I remember believing I didn't have a racist bone in my body, that I had somehow risen above all prejudice. My job was done, I was an excellent person.
Only in my twenties I said this more than once:
"Well, black people can be racist, too. Let me tell you about this time..."
Or this nonsensical line:
"I don't see color."
Those are two prime examples of my white privilege showing. Because I may have watched the Rodney King trial and been appalled that two of the police officers were acquitted, or made friends with that one black girl in high school. I may have read and loved Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, but I still held onto deeply rooted prejudices and, worse, ambivalence.
Not until the night Trump was elected president did I come to recognize my own white privilege, how deeply embedded it was. Only white people were surprised. Everyone else, it seemed, expected exactly what happened.
I could frame myself as "woke" but I had a lot of work to do. It starts with environment, yes, and media, politics, growing up in the Bible Belt surrounded by good ole boys.
But. But one of the things I've always tried to teach my children is we have to take responsibilities for our own thoughts, words, and actions. I can cry and rage when another black man is shot down, be a social justice warrior. I will do those things and I believe #BlackLivesMatter. First, I have to own my part in how we got to where we are today.
Then, it's time to go to work.