I have been criticized as being an “angry” Black man. Perhaps this label is correct. When I see the injustices done to people of color, the poor and disenfranchised in our society, I do get upset. It was refreshing to see the youth and their families “March for Lives” this past weekend. Millions of people from all over the United States participated to say enough is enough as it pertains to gun violence in our schools. These white kids come from middle to upper class communities and want to see gun laws changed. They advised the time for thoughts and prayers is over and it is time to see some action. This is something that has been said from people of color for centuries. Sara Chadwick, a student from Parkland High School in Florida even said, “If we could use our white privilege to amplify the voices of minorities, then we’re going to use it.” It made me think, what other areas could white privilege be used to benefit minorities? Hmmmmm.
If white people want to use their white privilege to help minorities, then we should start with ensuring we all get a livable wage and equal pay for equal work. According to Pew Research, white men on the average make $21 per hour while Black and Hispanic men make $15 and $14 per hour respectfully. Another study also found that Black women had to work from 2016 and 7 months into 2017 just to be paid the same white men made in all of 2016.
Let’s use white privilege to help improve the housing condition in the US. Home ownership helps families accumulate wealth. A 2014 report from the Center on Poverty shows less than half of Black families (41%) and Hispanic families (45%) live in owner occupied housing. While 71% of white families live in an owned home. To make matters worse, 1 in 6 Black and Hispanic households spend more than 50% of their income on housing. This makes it even more difficult to save money, spend on education or health care.
Finally, we should use the white privilege to care for the environment. I am not talking about the environment where the rich and affluent live, work and play. I am talking about the toxic environment where the poor live and work and where our children play. We are prone to more health issues not because of how we live but where we live. Minorities live in food deserts because no one wants to invest in a grocery store in our community. Minorities live near the land fills of our communities. More than half of the people who live within 1.86 miles of toxic waste facilities in the US are people of color.
So, let’s be sure we continue to let our voices be heard and have them to be amplified by our white friends. Those white tears are powerful tools that should be used to benefit more than just the gun issue but all our issues.
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