I recently watched a video called The Race of Life about white privilege. In the video, a bunch of kids were lined up of different races and genders. A man told them they were all going to race for a hundred dollar bill. But before they could begin running, they were asked a series of questions such as, “Have you never had to wonder where your next meal was going to come from?” and “Have you never had to worry about your phone being shut off?” And if the kid’s answers to these questions were yes, they had to take two steps forward. This resulted in the kids going from one single line to being scattered all over. A lot of the black kids ended up toward the back. The man concluded by saying, “We all know these people up here have a better opportunity to win this hundred dollars. Does that mean these people back here cant race? No. — The reality is if this was a fair race and everybody was back on that line, I guarantee you some of these black dudes would smoke all of you. And it’s only because you have this big of a head start that you’re possibly going to win this race called life.”
Now the definition of privilege is “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.” What this man was trying to get the kids to understand was that because the minorities in the group were not white, they wouldn’t have as many life advantages and therefore would be set back in the “race of life.”
But a key thing I noticed in the video was that, unless you were the kid all the way in the back, there was always someone behind you. Because whether we were born into a specific group or not, we are all blessed.
Sure you may not be rich, but do you have a home? You may not have a car, but do you have legs? You may not be society’s idea of beautiful, but do you have a mouth to say something that’ll change the social norms? You may not have money to help someone out financially but do you have the wisdom to mentally guide them in the right direction?
We are blessed! Whether it looks like it or not. And that is something that even I have to constantly remind myself of. There is always going to be someone behind me in life that needs a helping hand. I recently read a quote that said, “My life is someone’s dream out there,” and when I really processed that, it hit me hard. No matter how bad you think you have it, someone out there is wishing they could be in your place.
Sometimes we complain that the kid with the hundred dollar bill isn’t helping the rest of us, but what are we doing to help each other get to that kid’s place? We talk so much crap about celebrities not donating all of their money to big charities and fundraisers but we don’t even help the people we see on the daily.
And again, helping each other doesn’t always mean financially. There are people struggling physically, mentally and spiritually! Stop turning a blind eye to your struggling neighbors while looking at the “privileged” to help you.
I remember seeing a white woman going into a corner store and she looked overwhelmed and busy. She knocked some things over and cursed and yelled. A black homeless man walked over with a smile wide enough to brighten anyone’s day and helped clean up the mess while saying words of encouragement. Now that man had no home to call his own and probably wondered where his next meal would come from that night, yet he took the time to help out someone more privileged than himself. That man proved you don’t need a lot of money or a lot of privilege to help someone out. That man understands he is blessed to be alive. And I think when we all process how blessed we truly are instead of focusing on what we don’t have in life, we will reach the level of happiness that man had.
You may not be rich but you are blessed. And the only way we will progress as a whole, privileged or not, is if we lift each other up instead of waiting for handouts from the kid with the hundred dollar bill.
xo, Brittany Kayla