'No Jail Time. No Fine. NOTHING.' People Share The Worst Examples Of White Privilege They've Witnessed.

If you know someone who doesn't think race (at least partially) define the consequences of our actions, share this article with them. It should make us all think twice.

This piece is based on a Quora question. Link on the last page.

1/8. Some years ago, I was waiting for my green card to be approved after 4 years. I had applied through the tech company I was working for in Silicon Valley, California.

Eventually, a letter arrived informing me I needed to go to the government offices in San Jose to finalize the process. I drove down and there was a mile-long line outside the building. Begrudgingly, I parked the car and joined the long queue, expecting to be there for hours.

Looking around me, I could see people from every imaginable nationality. Ironically, Silicon Valley has few British immigrants, and this made me really stand out.

After around 10 minutes of waiting, a government official appeared. They were checking that everyone had the correct paperwork before reaching the offices.

When he saw me, he quickly checked my paperwork and summoned me to follow him. I initially panicked, thinking I was missing some critical document, but no!

He proceeded to take me directly to the front of this giant line, all the while profusely apologizing for the delay and the inefficient system.

I couldn't believe my luck, but then I began to feel guilty when I realized I was given a significant privilege. If I had been, say, Mexican, things might have turned out very different, even if I had taken the exact same steps. Sad, but true.

-Joe McCracken

2/8. Im black. I was at a bar with my buddies watching the US mens national soccer team play this summer during the Copa America tournament.

I managed to snag a seat at the bar to watch the game, and my friends (two other black guys, one asian) were all hanging around watching with me.

At halftime, we were shooting the breeze, when this one white girl with a bad attitude marched up to the bar and tried to squeeze into my seat - I was standing at that point.

I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Im sitting there." She spun around and immediately sneered, are you really?! Jerk. (continued...)

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Taken aback, I stared at her for a moment and decided it wasn't worth my time. But clearly this girl was very upset that I would dare to even mention this clearly irrelevant fact to her.

She started going on and on about "these people" and "you know how they are." This is Texas. As a black person, you just get used to that kind of crap after a while.

After a while, I turned back to the seat, and my sunglasses which were on the counter in front of my seat are gone.I know immediately shes swiped them, because she had suddenly fallen silent and had a look on her face that gave it away.

My buddy starts to ask if she's seen my sunglasses, and this girl starts screaming at the top of her lungs. "DONT TOUCH ME! ...IF YOU TOUCH ME, I'LL!-"

Knowing what was coming, I immediately walked outside. After what seemed like an eternity, the manager came out to talk to me.

He went in the back and checked the video feed, saw her steal my sunglasses and threw the girl out of the bar. But he says cant search her without police getting involved so she still has my sunglasses.

Less than 24 hours later, the manager calls me. The girl has returned my sunglasses.

If you dont think that was white privilege, just TRY to imagine what would have happened to me if I swiped some tiny white girls sunglasses from a bar in Texas. On video tape. Yeah, exactly.

-John Cole

3/8. I am a white female from a suburban Midwestern town. I have benefitted greatly in my life from being white, and it honestly makes me sick.

When I was 15, I was riding around in a car smoking weed with another young white girl. Suddenly we saw flashing lights in the rear-view.

We got pulled over because she didn't have her headlights on. I stuck the pipe we were smoking from under my seat. and said my prayers.

The cop walked up to the window and said: I can smell the weed on you, so ere's the deal." (continued...)

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"You can either give me what you have and I'll write you a ticket. If you don't give me what you have, I'll call the K-9 unit, and when we find it, we'll take you to jail for the night."

I sighed and handed him a wooden corn cob pipe half full of half smoked weed. He searched the car, and also found three 10mg hydrocodone in a plastic baggy under her seat.

My friend made up some story that she needed them because she sprained her ankle playing soccer. She called her dad and her dad 'confirmed' it to the officer.

And he let us go. Literally nothing happened and we both went on to smoke and ride another day. I have no doubt in my mind that if I was either male or a person of color, I would be in prison right now.


4/8. It's the last week of school, and our U.S. History teacher asks us, If you could live in any decade of American history, which decade would you choose?

My friend raises his hand. The 1950s, he says. They had the best music. And their TV shows were classic.

The teacher nods. "I want everyone to take out a piece of paper and write down which decade you would choose and why."

I think about the histories that I've seen in my textbooks, and in novels, and in my favorite movies. Nothing fits.

It takes me a few minutes to realize why : None of those main characters could ever look like me. There is no part of the history of my country I could have experienced the same way its popularly remembered.

A lot of my white friends can imagine slipping into history with an excited smile and a wave goodbye. But if I were to be born into the 1950s or the 1870s or the 1920s, it would most likely be an experience of hatred and anger and mistrust.

