Amber Gruner – White Privilege

White Privilege

We live in a racialized society
A socially constructed bubble
Where the colour of our skin dictates our life experiences
A carefully allocated civilisation
Filled with broken promises,
And white privilege
Though we are not to blame for instigating the system,
We complacently profit from it every day
Sat blissfully awaiting an earthquake
Whilst the ground already shakes beneath us
Such trauma is not new
It’s been four centuries in the making
And if you’re not outraged now
Then you’re not paying attention
You can’t criticise the top when you’re on top yourself
White privilege is not class privilege
Confessing it does not dismiss our own suffering
Acknowledging it is not enough to end it
Our defensiveness should not derail the conversation
Our guilt should not befuddle the cause
Covid-19 is just one episode in a 400-year-long history
Of systemic racism,
Ingrained inequality
And potent white supremacy,
That defines what we call society
We have no real practise talking about race
Henry VIII’s six wives at the tip of our tongue
Yet blank on the territorial evolution of the British Empire
We have been given the privilege of a racist system,
Even if we’re not individually racist
And enrichment on the ends of our white fingertips
We have a built in advantage
Whilst millions are discriminated in
The Criminal Justice System

Privilege is walking through the airport security effortlessly
Whilst my two brown brothers are “randomly” stopped each time
Privilege is feeling safe around the police
Privilege is as small as the shampoo bottles in hotels fit for white hair
Racism, the timeworn theme to humanity every year
We move past civil wars, apartheid systems,
Holocausts, imperial governments,
Colonial societies, fascist regimes,
Yet still so many remain a post-slave to the system
Each day shared in monotony and disparity
Filled with oxymoronic dogmas and hypocrisy
We teach children the golden rule
Though we continue to not treat others how we want to be treated
Following the Pied Piper injudiciously down the road,
Swallowing the pattern of assumptions passed down to us
Generation after generation
It’s time we all have an uncomfortable conversation
We are not retreating
We are reloading
It’s our responsibility to educate our ignorance
And learn the history blood-stained by the savagery of white privilege
Convincing ourselves that we don’t see race is not helpful
Plodding through with quotidian mindlessness is not helpful
This is not the time for narcissistic self-flagellation
The goal is not to demonize white men
But to grasp the doctrine of white privilege
There’s a desperate hunger for change in the air
White silence is compliance
We have the luxury of writing about painful reality
Without having to live it
White supremacy is not the edge of a cliff
But the gushing winds around it
Institutionalised racism has been normalised
That we have forgotten what a normal society is meant to be
Without change, the world is not a fundamental place
Change requires us to commit,
To learn, to collaborate, stay woke
And fight to deinstitutionalise the system and distribute privilege
So that our children,
And our children’s children,
Grow up in a world that promotes
Equanimity and justice
Free of bias and prejudice
For all


Amber Gruner is a 26 year-old London based writer. Her work focusses on the topics of mental health, international human rights and politics, in addition to covering everyday societal experiences. She has recently completed an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology and plans to go on to complete a Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

poetry shed

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