500 word essay from the perspective of being a black woman per requested:
I've watched it all my life; starting with my g'ma breastfeed'n them white babies who growed up to be their master, and was mean as ever. Lawd. I seen it firsthand; white privilege means you got to use the front door while we used the back; it meant available water fountains when ours was scarce, if any at all; it mean sit'n in them restaurants where we wasn't allowed. I used colored-entrances to the movies round back that led to their own section inside away from white folk, and back-seating in the buses. I seen it all.
You have written an essay that goes way beyond the challenge. What I see here is a work of art that deserves a more conspicuous platform. Your piece is, in one sense, historic—as it reflects on the “wet nurse” experience in which Black slave mothers breast-fed the infants of their White masters. I suppose that took place everywhere there were White babies and Black nursing mothers. The rest of the historic context is specifically the American experience—backdoors and front doors, White fountains, restaurants and back-seats buses, and coloured movie entrances.
See, privilege means "a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group". So if you was white, you was privileged and got to do the things we couldn't. It don't take rocket scientist to concede that fact. The question is, does it still exist? Perhaps not in the literal sense whereas we get to walk in through the front door and sit wherever we choose on the bus. We gets to eat in any restaurant and water fountains are there for the tak'n. But you can't see a person's thoughts; only the emotion in their eyes, and even then, jes sometimes. I tell you now, it still exists in the minds of some just like it did when they was rules. I seen it.
Here, you rationalise privilege as White prerogative that continues to exist in much more subtle forms. Mind play and innuendo fill the racial gaps but those who are alert can see “the emotion in their eyes.”
Someone once said to me, "I don't see color". I called them a liar 'cause we all see color. We see it in the art we view; the clothes we wear, the sunburns on fair-skinned and the deep tans on olive-skinned. We see the leaves in the fall; the colors of Christmas lights, and decorate our own homes accord'n to our favorite color. We also see the color of each other's skin; I see your white skin and I know you see my black skin. They ain't nothing wrong with that; our heritage is something we should all be proud to know.
This seeing-colour bit is pure poetry, Ahavati! And I agree with you: who does not see colour? We all know when to eat a ripe banana, when to pick ripe tomatoes, when to start using “Youth Hair,” and when to conceal our blush (if our colour changes in a moment of embarrassment). We also see people who are like ourselves and those who are different, and the sensible ones of us make a conscious effort to be inclusive and accommodating, if not effusive and all-embracing. We even know where to draw the caution lines, lest we overstep our bounds, or seem condescending.
I want you to see my color and know I am a survivor. I want you to see my color, my blackness, but also the love in my eyes for your white, Latino, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American skin. I want to be who I am: a proud black woman standing among you; and I want you to see that, and be as proud of the heritage and color you are as I want to be. I want us to stand tall, celebrate our differences and grow. I don't want us to stop seeing color; I want us to see beyond the color to the human part inside.
This is your magnanimous resolve: to be proud of who you are, with your helpless shade of colour, living in a world with others endowed (proudly or ashamedly) with their own helpless shades of colour. Perhaps, then, there would be no so-called supremacy or inferiority of thought, because everyone could be equally vulnerable or equally resilient—the net value of which would be the ability “to see beyond the color to the human part inside.”
I don't want no reparations; I don't want you to walk in my shoes one day. I simply want every race, color, and nation to be privileged too: Asian, Black, Hispanic, Latino, Native American, White, and so forth. When we're all privileged, we're all equal without losing a thing, but gaining everything: humanity.
I'll Love You, regardless of what you see.
I differ with you slightly on the privilege issue. You might recall my vehemently dismissing the notion that anyone should consider me a privileged Black because I can read and write, and have a university education.
If what belongs to others rightfully belongs to me, as well, am I, then, really privileged? Wherever there is privilege for one person or group, those who do not belong to that privileged class must be the underprivileged. If your sentence were coming from my pen, it would read, “I simply want every race, color, and nation to be normal too: Asian, Black, Hispanic, Latino, Native American, White, and so forth. When we're all normal, we're all equal without losing a thing...”
On the whole, a brilliant cameo from the eyes of someone looking into the experience of someone else. How could I say it is not also your experience? After all, to see it, believe it, feel it, and commiserate with it is, in the most generous sense, to live it and to be it.
Well done! Please publish this as prosaic art.