It's a small thing, I know, but when it comes to privilege, sometimes the small things are the ones that speak the loudest.

5/8. I once asked a black friend of mine why she gave her daughter one of those obviously black names that so many racist people find off-putting. Her answer made me feel ashamed. (continued...)

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She said it would alert landlords and potential employers and spare her daughter the pain of going to see apartments that had just been rented before she showed up. Or going to job interviews where she'd never be hired anyway.

That's the kind of thing that doesn't occur to people who deny white privilege.

-Denis Rubin

6/8. It was late. About 2am. And I was fairly drunk.

I had locked myself out of my house after taking my dog out for a walk. I had left my keys inside.

No problem, my IPA-soaked brain said. Well kick the door in, and worry about it in the morning.

But after 15 or so Chuck Norris style roundhouse kicks to the wooden door, I wasn't much closer to my grand entry.

Flustered, I went back down my front steps to the sidewalk and voiced several 4-letter words of frustration to the sky. Almost in answer to my sky-cursing, a group of guys appeared from around the corner, probably also coming home from a night out at the bars.

Me: Guys, guys!! Do any of you know how to pick a lock? I locked myself out.

Very helpful guy: Yeah I can probably do it with a credit card.

Without any hesitation he proceeded up my stairs and swiftly opened my front door. No questions asked.

Me: Thank you!! That was amazing!

With nearly zero effort I convinced a total stranger to help me break into a house, that he just assumed was mine, in the middle of the night. For what its worth, it was a black colleague of mine who pointed out that this was white privilege.

-Lauren Collinson

7/8. It was homecoming, my freshman year of high school.

After the dance ended, after midnight, my friends and I (all white) decided to go to IHOP. All of us were minors, and curfew for minors in Ohio is midnight.

We were loud and obnoxious, like most teenagers are. There were two other post-homecoming groups, but we didnt know any of them. They were also all black.

Around 1:30 AM, just when were paying our bills, chaos erupts. (continued...)

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Half a dozen officers in Gang Patrol uniforms burst through the door, screaming and brandishing batons. If theres anyone under the age of 18 in here, youre going to spend the night downtown!

We were petrified. None of us could possibly pass for 18, and the fact that we were in dresses and suits pretty much gave away that we were high school kids. I started to panic, wondering how I would explain to my parents that I was arrested.

The police advanced, blocking all exits. My heart was pounding. I was about to throw up.

But they walked right past us, screaming at the other two groups of kids in the restaurant. One kid was immediately handcuffed, all while being threatened with arrest. They were crying and asking what they did wrong.

We were told to go home and drive safe.

As we drove off, we saw the other kids get loaded off into the back of police cars.

My friend's date said as we got back to my house, Well, its a good thing were all white, isnt it? I think about that night a lot.

-Annelisa Monica

8/8. This isnt just about white privilege, but rather several levels of privilege all coming together to create an absolutely ridiculous moment. In high school, I attended an expensive and prestigious boarding school in the Northeast US.

As one can imagine, the student population skewed very, very white. (continued...)

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The combination of free time, incredible wealth, and a sense of immunity to the rules/laws of the rest of the world led to rampant substance abuse.

The enormous and beautiful campus provided plenty of places for students to go away from prying faculty eyes, perfect for drinking and smoking pot. (We even had our own 9-hole golf course.)

The limiting factor to substance abuse was primarily availability. This was the early 90s, right around when 3 strikes drug laws were popular, and decades away from the wave of marijuana legalization that were seeing today. Even pot was hard to get.

So enter two young students who thought they found a good solution to their dilemma of too much time and money and not enough pot to smoke.

During their spring break they went home to Texas, and from there drove to Mexico to bring a large quantity of pot (two ounces) back across the border. Which was easier to do back then. Then they bought a stuffed Easter bunny.

They cut it open, stuck the drugs in there, then sewed it back up, put it in a cardboard box, and sent it to themselves at school via UPS.

Unfortunately for them, the rabbit broke open during shipping and the DEA got involved. Remember this was a large amount of marijuana being transported through the mail across state lines, making it a federal crime.

OK youve got two boys, 15 and 17, caught red-handed sending marijuana with intent to distribute. What was the fallout?

One of the boys claimed it was entirely his idea so the other got off scot free. So what happened to the guy who heroically took the fall and got all of the blame?

He got expelled from school and put on probation for three months. No criminal record. No jail time. No fine. NOTHING.

Now stop for a moment and imagine what would have happened if this had been a poor black kid sending himself this much pot through the mail in a housing project?

People have lost decades of their lives for doing far less.

-Mike Lieberman


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