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June 12, 2020

I’m Sorry & Ashamed of my Privilege. {Poem}

I’m a 24-year-old woman with privilege that pours from the colour of my skin.

And I’m ashamed.

I often feel like a fraud stepping into a battle that I haven’t felt the depths of.

Knowing deeply that I can’t comprehend.

I live with a freedom I didn’t ask for, but must acknowledge.

I’m ashamed that this is where we are as a nation.

I’m ashamed of the actions, but I’m equally ashamed of the silence.

I could list the names of lives taken.

I could share data or connect it to my faith.

I could follow in social media’s footsteps and talk about the never-ending heartbreak that is the reality for people I love with the entirety of my soul.

Or address the hypocrisy present when we speak “all lives matter,” but live as though black lives don’t.

When we say “human rights,” yet only grant their fullest expression to those who walk in this world with white skin.

I could quote artists, friends, those with more intelligence and awareness in their pinky finger than I have in my whole being.

But, all I really want to say is, “I’m sorry.”

I’m sorry that I don’t have the words.

That I haven’t done better.

I’m sorry it took me 24 years to acknowledge my privilege.

I’m sorry it takes a public, intentional murder for the world to roar.

Sorry to my best friend and my love for being unable to meet them in the depths of their pain.

But, telling them “I’m sorry” isn’t enough—it needs to be public.

It needs to be loud.

Sending a text, disagreeing silently, turning the cheek—they are all synonyms for acceptance.

And, I won’t accept what can be changed.

I won’t silently exist in my privilege while those I love fight a battle that only knows how to exhaust and defeat them.

It’s my turn to stand up.

It’s my turn to say loudly and publicly that had that been a Black man with a knee on a white man, he wouldn’t have lived long enough to know his verdict—let alone walk without being charged with first-degree murder.

I’m ashamed of that reality.

I’m aware how loud the white noise will be when many eyes read those words—but that’s why I’m here.

To make noise.

To change the narrative.

To boldly tell you that the only plan I have for this “privilege” is to get rid of it.

I’m sorry I don’t have enough “I’m sorrys.”

I’m standing here—with a heart that is raw and wrecked, deeply acknowledging that I still don’t feel an ounce of what so many can’t escape.

I promise to talk more—when it’s welcomed, and even more when it’s not.

To speak louder—when racism roars and when it whispers.

And to fight harder, for a world that doesn’t need to hear “I can’t breathe” one more time.

~

Watch an anti-racism hour with Jane Elliott talking with Waylon Lewis of Elephant, here.

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