The All-Access Pass Nobody Earns

Written by Rosana Hughes
February 25, 2016

I am not black. My skin is not even remotely dark. I cannot and will not pretend to understand racism on a personal level because I was born with privilege—privilege brought on by having white skin.

Although I am Hispanic, I am also white. I have the choice of blending into white culture if I so choose. To avoid the prejudice, avoid the discrimination. I can use my “white card” to get what I want out of the people running the system. For it’s not the system, you see, but the people who run it.

The law doesn’t discriminate against blacks, Hispanics, Asians. It’s the individual people in office who discriminate.

I cannot understand racism on a personal level, but I can understand it from the outside. I see it all around me on a regular basis.

The lady startling before scurrying to compose herself when the person I used to date walked in the door to hand me food as I worked.

The same lady quickly assuming he is a delivery boy for a restaurant (that has historically never delivered) and not my significant other.

The man clutching his lady’s arm while walking past the person I used to date and me on a sidewalk late at night.

The security personnel in a shopping mart following me and the person I used to date to make sure we—but it was really just him, wasn’t it? —don’t steal any merchandise.

I personally do not know what it feels like to be profiled. I’ve been stopped by police officers and let go without warning for the same offense that the person I used to date committed, but only he was ticketed and required to appear in court and pay a fine.

So, no, I do not know the feeling of being profiled based on the shade of my skin, but I do know what it is like to be with someone who is, and that, to me, is just as offensive.

But these things all happened outside of Southern Adventist University. I was naïve to think Southern was an exception. We’re all-inclusive here in Happy Valley, aren’t we?

No. We are not.

Racism is such an inherent part of our culture today, I fear some don’t even realize they are being racist. They’re trained to think the way they do due to their entitlement. Everything is so easy for them that it’s hard to understand why it’s not easy for everyone else. The struggle is not a reality for them. It’s not even a reality for me. I won’t pretend to know what that is like, but I see it around me, and I acknowledge it exists. It indirectly affects me, too.

Until we can all acknowledge it exists and understand its effects, racism will never go away.