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The White Privilege
A cherished childhood spent cocooned in my inward-looking community,
Protected me from the indoctrination of a white-privileged history.
But when I stepped into a world where brown was under-represented
My identity… Was molested.
My speech, skin, hair and dress, seemed to cause the white man stress.
And brown was a tan on the white man’s skin,
But brown on a brown man stirred anger from within.
My thoughts and views were misaligned, with rooted, selective, historical lies.
My identity… Was compromised.
I was now paradoxically an exotic delight, a shameful pressure to apologise,
For the privilege of living in the civilised world, where white and West comfortably merge.
My education spoke of no oppressive past, the Normans and Saxons, unequivocal facts.
No mention of my ancestors, murdered. Indigenous peoples, exploited, slaughtered.
Building privilege through the strength of tyranny,
White privilege, invisible to the white, naked eye. Yet it lives in every coloured breath,
In every silent cry.
I have lived with an unseen claim, that white is right and everything else is to blame.
But lessons in life inspired me to rise and pronounce myself with an internal pride.
To name and shame the blood-stained colonialist, the callous, indifferent, imperialist.
And from their murderous history, rose the modern man’s insecurity,
The truth, the bloody, brutal, truth, that is the black man’s reality.
Still evident today is a strong disinclination, reflected in the ignorance of the nation
To admit that their historical success, was moralistically, humanely, a bloody mess.
But not all should hang their head in shame… it’s not you but your past that is to blame.
Yet the consequences of those crimes, have won you privilege and power through time.
And the legacy of the other: disadvantage, subjugation, intimidation, domination.
And still they make subconscious judgements, of my backward, other, non-conformist views.
A stubbornness in accepting and respecting the path that I decide to choose.
Delve deep into your history, open up your subliminal mind,
And ask the difficult questions, seek, unfeigned, with loosened pride.
Sahera Patel is a 43 year old British Muslim. She is a teacher, an author and a public speaker, promoting the positive nature of a deep faith that suffers many misconceptions.