That is a picture of me. In case you didn’t notice, I am a pale, white human. My eyes are green, my hair is red (though it will someday be blonde again), and I freckle almost as much as I tan, which isn’t much. That’s the way I was born. I can’t change it.
Because I’m new to the South, there are things that I feel like I can’t write on because I’m still an outsider. Similarly, I have avoided writing about something else for quite some time, because I feel like an outsider. I’m not a racist person, but by staying quiet, it’s like I’ve just said “no comment” on the topic entirely. But I have views, just as we all do.
However, since I’m a pale, white human, the closest I’ve come to racism towards me is being made fun of for saying I have Cherokee in me when all the native kids where I’m from are Paiute. I don’t even really have enough Cherokee in me to really claim it anyway.
The thing is, I’m proud of my heritage. My dad is Norwegian, and I’m proud to say that I am too. Froiland means “happy place” in Norwegian, and when I shorten it to Froi, it simply means “happy.” That’s what I want to be, happy. That’s what I wish everyone could settle for. Everyone should be able to be proud of their heritage.
But growing up in such a small town in California, I wasn’t aware of my privilege. I guess most white people aren’t aware of their privilege. And whether or not that’s okay is a completely different topic. Another thing about growing up in a small town in California, there were very few African Americans in my town. There were plenty of people with Hispanic heritage, and plenty of Native Americans, and, of course, plenty of white people, but we could count the number of African descended families on our fingers. Not that we did count them, that was just the way things were.
When I was really young I was concerned that I was racist because I didn’t have any black friends. But that’s because I went to a private school in a small town, and so I didn’t have the opportunity. In high school and afterward I realized my concerns were invalid. The color of someone’s skin has never made me like someone more or less.
Last year someone commented that I didn’t date white guys, which I realize is almost true. Most of the guys that I have fallen for have been of a different race, but that’s not the reason we were together. In fact, the person I fell the hardest for was an African American (he still is), but again, that was never important to me. He was an amazing person inside and out, and the only thing my mother had to say about his looks is that he was very strong, bulky, when I usually like skinny, lanky guys.
I have a tattoo on my collar bone that says “All is Privilege.” When I got it, it meant, and still means, that everything we have in life, including life itself, is a privilege, a gift. We shouldn’t take life for granted. Now that I’m older, here, in the South, and my privilege is being suddenly announced to me in a different way, I think my tattoo means something else too. I need to recognize my privilege. I need to try to use it for the betterment of society, because it’s not something that I deserve, purely based on skin color, anyway.
Racism doesn’t make sense to me. What’s the point in disliking someone because they look different than you? I think God made us all different because he likes variety. If anything, our differences should be celebrated.
No one can help the way they were born, and no one should be hated for it. No one is a lesser person because anything out of their control. No color is more beautiful than another, because beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder. Even if the beholder is wrong sometimes.
There are cops that are racist that are killing people based on their skin color because of their privilege. And there are cops being killed, because someone might have decided that all cops are racist. And that really is just as bad as hating someone because of their race. It’s just as bad as hating someone because of their gender or sexual orientation. It really is just as bad as hating someone for what they believe. And it needs to stop. Stop killing each other. Stop hating each other. Why isn’t there more love, acceptance, and happiness in this world? Froi. Happy. Literally.
But maybe I should go back to leaving this alone. Because it scares me. Because I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to have input because I’m an outsider. I will never be able to understand what it’s like to be pulled over because of my skin color. I will never be able to understand being afraid to leave my home alone because someone might not like the way I look. I will never understand being judged purely on my ethnicity. Not in a fearful way. And it’s not fair. It’s not fair that there are people who do understand this.
This is my comment. No comment.