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privilege

Tonight I am going to Diner en Blanc, a well-organized flash dinner party at a soon to be revealed public space in Philadelphia. Diners will don white party outfits and raise their glasses to thousands of other community members in our great city to toast the efforts and success of pulling off such a chic night.

I am going to an all white event on the heels of another very different all white event.

Diner en Blanc is in no way a reflection of racism or supremacy unlike what took place this past weekend in Charlottesville. White parties and parties of white people are very different. Linking the events together here is only done to illustrate how two separate events provoked within me a similar feeling.

There are a lot of white attendees at Diner en Blanc though. There are a number of reasons why this may be. One reason people will dance around admitting is that it’s just easier for white people to do stuff.

I imagine a few thousand primarily black community members having a similar party in a public space and how different it would look. Not by color of skin but by the uptick of police presence and neighbors voicing inconveniences of street closures when what they really mean to say is, “I’m a little (to a lot) racist and not in my backyard, please.”

Someone will counter that point by mentioning the Odunde Festival held annually in Grey’s Ferry. To that I would in return ask how easy would it be for the Odunde Festival (should it desire) to move around from neighborhood to neighborhood, shutting down different public streets as it rotates location each year?

If you believe there would be no issue, definitely keep reading.

After last year’s election I was left with the truth that I had not done enough to stand against intolerance and hate. I did not vote for Trump. I was vocal in my opposition to his whole being. I showed love to anyone whether they were white, female, and straight like me or not, because shock alert, people that are not exactly like me are still human beings and should be shown love.

I reached out to friends asking what I could do. I marched. I became more vocal. I called the offices where my voice coupled with many others was supposed to make a difference. And embarrassingly, my efforts faded.  

Collectively, momentum fades among young white people truly interested in social change because collectively, we have the privilege of forgetting.

Charlottesville happened and it continues to feel like we’re going back in time. As vocal as people are/were following the election we still have a person in office that has done nothing but fan the flames of those with hate in their hearts.

Following the election I remember a Facebook friend posting in response to white friends whom were crying out their disappointment that more conversations needed to happen not within our more progressive circles but with our friends with whom we play tennis and lunch. I don’t play tennis but point received.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.

Hearing helicopters over the estimated 2,000+ person rally last night made me character check myself. How was I staying engaged? Was I helping to support matters or being passive with my efforts? Could I be more vocal? Was I being silent?

Diner en Blanc has received slack through the years for missing the opportunity to do more for the community in which it takes over for a night of fun. I don’t disagree but lots of larger organizations could stand to do more. We all could. This isn’t an anti-Diner en Blanc post.

These two events are entirely unrelated but they both reminded me of the privilege a lot of us will be wearing tonight, that we’ve worn our whole lives.

There is power in numbers and I’d be remiss to not take advantage of the opportunity to be more vocal among such a crowd.

I know many of the diners tonight have only love in their hearts and oppose the gross intolerance we see on the news. But we can do more. We have to do more.

I’m not always sure where to go to make an effective impact and then I remember the power that can be found when we use our voice. I want to ask deeper questions, unlearn hate that I was taught, educate family and friends to unlearn any intolerance they may hold, and continue to teach acceptance and love by example. And I want to learn more of how I can be of help.

In the face of hate, in the face of intolerance, and in the face of silence – she persisted, in the name of love.

We’re all the same and we’re in this together. The more we can get on board with this wild concept the less we will be at risk for sinking.

food for thought

bare naked