Tuesday’s with Torrey: Black Privilege

Tuesday’s with Torrey

As I sit here folding clothes with my wife, an idea popped into my head. What would happen if me and six of my African American friends decided to take a drive to Lansing, Michigan? What if we decided to load up AK-47’s and AR-15’s with 30-45 round clips and put them in the trunk on the drive? 

What if when we got to Lansing, we decided to detour down Ottowa street then turn right onto Capital Avenue? What if we stopped at 100 N. Capital Avenue, got the guns out of the trunk and walked in demanding to speak with the governor? What would we be labelled?

Then more questions popped into my mind. What was all of the rage about when Colin Kaepernick knelt down to PEACEFULLY protest the social injustices perpetrated against the African American community? Why are Caucasians automatically privileged and African Americans automatically disadvantaged? Why were the angry, armed protesters not seen as threats to the governor? 

I have spoken out about social injustices many times on many platforms, whether it be a social media post/tirade about being fed up with the unjust treatment of nonwhite people or through poetry and spoken word. In both instances I have often been met with one specific statement. 

“If you do not like it here then why don’t you go back to Africa?” 

The majority of the protesters (if not all) in Lansing have been Caucasian, and so are the majority of their supporters, as far as I can tell. So when I replied, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you go back to the Caucasus Mountains?” I was met with anger and confusion. I was told that was a “stupid” comment because the person had never been to the Caucasus Mountains. I was shocked by this statement because at that moment I realized that I had never been to Africa either. (All sarcasm implied) What a great rebuttal. 

Since I’ve never been to Africa, why would my friends and I, who have also never been to Africa, be viewed as outsiders? Why are we not allowed to protest (peacefully or angrily) without being labeled thugs? 

If you’ve ever questioned the concept of white privilege or have been confused by what exactly it means, situations like the protests in Lansing should provide clarity for you. If you are African American then I challenge you to look inside yourself to see what you can do about balancing out that privilege toward equality. If you are Caucasian, then I challenge you to think about how you can use your privilege to provoke equality. 

Torrey Brown is a loving husband, father, and son, and also an outspoken champion for the black cause and all social injustices.

Any views or opinions expressed in “Tuesdays with Torrey” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.