Just Because I’m White with Troubles Does Not Mean I’m Bereft of Privilege
In disclosure, the image above is not of me. In further disclosure, this is me, looking oh-so-serious last month in New York’s FAO Schwarz:
I wanted you to open the article, you see.
I’ve spent substantial time these last few months, here on Medium, trying to inspire you with my writing, in part by striving to convince you I’ve been through hell and back — maybe a dozen times — over the years in pursuit of my dream career.
Who hasn’t, though?
And yet, despite being a man in my mid-50s who wants to be relatable and who presently does now write and produce for a living, it’s tough for me to bitch about any obstacles when the reality is a) I was just offered a job teaching screenwriting, b) I recently signed to write a television miniseries, and c) I am not picked on because of my skin color.
The question may arise, “Why did you title the article personally, then, as if you were suffering?”
My honest response: That wasn’t the original title. The original title was, “Just Because You’re White With Troubles Does Not Mean You’re Bereft of Privlege.”
In my effort to personalize my pieces on this platform, I elected to indulge a bit.
Oh, I do suffer too … but who doesn’t?
That’s the entirety of my long-winded answer.
I am free-writing this article, meaning I am voice-recording my immediate thoughts onto MS Word, copying and pasting to Medium and editing from there. The reason for this, as is occasionally my wont, is to deliver this piece from the gut without agonizing over proper grammar, or stressing over my points.
So, to continue this session of self-indulgence …
Am I ever discriminated against?
Yes. Because I’m clearly of a certain age and even if I dyed my hair and shaved the goatee those years would visibily remain. Especially with the glasses off.
Serious bags, you see. Stress, work and lack of sleep-related.
For now, my entrepreneurial instincts help me survive, day after day. (If you believe there’s a piece of advice there, run with it.)
But let’s talk about today’s world, and you.
Coronavirus concerns aside … I have yet to hear anything about travel bans specifically against whites. I haven’t needed Affirmative Action plans over the years to help me attain a job when I was broke.
I was never the equivalent of a “diversity hire.”
I went to interview for those positions like everyone else, and attained a hundred day jobs (no exaggeration) over the years until I was able to sustain as a writer.
Question: If I was a person of color who had gone from job to job over the course of decades, would you have hired me?
Likely not. Save for an irregular 10-year stint as a special education teacher, I had a lousy track record of working for a few weeks and quitting.
And they all knew it. And they hired me anyway because I exhibited competence and I was safe.
Only writing interested me, you see.
I mentioned the Coronavirus earlier.
Speaking of this current calamity, some Asian friends of mine are now being treated like third-class citizens. Even my local Chinese restaurant, a popular dinner destination for years, has been largely empty these last few weeks.
Cops don’t pull me over to question where I am headed, or where I’ve been. Sorry, not a knock at all against law enforcement in general, but a very real issue in certain areas, for many years, against African Americans.
But surely, all that aside, my own issues — financial at times, emotionally handling passings of friends and extended family, wanting to do right by those I love and who love me — are substantial.
Well, to me. And you know what?
My issues don’t matter worth a damn because they can be managed.
Identifiable persons of color are not safe to many, and will continue to be targeted, or not treated nearly as well as I’ve been.
As for me, I’m Jewish. I’ve borne the brunt of anti-Semitism once people found out. I don’t hide. But do I look Jewish? Some may say “yes,” but at least one person in recent conversation didn’t think so.
When presented with this question, she succinctly answered, “About as much as Sammy Davis, Jr. did.”
Perhaps that explains my fortune in finally attaining and then sustaining my dream career, despite my “troubles.”
For whatever it’s worth I am, candidly, somewhat paranoid that the older I get my writing work will dry up. This is an ongoing issue with writers, most especially those who write for film and television.
For now, I’m still viable. That means, to me, on repeat, that I’m nothing less than privileged.
Hopefully that lasts, and I say that selfishly.
To my creative brothers and sisters reading this diatribe, I make this promise: With my words I will continue to extend my reach and help as many of you as I can. Within my business interests I will continue to hire men and women of color, experience, and qualifications.
No one will be discouraged based on any “lack of privilege.”
And, if you are discriminated against elsewhere, please send me feedback here.
Note too that there are many other people like me in this ether, who also want to help in any way possible.
To that end, I will be more than happy to review material based on your related experiences — pro and con — for a followup story.
To summarize: White privilege is real. No one will convince me otherwise. And that reality, in this day and age, is untenable.
Thank you for reading.
— Yours, A Man of Privilege. Despite it all.
If you have found this article of value, feel free to recommend, share and follow me here on Medium (and I will follow you back), where I publish new stories daily on a variety of topics.