White Privilege

Ah, 2014. The year of “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and “I can’t breathe!” The year of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and of Darren Wilson and nation-wide violent and non-violent protests and riots performed by and opposed by people who aren’t sure whether this is an anti-police issue, a race issue, or an all-encompassing message about violence.

Yet here I am, white, 20-something, unscathed but not unfazed about everything going on around me.

Let me tell you about myself. Are you ready for this? In 2013 my wife of 5 years and I divorced. We split our possessions somewhere down the middle and, with the exception of one instance of keeping each other updated on how our pets (who were also affected by the divorce) are doing, we have not spoken to each other since we sold our house. I have been in a loving relationship for over eight months now and, in fact, recently moved into a house with my partner. We celebrated the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, my birthday, and recently Christmas together. Our families/pets have merged and despite pressure from outside obligations I daresay we couldn’t be happier with one another. We have a pretty wide-open circle of mutual friends, many of whom were involved in either mine or her past; all of whom offer their unrelenting support of our happiness and success as a couple.

And all of this managed to happen while white cops were shooting unarmed black people or, as I like to say, while people with guns were busy shooting people without guns.

It’s not about cops being corrupt, people. It’s not about cops being racist. It’s not about all of us “majority race” people being racist. Cops (group A) are overwhelmingly good, non-racist, un-corrupted people. Black people (group B) are overwhelmingly good, non-racist, non-criminals. But sometimes bad things happen to people in either group which will, thanks to the power of the internet, cast a dark shadow on the rest of the group.

Eric Garner and Michael Brown, both unarmed black civilians, were killed either intentionally or not, by police officers. White police officers. And all of a sudden the internet is in an uproar and everybody is either a cop hater or a racist. Period. So I’m just gonna go ahead and piss off all the cop haters and the racists.

These are isolated events. Do you have any idea how many black people weren’t killed by white police officers this year? How many black people got into a scuffle with white police officers this year but weren’t killed? Lots and lots and lots, that’s how many. An overwhelming amount, in fact, when compared to the number of those who were killed. It’s the media. Simply rephrasing something like “bad cop shoots unarmed person” into “white cop shoots unarmed black person” suddenly makes it a race issue, instead of the poor-training/screening-for-cops issue that it really is.

So to the cop haters I say: not all cops are bad. Media coverage of cops wrongfully killing people, whether the same or a different race than the cop, is simply more interesting news than cops who are doing their jobs, protecting instead of harming. Not many people would watch the news if the stories of cops protecting innocent people were proportionate to the stories of cops harming innocent people. Ratings, folks. Ratings. It’s all about making a scene.

To the people who support scumbags like Darren Wilson, go fuck yourselves. Darren Wilson is a prime example of a bad cop. He, as well as any cop — or any person at all — who uses a gun to fire a bullet into an unarmed person, is a scumbag. And to support his actions, even to say “well, Michael Brown charged him,” is an act of cowardice. Wilson is an allegedly trained police officer, and to use lethal force against a non-lethal threat is something a coward would do. A coward or, at the absolute least, a shitty fucking cop.

Nevertheless, I’ve had a fantastic 2014. Call it white privilege if you will.

Guns are bad.