I am a son of the south, born in 1945 in North Carolina. I’ve lived in this state, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Virginia. I have traveled across this country several times and have visited all, but six of the contiguous 48 states of America. I have traveled to Europe and Asia and live 4 years in Germany. My point is, I have seen and experienced a lot.
Growing up in my town–Fayetteville, I saw whites with different water fountains and restrooms. They could eat at any restaurant, sleep at any hotel or motel, and could sit on the ground floor of movie theaters. They were not relegated to the back of the bus, not put is a special car on trains. They did not have separate waiting rooms at bus and train stations. They could call several taxi-cab companies for a fare. We only had two, black owned, to call for service.
Our reality was that whites expected blacks to defer to them: walking down sidewalks, entering buildings, and so forth. I’ve already mentioned buses. We know the story of Rosa Parks and its inspiration to the civil rights movement of the mid-’50s.
Well, Fayetteville was no different than other communities in the south and across this nation. While in high school, I worked for a white dentist. I could ride in the front seat of his car to his Myrtle Beach cottage, but could not eat with him and his family. After they ate, I could eat their food at the table where they ate.
I’m giving you examples of differences in treatment and expectations of blacks and whites across my early life’s experiences. I know them to be factors of privilege–white privilege.
But wait, I have not finished. We know the same to have been, pardon me–to be true with regard to education, housing, lending practices, and so forth. This discrimination happened to me. Why did/does this happen?
Many of you know I served in the U.S. Army for 24-years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. I think I should have advanced further, except Army assignment practices were different for blacks. With regard to job performance, you think you are getting a fair evaluation, only to learn, as a group, you are rated lower than your white counterparts. Why?
Black Lives Matter—defined incorrectly and misunderstood by many. It is not that all lives matter. But, that our live matter too. White America defining what we are about is another form of white privilege. Some choose to call us thugs and other derogatory terms. Where whites expressing a voice for change are “demonstrators.”
Some things have changed, but a lot remain the same…
The treatment of this nation’s first Black President has been wrong and frankly embarrassing. In my lifetime, there have been 12 presidents. I have not seen the disrespect for the office this president holds with either of the other 12. I have not read of this kind of disrespect through the history of this country. Americans have differed on matters of policy, but remained respectful to the person in office, or at least to the office itself. Why not for President Obama?
No black candidate running for the office of President of the United States of America who said or did the things Donald Trump has said and done would still be in the race–let alone be the leader and potential nominee of his or her party.
This brings me to the 2016 political campaign and the genesis of this piece. No black candidate running for the office of President of the United States of America who has said or done the things Donald Trump has said and done would still be in the race–let alone be the leader and potential nominee of his or her party.
I see Donald Trump’s ability to be where he is and do what he does as the ultimate White Privilege. Those around him defend his words, saying the country is angry. BULL! Again, any black espousing those words would be practically “tarred and feathered.” They would not receive the tolerance of the media, and so forth. If blacks talked of riots at a political party convention, the FBI would be all over them. Why does Donald Trump continue to get a pass?
Dr. Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump, even after the “kind” things Mr. Trump said about him during the race. In doing so, Dr. Carson has taken his seat at the back of the bus. Hey, others have changed colors as well, Chris Christie heads the list. These are political lackeys who are “Trump Fan Boys.”
I frequently look at how we are treated as Americans. Weather in our communities, or our opportunities, or the disdain for our words: spoken or written. If you are white, you have privilege and likely get the “better” deal–White Privilege. It is not right! America, when will it change?