- i have no valid opinion based on the experience of being black to speak about.
- as a white american, i am used to having my opinion heard, and used to taking for granted how my experience informs my opinions.
- experience and opinions are distinctly different.
- so are opinions and facts.
- i must learn the difference.
- to learn the difference i must unpack the unique privilege i live with.
- privilege as a white american is my experience.
- to be informed, that means i have to thoughtful about that.
- thoughtfulness about privilege means understanding my experience of safety, connected directly to my color, is a privilege of birth.
- i have never had my safety threatened because of the color of my skin. that’s the privilege part.
- my experience of safety being different from someone else’s does not make my opinion about someone else’s safety experience valid.
- i was taught by my mentor teacher when i was 25 yrs old that when i have more resources than someone else, my job is to serve those with less than privileged resources than me.
- that’s the informed part.
- safety, as a middle-class white american, is a resource i have plenty of.
- it makes me uncomfortable to recognize this.
- it disgusts me in fact, and makes me feel powerless.
- i try to imagine what people of color live with every day.
- that makes me feel emotional again and powerless and GUILTY.
- guilt makes me even more uncomfortable to speak about my privilege. that due to nothing other than my color of skin i will not have to worry for the safety of my life or of the lives of my bio fam or my white friends.
- my uncomfortability is not my opinion, it is my experience.
- emotions i experience = my own subjective experience that only i can speak to.
- that’s why i am speaking about being a woman with the privilege of being white in america.
- one opinion i have is that other white people’s uncomfortability is confused with their subjective experience, which means their lived experience of safety.
- another opinion i have, informed by the fact of my profession as a trauma-informed counselor, is that because people in general have been taught to shame their emotions, they don’t know how to manage or process them as a normal, metabolic function.
- informed opinions are opinions based on fact.
- my informed opinion is that humans in general aren’t good at creating their own distinction between their emotional response and thoughtful, informed opinion.
- what i mean is their emotions (their experience in their body) gets in the way of seeing facts clearly.
- another opinion i have is that not seeing facts clearly leaves us with lots of emotional, often aggressive or hurtful opinions.
- it’s a vicious circle, dig?
- fact: we call that circle cognitive-behavior.
- we (informed professionals,) when discussing the cognitive-behavior of whites when it comes to privilege, safety, and race, call that unconscious bias.
- the unconscious bias of white people bums me out. that’s a personal truth of my lived, subjective, emotional experience.
- truth and fact are different, too.
- that difference is what i love about being human…the endless creative potentiality of the collective personal truths of human resilience, curiosity and open-mindedness, connection, meaning-making, and soul.
- in that regard, all people consistently, in my eyes, can be continually redeemed.
here are three facts. they are different from opinions.
- the right to assemble and practice freedom of speech (protest) is a right guaranteed to all americans under the first amendment
- peaceful assembly to practice free speech is different from rioting and looting
- there is a clinical relationship, proven by nueroscience, between people with the complex trauma of long-term, chronic environmental exposure to violence acting out violently as a means of their *perceived* only option
*to understand what it is to perceive something, head back to the above and the difference between thoughtful reflection on experience, and emotional reaction
*i am happy to provide you the data for fact number 3