White privilege is a powerful thing. I know, because I’m white. And I’m about to use that privilege to write a four-line introduction, shutting my mouth as quickly as possible to let this Roosevelt University grad and Chicago Southsider speak for herself. And quite frankly, four lines is far more introduction than Kathy M. Henry needs; she’s clearly quite capable of laying it all out to white Republicans suffering from hatred, ignorance or the best-case White Savior complex. Here you go. Read for yourself:
My Dear White Republicans, who believe that the Poor Blacks are the Scum of the Universe:
While confined in my lower class existence, I cannot help but think about the words you put into the universe about Black people who receive unemployment compensation, food stamps and other government benefits…people whose lives have been touched by the mean specter of poverty. Since I am very stressed out about working temporary jobs, I normally would not have time to think about your condescending, self-serving words. I’m too busy trying to find a full-time, permanent job in a dying economy. But I had to speak to you about this. The current discourse on the lives of poor Blacks in this country has been taken over by well-dressed, well-fed, careerist and (most importantly) WHITE politicians. And I thought you needed some enlightenment.
First of all, no one wants to be poor. I know that you believe that little black children spend their time discussing ways to be indigent and homeless by the time they are eighteen; but the children I know have big plans for their future. My twelve-year-old daughter’s plans for the future change on a daily basis: One day she wants to be a fashion designer, the next a mad scientist who is going to take over the world. The one thing she has made clear is that she does not see motherhood in her future, because in her words: “Being a mother takes too much work.”
I know that you’d like to believe that the children of poor Blacks are a drain on society…but you are SO wrong. I was a teenage mother at the age of sixteen and had two children by the age of twenty-one. According to statistics on teen mothers, by now my daughter should have had a slew of kids by different men, and my son should have dropped out of high school and be imprisoned for numerous drug offenses. Not! My daughter graduated from college last year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and my son is college studying Communications. My children watched me work for various corporations that paid me very little money, and proudly watched when I walked across the stage at the age of thirty-five to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with honors.
But, I realize that you probably do not know too many black people personally; so when you chose to discuss them amongst your constituents, you like to use tired, worn-out stereotypes. According to you, blacks have no work ethic, and like taking baths in the piles of food stamps they receive on a monthly basis. Blacks have been in this country since 1619 and still have not made any progress, though white people have clearly given them everything! What is wrong with these trifling black people?
It is very easy for you and your kind to spout these words, smugly enveloped in your cloak of white privilege. But what you do not realize is that, although blacks were freed from chains of slavery, they were never made equal…financially, socially or mentally. Throughout the years, American society has had every opportunity to make amends to African-Americans by giving them same economic advantages as Whites; but it never happened because that would mean Blacks would be on the same economic playing field as Whites, and that is a no-no.
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