I Wish I Was White

I wish I was white not because I think life would be easy, but because more things would become an option. Like the option of choosing or choosing not to play the Race Card. The spectrum of some people’s day to day realities would be an option for me. I could get into arguments and discussions and downplay what their culture means, stating the issue is above their culture. I could look down at them and wonder when they’re going to evolve and join mainstream society.

I wish I was white so I could push hard that it’s actually about Classism and not racism. Because then it becomes an issue that only happens to you when you’re poor and all you need to do is become rich and everything solves itself. I could also reference the odd time I have experienced a “Class” issue.

I wish I was white so I could celebrate a culture by wearing their regalia and do nothing to actually help the community. It’d be nice to rock a head dress or war paint or buckskin at a club or at home or a sports game. Because that’s how your people would want to be celebrated: Alcohol and/or Drugs on the dance floor or maybe just some Beer and Wings. I wish I was white so I could define what “integrate” and “appropriate” mean and then explain it to the group of people I offend.

I wish I was white because statistically speaking I’d have to deal with less suicide than I’ve encountered in my life. In fact my only connection or few connections would also include Robin Williams.

I wish I was White because I wouldn’t have to have an honest to God fear this might be the last time I see this Women in my Life (Any Indigenous Women; Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Friend). I wish I didn’t have to live with the statistic that one Indigenous Female will disappear within the next 12 days. I wish I was white because the women I know that have been murdered might not have been or their killer(s) brought to justice. I would watch these women grow up and grow old. We wouldn’t have to live with this pain and loneliness.

I wish I was white so in regards to residential schools, I could tell my Mom and Dad to “get over it.” In those nights where the dreams and memories come haunting back, when the horrors come flooding in. And as they relive the Abuse, the Torture, The Rape? When they are in the Fear, the Anger and consumed by PTSD. I can hold their heads in my hands, look directly into their eyes and tell them to “get over it.” And just like that, like magic, it vanishes, all of what they had experienced they would never have to feel again.

Because in all truth they don’t want to be there anymore either….

But it’s PTSD and they may never get over it….

I wish I was white so I could say “get over it” to my other family members, my aunties, my uncles, my grandparents. I might have been able to cure their drug addiction, their alcoholism, the only places they could take refuge from not feeling anything anymore. I might have been able to save a few of their lives. I might have been about to stop them from killing themselves.

I wish I was white to say we’re not all like that.

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7 Comments

  1. I’m curious to know how you white people found this site and this article in particular. It’s pretty clear you’re not regular readers of Two Row Times. I won’t try to defend indigenous people here because I don’t speak for them and they do a fine job of it themselves. I’d rather address you as a white Canadian. What’s wrong with you? Nobody said life is easy for anyone. White people have problems too, but there are certain experiences we’ll never have to deal with because we don’t get singled out as “Native”, “Indian”, etc. and all of the ugly treatment that comes with it. I grew up in Northern Ontario where there’s a bigger indigenous population per capita than there is here in Toronto. The disgusting ways that people talked to and about Natives (the term we used) was normalized and even encouraged. If you questioned it as a white person, you were picked on too, but not because you were white obviously – only because you were siding with the “wrong” people. Do white people have to deal with stereotypes? Sure. But the difference is we’re the majority. White people run the show. That hasn’t changed since Europeans decided they had the right to colonize North America. That’s why we don’t experience systemic discrimination. It’s white people who’ve built our legal, political, social, and economic institutions, and we still run them. It’s corporations predominantly controlled by white men that decide what kind of “news” and “information” we’re exposed to, and how it’s presented to us on a daily basis. When white people do find themselves on the wrong side of the law, we’re just not treated the same way that people of colour are. And why should you realize any of this on your own? You never have to deal with it, worry about it, see your friends and family going through it, or even think about it. That’s called white privilege. I might experience discrimination and abuse as a woman, but I will never have to deal with it as an indigenous woman. It’s really not that difficult a concept to grasp. You have brains. Use them.

  2. I agree and understand the hardships from the past can change the way the future generations are molded.. but.. The native communities want to govern their own spaces and people, the money they are given is not put towards helping their people with PTSD, Alcoholism and/or depression / suicide awareness! The reservations chiefs need to use the money given to help people heal, not large handouts that are used to encourage useless living, no jobs, more alcohol and drugs. We, as white people, are not helping your people by giving you money! And your people are not helping themselves by using it properly! I am sick of the poor me bull! Help us help you! As a white individual, I am given less opportunities for education, less free housing, less free money for clothes and food, less, less, less, al the while the tax dollars I pay are going to your communities.. Who is paying for mine and my child’s education? Me! My hard earned dollars that I put away instead of buying a flat screen tv or all the name brand clothes and items.. Who is paying for you and your child’s education? Me!! And my hard earn dollars!! Use what you have to educate yourself and your people! The past IS the past! And it sucks that it was that way! But like the other posters have said, we all had hardships from our pasts, people that left, stress of where the next meal would come from! Stop whining about it! Move Forward! Help your children!!!

  3. Grass always looks greener, or whiter in this case, from the other side, but even if it may be so we all gotta play with the hand we’ve been dealt so make the most out of whatever cards you’ve been given. Wishing it weren’t so, while it may be understandable, won’t get you anywhere as I’m sure you know, so thanks for sharing your wishes, but more importantly go be the change you want to see in the world.

  4. It is wrong to not feel empathy for your people and what they have endured in the past at the hands of the government, the residential school systems, reserves, genocide, etc. However, it is also wrong to assume that just because someone is white or any other race, they do not have their own hardships to overcome. We all have demons, challenges, and circumstances to overcome. You cannot change where you have come from but you can change where you are going. So, you can keep pointing in the past or you can be the one to stand up and stop the cycle.

    All the best to you and your family.

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