June 19, 2020

I feel bad about…my whiteness.

The below short writing exercise came out of our recent Elephant Academy Retreat, an exercise meant to help us look at instead of ignoring our obstacles, to get through our fear around admitting them, to our basic goodness, our empathy, and then, naturally unfolding into mindful activism.

I feel bad about my whiteness.

I’m half-Jewish, and anti-Semitism is real, but I haven’t suffered much from it, other than through my family going back generations–and now, especially in liberal communities, white men, especially tall loud white men like myself, are viewed with understandable skepticism.

I worked hard for my life, to be able to have a home (that the bank owns) and support my mom, and though I grew up very, very poor, I don’t really get any credit for that from myself, even, because I had and have so much privilege in safe streets, good education, my whiteness, my gender, my sexual orientation.

I am the Man, in a bad way.

What to do with it?

Be of benefit.

Be of benefit, use it, don’t revel in hoarding that privilege or pretend that privilege doesn’t exist. Be willing to sit in the complicated streams of history and suffering and joy that we all inherit.

Share that privilege. Share. Make our lives extraordinary—be of benefit first to those in the most need.


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