At this point, I feel that I am pretty well versed in the concept of white privilege. Not that I’m perfect, or think that because I know about it I am no longer bound by it. No, I know that when I get pulled over by the cops I’m less likely to get a ticket. I know that I’m less likely to get pulled over at all. I’ve been riding around with a burned out headlight for over a month at this point, and despite having driven by many a cop-at night-during that time, I’ve yet to be pulled over. I can’t pretend it’s not because I’m white. It’s not fair, but I don’t know what to do about it. I suppose this is one of the worst sorts of knowledge of white privilege. being aware that it is there, but feeling powerless to stop it.
The thing about privilege is that we often don’t think of it. That’s what makes is a privilege. You hear a lot about white privilege, like I mentioned above, and that’s a real thing, but sitting in my car tonight a different kind of privilege occurred to me.
Growing up in San Diego it was a given that you could take the bus or trolley to get around almost anywhere you needed to go. I didn’t drive until I was 19, and with rare occasion I would get around where I needed to. I just took that for granted. I’m sitting here not waiting for my boyfriend to get off work, and I realized that people in small towns are really in a worse state than in the cities. Especially teens and low income individuals. Without access to transportation, options for work and school are limited. Without work you can’t get a car, without a car you can’t get a better job that might be further away from where you are currently located.
I feel as though I should have known this before I was 33 years old, but I didn’t. And it’s distressing. I, and others I’m sure, just take for granted that I can take a car, or a bus to get places. But for those who can’t…the future is not as bright.