A Message To White America

Confessional sign for article about White privelege and racism in America
Confessional sign for article about White privelege and racism in America
Photo by Shalone Cason on Unsplash

There are no “other” White people.

Those other White people you complain about ⸺ the racists, the bigots, the homophobes, the misogynists, the ones that make it so hard for anything to change in this country ⸺ they don’t exist.

The only White Americans are we White people. We White families. We White communities with our racists, our bigots, our homophobes, our misogynists.

They are us. We are them.

We keep pointing at those imaginary White people, the troublemakers, the ones who are responsible for racism and hatred. We kick the can down the road, thinking we’ve been absolved. …


It isn’t for anyone else to say we belong in this world.
In this part of the world.
In this place in this part of the world.

We need not seek it.
It was ours all along.

Not contingent.
No sign-off required.

Stop looking outward.
Shift your view.
Step outside.
From the porch, the street, the other side.
Turn around and look at yourself.
You. Belonging.

Take a seat at the other side of the table.
See the view from there?
You. Belonging.

They’ve known it all along.
It’s been their dirty little secret.

All of you belongs.
Liar. Lover. Friend.
Glutton.
Victim.
Latecomer.
Disaster. Survivor. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

To say that my husband is genuinely shocked that Trump was elected, is an understatement. He’s still having a hard time reconciling how we can be where we are today, with less than a month until the 2020 election. And when I say to him that I can see a clear path to Trump winning or stealing a second term, that I can just see it so easily unfolding right in front of me, I worry that his head might explode. But it all feels so familiar, I can’t help but think that it might just happen.

I recently told my husband that I think I know why 40% of Americans still support Donald Trump. But I couldn’t quite find the words to explain it in a way that made much sense, except in my own head. So here I am hitting the keys on the keyboard, trying to find them. …


Obesity Due To Excess Calories

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

That note from my original consultation with my doctor, “obesity due to excess calories,” is the only mention of my weight in my medical record. I’ve been seeing her for 8 years. Nothing she’s been told about my weight or my related mental health issues appear anywhere in the 8 years of medical records she’s kept.

Nothing about my lifelong struggle with disordered eating that began at age 8.

Nothing about being put on a diet by my mother for the first time at age 11.

Nothing about the long term abuse of stimulants and starvation as a weight loss strategy beginning at age 13. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Maan Limburg on Unsplash

Even the best person does bad things. The shame is in not telling the truth about those things. The damage results from the keeping of those secrets.

Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, I’ve watched and listened as White Americans feign shock and surprise that this is the America we live in. We seem to have become experts at looking at reality and detaching it thoroughly from any of our choices and actions. Maybe it comes so easily to us because we’ve had generations to perfect our skillfully crafted artifice.

I was nine years old when my father shamelessly screamed at the car radio, ‘if they don’t like it, they can just go back to where they came from.” I knew then that his words were hateful and wrong. I knew that he was a racist. I knew the word. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

When the brows furrow, the screaming starts and the guns come out, I keep asking myself, “What are White Americans so angry about?” The answer I inevitably land on, puts a knot in the center of my chest.

White Americans are not angry at ourselves for our complicity. For our willful blindness. For our silence. For our allegiance to a system that has always lifted us up, made us the standard by which everything is measured, taught, and seen. We are not angry at our White supremacy.

We are not angry at the laws and systems that have funneled generations of wealth into White pockets and out of Black communities. …


Image for post
Image for post

I don’t know whose dog it was.

The neighborhood kids played with it. We’d throw it balls, run, roll on the grass, chase it and let ourselves be chased.

We were running up a steep street, throwing the ball from one side to the other as we went. The black, curly labradoodle-looking pooch chased us and the ball.

It felt like heaven. Tail wagging, giggling, running, skipping, sun shining heaven.

I remember. I felt free. I felt expansive. I felt real joy in the moments before the dead dog. It is the only childhood memory I have of those feelings. They were just gone after that day, permanently removed. …


Image for post
Image for post

JK Rowling, I understand your feelings. You feel like your identity as a woman is under attack, that women who have fought so hard to be seen, heard, respected, who have overcome so much to find their place in society, are being erased. You feel like all of the things that make you a woman are being co-opted and that makes being a woman less than. If men are menstruating now, what’s left?

But here’s the thing JK. Your feelings aren’t facts. Recognizing that Transgender women are women, Transgender men are men, and everyone’s gender identity is exactly what they tell us it is, does nothing to diminish you or any woman. Transgender women and men are not a threat to you. Their rights are not in conflict with yours. …


We need to elect more Black people. White people need to stand behind, campaign for, vote for, and help elect Black people.

It is time for them to lead because we’ve royally screwed everything up. It is time for things to change no matter what white people think they’ll have to sacrifice. It is time for white Americans to follow without demanding credit and give with no regard for our own agenda.

I’m a white woman from a white suburb who went to white schools and benefits from white privilege. I’ve been through some stuff, but I’m pretty secure in my middle classness. And I’ll admit that I do feel a twinge of something that feels like fear at the thought of living in a country run by people who don’t look like me, don’t have the same experience as me, and don’t understand my life. Boo-hoo for me. …

About

Susan Larson

I write stuff.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store