Like many well-educated Caucasian men, I thought myself “woke”. Unlike the hashtag using, pussy hat wearing, and Twitter shaming liberals, my devotion to social justice was genuine and not in need of public acknowledgement.
Party to discussions of white privilege and endemic racism, I naively assumed that the severity of these problems was exaggerated. Having grown up in Appalachian poverty, it was hard for me to see myself as privileged. Moreover, my ethnic peer group did not openly disclose their racist views in my presence. Had my white friends and acquaintances held such views, surely, they would have voiced them to me. Uh, nope.
Over the past few years, I realized that I was clueless. Endless and senseless murders of young black men and the uprising of the “alt right” nudged me into genuine consciousness. My own arrogance and prejudice blinded me. The truth, I am privileged and embarrassed by my ignorance. I have never had to worry about either of my sons being killed by policemen. They are not routinely subjected to racial profiling, nor do they feel threatened by merely being in the presence of people of a different race. If they were harmed, I believe that justice would be likely. What have we become when not being in constant fear connotes privilege?