Sunday, February 13, 2011

White Privilege

Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege", really hit home for me. I don't know about anyone else. It really opened my eyes and mind. The article was wonderfully written and easy to understand. In a summation, Peggy described how white people find themselves more privileged than black people, much like the idea that men are more privileged than women, even though, to me at least, that concept seems to be lost in the dark seeing as how women can vote, work the same jobs, and can do nearly anything a male can ordinarily do. This article helped me see that privileged doesn't merely mean having a better house, and more money and better jobs, but rather can walk, breath, live safety, and be educated. I live in a normal house with two parents who didn't graduate college but hold average paying jobs. They never bought me or gave me a car like a lot of my friends. I have my own bills to pay, and can't afford to help me buy a new car now that mine just broke, but I still live a privileged life as this article helped me understand. I have four walls and a roof over my head, and the cupboards of my house don't supply themselves, my parents make sure there is always food around.

For some reason, when I read this article I couldn't possibly get my mind off one event that happened through my karate school. There is a 8 year old boy who is black. He is a great kid and does a great job. His only problem is that he doesn't always know how to keep his mouth shut at the right times like most kids. His mother, who fought in the war as a soldier and was also black, came in and spoke to us. She explained that she knew her son couldn't always keep his mouth shut, and that if he kept it up, being a black male, he was going to get into serious trouble in the future and that she didn't care what we had to do, or how hard, that we couldn't let that happen. We had to make it clear to him that he had to learn to control his actions because being black and a male, he would get in trouble sooner or later and she wouldn't let that happen.

Because of the neighbor hood where our dojo is located, it is primarily white students and never had a parent come to the teachers and said that. We have one other black student that started before this boy, but she was a female. Being the first black male to work at this studio in a long time, I was not expecting this at all, and just like the article, my eyes really opened to just how scary the world is.

Am I the only one who has been in a situation like this or  am I just sheltered. I have friends who are black, white, asian, latino, female, and all other backgrounds that I can think of so race is never a idea that comes to my mind. When I think of race being an issue, I think back with like Luther King and such. To have that line so clearly drawn out by a parent simply scares me. Am I really the only one that has been that naive??

Here's My First Post.

Who am I? Actually. I just learned who I am for the first time during the March of 2010. I always knew I was Mathew Thomas of Warwick Rhode Island. Attending Toll Gate High School as a Senior at the time. Then I realized though, that wasn't me, that was what I did. I worked at Dave's Marketplace. I always made a deal of correcting people saying my name only had One T. It was MaThew, not MaTThew. In March, I finally turned 18 and was allowed to work in the Deli Department. I walked in with my hair in a pony tail, my hat on as well as an apron and said. "Hi, I'm Mat With One T". The seafood manager greeted me and said, "Mat with one t?, that's too long. One T"....One T??? One T..One T, That's Me. In a shorter summary, One T is me. Because of One T, I have found a sense of courage, can go to people and proudly say who I am. The simplicity of the one letter helped me stand out from a crowd and find me.

My semester has been very rough. After the first week, my car died. I lost the transmission and the engine. I have had to wake up at 5 every morning just to car pool with a parent just to rush to karate or work after. I've been stressed every day and am only now beginning to learn what it means to relax once again and I feel much better.

In My free time. I mainly either work, or teach karate. I don't really have time for much else which doesn't really help with the stress, but I shouldn't really be complaining because a lot of people have it worse than me. Just gotta smile =)