Have I ever felt any of these? I have not felt any of it overtly. Although, I never had the thought "Well, that's not me. . .I'm good because I'm white," or "Well I didn't do anything to blacks, so this isn't my fault. . ." I know that inside of me is this implicit bias. I will admit, I have been that woman that held her purse a little tighter when I was in a big city and passed a group of black men. Yes, that was me. I did that. I am ashamed of that action. I have since learned more and tried to grow and develop personally so that I can recognize some of my implicit biases and not act on them. So in the respect of those microaggressions, I am guilty of displaying white exceptionalism, guilt, and shame. But they are for my own actions. They are for my own shortcomings and iniquities.
I am heartbroken by how people have acted in the past. In our country's history. In world history. I am appalled by how people around the world - especially in the United States - can still treat people with such disrespect and distain over the color of someone's skin. It frightens me and it angers me and I want better for everyone. However, I cannot say that I feel a personal sense of guilt over things that happened 2000, 200, or 20 years ago that I was in no way a part of. I am not ashamed of being born white or of being born into my wonderful family. I am not ashamed of having two parents that stayed married, that were successful at their careers, that loved my brother and me, that we were comfortable. I am not ashamed for the blessings that I was given. I don't know why God saw fit to bless me with those things, but my best friend and her family struggled financially, her parents had experienced divorce before she was born so there were half-siblings. Another friend experienced sexual abuse, another friend was constantly in trouble because his older brothers had constantly been in trouble so people assumed he would be the same as they were. I don't know why I was given the opportunities and advantages that I had, but I do not feel ashamed or guilty about them. What I feel is confused and anxious and scared when I watch the news. What I feel is anger at how so many people are setting us back 50. 60. and 70 years because they are reverting to their parents and grand parents way of thinking. Why? I hurts my heart. I want to scream and yell. And if I want to do those things, I have no reason to be upset or surprised when the races that are experiencing these actions do scream and yell and demand better. Because of the advantages, privileges, and opportunities I have been given, it is up to me to stand with, support, and be an ally and advocate for those who need one.