White Privilege

I did it. I took a conversation my colleagues were having about racial profiling and made it about me. About me! A conversation about border patrol agents and immigration control and being detained, questioned, friends turned away.

It’s happening already. 

I was incredulous. Really? My super professional incredibly diplomatic and poised colleague who is a foreign born head scarf wearing US citizen is actually afraid of her citizenship being revoked and being deported?

Yes, things are happening so fast. We don’t know what could be next. I am afraid,

she confirmed. And continued with a story of being detained and asked for intelligence information several years ago upon returning to the country after a visit abroad. I remember when she returned. She was excitedly sharing the photos of her holiday which had included a visit and clothes shopping with her sister in Dubai.

So, what do I do today? I join in with my own story of my organic fruit being confiscated during my last border crossing. Michael and I were driving down from a romantic babymoon weekend in Vancouver Canada last year. I was pregnant and they wouldn’t even let me eat the oranges before they destroyed them. And they were organic! And gosh, you know how much I craved citrus last winter whilst pregnant. And I had purchased them at Trader Joe’s in Seattle to begin with! I was outraged. Michael had to physically restrain me with hugs so I wouldn’t actually escalate the situation to further detainment questioning and ? It was pretty bad. 

But how white privileged is that? I’m upset about my organic fruit being confiscated. My colleagues are being profiled and being held in suspicion. And worrying about themselves or friends and family being detained and deported. At least I realized how disproportionate my similar stories were and I also sat down so I wasn’t towering over everyone. 

Next time I hope to exercise the “two ears one mouth” principle and do more listening, less talking. 

Lake is a wonderful listener and ally. Pure hearted soul and already a force for good in this world.

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