Thank you for this article. I have never had to think about myself being white — and therein lies the privilege.
I grew up in a poor community with this invisible line that ran down a road one street over from mine — white people lived on one side and black folks on the other side. My high school was 60% black at the time I attended there. Close association and regular interaction with my black neighbors and classmates still did not settle the constant confusion I had over why there were always divisions, arguments, anger and dissension between the two races — and it hurt me so much as a kid.
As an adult I have tried to be open and listen to the experiences of others, without interjecting my own. (Hasn’t my whiteness watered down the experiences of others enough?) It shames me that you or anyone has to change who you are to be ok. Perhaps that is oversimplifying, but I often do not have the words. Reading your article hurt. But it needs to hurt. And it needs to be heard! Well-meaning doesn’t mean we always know what to say or how to say it. Perhaps the best thing to say is I see you, I hear you, and I am sorry these things have happened to you. I hope that many people read your words and take some time to self-reflect. There is no time like right now to do better. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I look forward to reading your other work — -and YES, I am a long-winded one today lol. This sparked LOTS of feels.
You could do an entire article on microaggressions — if you have one, drop the link for me?