about was that I never had a teacher who looked like me. It would have been nice, even at the collegiate level. I didn’t want to return to school at 35, but I felt compelled by my wife, who was compelled by her parents. It annoyed me to hear constant insults about my intelligence from people who didn’t know anything about me, but that’s how the world operates. Now, I am focused not only on further educating myself, but educating others as well. The reality is, going back to school didn’t make me any smarter, just a little more organized. Now that I’m organized, I want to expand. Maybe I’ll find myself getting a teaching certificate. Maybe I should be teaching black history in colleges. I know I’m just as smart as Jessica Krug. And even if she is smarter than me, at least I’m smart enough to know who I really am and own it. I don’t want to be anyone other than myself. I’m fly as hell. I just wish people didn’t lack so much self confidence and awareness.