Pale Power Trip

Know thyself before knowing others
Know thyself after knowing others
Routes in life are all different
We are just a vehicle for this experience
Some vehicles are different,
Some vehicles are disagreeable
But in the end, the experiences are what make each vehicle appear beautiful.

As a white male, the vehicle that I was cradled in was different than others. My mindset is different. It is different because I was not confronted with certain experiences that some people had experienced. I was coddled by the society because of not my actions but my pale skin. The unfairness that other people experience everyday has ultimately helped me respect others’ experiences.

Thousand of meanings could be derived from a single word, respect. There are many interpretations of respect. We need only know one, and that is acceptance of others. Respect happens in the smallest aspects of life. Respect is an innate human nature that constantly battles with our primitive and savage nature. Our primitive side closes us off to the spirit of acceptance, looking to the direction of selfishness. But, how is acceptance possible? How is growth possible? How is changing possible? The question of being able to respect different upbringings and views is a question that you all should constantly ask yourself.

This is especially true to the white people on campus who fail to recognize the impact that systematic oppression has on people of colors and minorities. Systematic oppression occurs when an individual is denied rights because of race, age, gender, religion, and so forth, and the system favors the ‘ideal’ white person. This is oppression from the system that is supposed to be one for all.
We as people, both POC and Whites, have had our thoughts and bias institutionalized by our history. Often the past makes the present look unapproachable. Past experiences create bias that we internalize in ourselves.
In order to take the first step of acceptance, one first must take a step back and see how the system of society influences our bias. The system of society is not what is expected of us, but rather it is how things are. Racial prejudices within the social system can be tracked way back into the first days of America. The white side of America was tyrannical and pushed Natives away and claimed the land. The mentality of “I own this land” stuck with the white people ever since.

All people have different privileges and as a deaf community, most of us can understand what it is like to be oppressed by the system. Ever have a hearing person persistently speak to you after you had clearly implied that you are not able to hear? From a white male perspective, a POC would constantly experience that in subtle and explicit ways. White people would try to have them explain themselves in a white individual accepted perspective. When it doesn’t make sense, the white person’s conclusion is immediately made. The same is true for the relationship between that hearing person who wouldn’t stop speaking and the deaf person who think that the hearing individual is being completely ridiculous.

The first step to getting rid of the institutionalized oppression starts with us, the white people. We must recognize that we are all part of a racist system that gave us privileges. We must recognize that POC cannot do anything to change their conditions, but the white people are able to change their viewpoints. Then, we must see how we think and how we act around different people. If there are certain people you might find yourself feeling uncomfortable to hang out with, then you’re already on the right track. Solutions happen when you recognize the issues. By noticing how you feel and think, you will be able to ask/challenge yourself with questions better. As long as you desire for equality and mean well for all, you will learn and you will remold yourself.

One of the steps you could make to improve the racial inequality is to pay attention to conversations uninterrupted. By doing that, you respect the person and that person’s voice. Therefore, next time you talk with a POC, please listen earnestly and don’t let anyone avert your attention. When you listen, you understand more and you see more. Try putting yourself in other people’s shoes more often. Remember that POC communities cannot change their skins, the white people are the ones with the biggest room for change.

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