Not a frequent diarist but I just read this diary http://www.dailykos.com/... and felt compelled to share my stories from teenage years of indiscretion as a young white guy living in a majority black neighborhood similar to Ferguson. I posted this on my Facebook page but thought it worthy of posting here.
Having a lot of problems dealing with the situation in Ferguson, MO and elsewhere.
The game is rigged against many of our fellow citizens. I find the militarization of our police force frightening to the point where I, as an upper middle class white man find myself reluctant to call the police for help for fear of the situation escalating to a life and death situation.
But his is a story about white privilege.
Keep in mind while all this was happening I lived a neighborhood very similar to Ferguson. Inner city Indianapolis. My neighborhood was 75+% African American.
It is the story about how when 14 years old I stole my mothers car while my parents were at a show, picked up my friend and chose to try and get on the Interstate ramp while smoking a joint. Joint got dropped and as I bent down to pick it up, I slid off the ramp (it was raining heavily) and got stuck.
The cops showed up and took one look at us and knew we were stoned. He asked us where the weed was. I told him the truth...we threw what we had left in the raging culvert.
Did he bust us and treat us as criminals. No....he called the theater, had my parents paged and waited for them to come get me in the rain standing on the side of the Interstate. White privilege.
Then when 18 and planning on spending the evening at a friends drinking and smoking, I stopped a nearby liquor store and talked an old black guy into buying me a 12 pack of Miller bottles.
Got the beer and pulled out onto 38th street and went to the corner light. Totally sober. Light turned yellow and the cars coming East slowed so I went for the left turn on yellow. One car decided to go for the light and I t-boned them. Passenger in the back seat was 8+ months pregnant. Broken beer bottles all over the passenger floor board.
I used a pay phone to call my friend and when the police officer showed up, I told him it was my fault and explained the situation. Told him I had not been drinking and he could check the broken/unbroken bottles to prove that point. He was very cordial and I was somewhat shocked by his almost "friendliness".
Shortly thereafter my friends who I was going to meet showed up. John's house was only two blocks away. But Gerald came up and said "Hey Greg, What's up?" Gerald was black. I could not believe how this white police officer that was basically giving me a free pass for being an underage in possession of alcohol a pass but he was about ready to throw Gerald in a choke hold for saying hello.
Fortunately, Gerald backed off and nothing got escalated.
And here is the crazy thing, the f'in cop grabbed the unbroken beers out of the car before the tow truck took it away and handed them to me and said "have a nice evening".
White F'in Privilege. You have it whether you get it or don't. And your white privilege keeps others (and our country) from reaching their potential.