Your Privilege Blinds You: What Is It Like Growing up With White Skin in a Multiracial Ethno-Diverse Family?
When people look at me they don't see my heavily diverse, non-white ethnicity; they see a white-skinned man living in a world where standing against racism does not apply when it is against anti-white sentiments. In my article, "Why Are Americans So Racist?" I attempted to draw attention to the issue of anti-white racism being brushed under the rug as acceptable. Nonetheless, I sit here and wonder still, "When will my voice against racism matter, if not now in the time when racism is said to be one of the greatest evils being faced by modern men and women?"
My skin color does not dictate the validity of my anti-racist sentiments, nor does anyone else's!
You're not actually acknowledging racism, and that's the whole point of all of this. It's not about you (white people). No one is trying to silence white people. If you want to be an ally, you have to listen to what POC are saying. They say that "all lives matter" diminishes what they're trying to do. Acknowledging white privilege doesn't mean that you haven't suffered. It means you haven't suffered because of your race.— Anonymous inspiration for this article
Are You Really Anti-Racist?
The reason I support the, "all lives matter," slogan over the, "black lives matter," slogan is not because I wish to diminish people of color; nor is it because I am ignorant of the history of people of color. I support, and will continue to support, "all lives matter," because the supporters of all lives matter are willing to let me speak out against all forms of racism whenever they occur. Most often, the privileged racist white people who support black lives matter would rather me be silenced simply because of my skin color.
Just recently a woman had told me that we—white people—need to open up the field for other voices of other cultures. It baffled me that my skin color was somehow a symbol for what culture I follow, according to this ignorant woman, when I come from a more diverse family than most Americans. This scenario led me to ask myself, and others, "Is skin color relevant to your contribution to racism and anti-racism, or is it only your actions that matter?"
I've settled on and will not be budging from the idea that, "Skin color is of no importance in social and political matters. Racism is racism, and your actions are what matter, the content of your character and not the color of your skin."
My Ancestry May Be More Diverse Than Yours
The only part of my family that can, in any ethnic sense of the word, be called white would be my father's side of the family. His side of the family is a bunch of German and Dutch people who, arguably, have had nothing to do with the racism in America because they've been peasants and ranchers their whole lives—and they still are—with no sway over legislation because they don't even vote. Funnily enough, I also get some Navajo from them as well because my grandmother's ancestors on that side were raped by Dutch settlers; rape which led to the production of my immediate ancestry today.
My mother's side of the family is Native American, Italian, and Jewish; a very strange mix by many standards but very diverse nonetheless. You see, my family fled Marino, Italy before the German invasion during WWII and made it to America just before the Battle of San Marino. Being a Jewish sect of what is now the Marinello family, they felt it was their duty to flee before the Nazi regime could catch them.
Settling down in America, entering through the east coast and heading west from there, they had a son—my grandfather—who married a catholic woman of Native American and German descent.
As my father was only consistently present in my life up to about the age of maybe four, my mother remarried and I was predominantly raised in a Catholic Spanish, Mexican, Native American family. My two brothers are brown-skinned and look nothing like me, and that side of the family numbers in the hundreds. There were many African Americans within that family as well; this was due to the Americanizing of their Spanish and Mexican roots.
To say I grew up in a diverse family is putting it excessively lightly, and to claim I have never experienced racism or discrimination because of my skin color is not only prejudicial, but racist and ignorant.
My white skin has seen me silenced for most of my life, but I've risen above it and no one will ever suppress me with racism again! Just because your skin is white, it doesn't mean you can't stand and fight!— Kyler J. Falk
Prejudice and Racism Have Always Been Directed Toward Me
During the time I was growing up, and even now, prejudice and racist individuals have tried to silence me because of the color of my skin. Right now I have gone out of my way to point out anti-white racism and most of what I received in return is the same thing I have received all my life because of my skin color.
What is it I received in return for my anti-racist sentiments? I received more racism and prejudicial discrimination.
As you can now see, if you gave me the respect of reading up to this point, I come from a family of all colors, creeds, nationalities, and ethnicity. Being white-skinned, even within my family, was an extremely difficult life to live. However, I want to point out that it was my other-than-white family, and my diverse peers who made this the most difficult. If it wasn't my family wondering why my mother and I were even allowed at their events, it was my peers at school constantly berating me for having a mixed family.
My cousins would regularly discuss my skin color with me and why it was I didn't belong in the family. Though I regularly spoke out against racism, even as a child, people tried to teach me that, "my people," are the reason for all the bad things in America. Even further, I was denied access to many different racial groups based on my skin color and my mixed family alone, up until college when I realized that the world was going to be racist no matter how anti-racist I was so I gave up trying to fit in with anyone.
I didn't want to go into detail other than my family tried to disown me for my skin color, my skin had me labelled a racist without even speaking, and I was denied access to ethnic groups to which I fit in by description but I'll revisit my experiences with racism a little more. I've been the victim of gang violence because of my skin, denied access to gym equipment because of my skin, told I cannot sit in certain areas because of my skin, told I cannot speak because of my skin, told that racism against me is not possible because of my skin.... I can go on and on, and I could go on in strict detail of the blood and tears spilled by me and because of me. I fought against racism at every turn, whereas racism had me right beneath its boot, cold and alone as it still does. Where others get readily supported by a majority, I have to fight tooth and nail to prove my white skin doesn't mean I'm not a victim of racism.
Having been told my skin color makes me and my family racist and overall an inherent problem, my own family as a majority trying to disown me from them because of my skin color, and my peers throwing a chaotic amount of racism at me for all facets of my diverse background; I've decided that the only solution to the inherent racism in most everyone is to fight against it regardless of outcome!
Have you ever been discriminated against, or witnessed discrimination due to race?
Always Strive to Fight Harder!
This last message isn't just to the whites, nor the blacks, reds, yellows, khakis.... My final message is to the world, a world that regularly silences everyone because of skin color. I want you to stop and take a second to ponder what it is you have done to silence someone who was only trying to cry for help, to seek justice for injustices committed against them.
Systemic racism doesn't just target a single race, nor does it target even a small subset of ethnicity and race. Systemic racism is an oppression that targets each and every one of us at some point in our lives, regardless of whether you are aware of it or not. Those of us who are aware, we are suffering and when we cry for help we don't want our throats to be stood upon so as to push a narrative that silences us.
All lives matter is not a way to say that any other life is less meaningful, that we wish their struggle to be diminished so our own can shine.
No, all lives matter is as it states: It is the support of all lives, regardless of color, creed, nationality, gender, etc.
It is a cry for help in the oppressive chaos that is billowing the smoke of petulant fires all around the world. I'm tired of choking on that smoke, and I'm tired of my skin color making people think it is okay that I'm choking.
Please, don't be afraid to speak up! Stand and fight for everyone's rights to a voice and justice!