I was at the Stuff White People Do blog a while back and I found a very interesting video, made by a young fellow named Josh. I followed the Youtube link and found his blog, Josh on the Street and discovered that he was a new blogger. The premise of the video he created was to show white people what it is like to be considered “illegal aliens” in the place where they happen to live, and be treated as a criminal based on their skin color as a matter of course.
So in the skit, the “police officer” goes about seeking “illegal European immigrants” to arrest and deport back to Europe. After all, they happen to be living illegally on the stolen land of Native Americans. The video is very clever and funny, and supposedly, the message and lesson is right there, for those who are open to hearing it.
But IMHO it doesn’t touch on the reality of People of color who suffer racism ALL the time. The white people who are being “arrested” for being illegal Europeans are somewhat amused by the experience. When they are “released” after a few minutes, they tell stories of the “degradation” of being hunted based on their skin color. But this little game can easily be forgotten because it was just a simple and cute test–a few minutes out of their lives to try and empathize with POCs. I don’t believe that they really learn anything from this exercise.
But there are times when white privilege is a brutal underprivilege. For example, when white people travel to certain countries with the idea that they can navigate in their white privilege. They do foolish things, thinking that they can get away with it because they are white and American. Instead, they can be arrested and detained indefinitely, as the three UC Berkeley students who were “hiking” near the border of Iran and were caught and arrested. These youngsters have been jailed for more than a year now, with the woman just recently being released due to her health. It’s obvious that she has undergone some profound change in her personality because of her experience. (An interesting lesson in what can happen to “Ugly Americans” in foreign countries–listen up college students!)
Or the time when Lisa Ling’s sister Laura Ling and her friend Euna Lee were doing some investigative work near the North Korean border and were arrested for being spies. Although they aren’t white, they are American. They were jailed for five months and if not for Lisa’s connections to ex President Bill Clinton, they may have been there longer. There are many more stories of white American youngsters, and other white western youngsters, who have navigated in their “white privilege” and ended up in huge messes, like the young couple who were recently jet skiing on a lake straddling the U.S./Mexican border, and were shot at with the boyfriend being hit in the head and killed. Or the young Amanda Knox who’s accused of murder in Italy. And who can forget Michael Fay who was caned in Singapore for his reckless vandalism spree.
These young people went forward with a white/American privilege mindset, and it backfired viciously on them. In a way, I think it’s a bit unfair on the young people indoctrinated in this soul stealing mindset. But as we know, it’s a necessary evil in a racist society. They need to believe that they are superior in order to fit into the machine and keep the racism going. But even though these situations are very difficult for the youngsters, they are actually in an interesting position, and can learn very profound life altering, humanity restoring lessons, if they manage to survive. A lesson that can completely dismantle the poison of white privilege that they learn at the knee of their parents, family, schools and friends–their western culture and society, basically.
The lesson is a simple one, but an infinitely profound one. It’s this: that they, as white people, are simply NOT superior in any way shape or form to any other of the world’s people. That’s the lesson.
In my opinion, I think that all western white youth indoctrinated into the cult of “white privilege” should travel to certain places in the world. Not other western nations, such as France and England and Switzerland. No. They should travel instead to places like Singapore, where white privilege is not practiced, nor respected, nor coddled in the least. They should go there and live for a period of time, maybe learn the culture, and learn to respect others as equals. Actually live outside of the scope of white privilege. I think this is a good start towards unlearning white privilege, which brutally crushes the human spirit.