One Saturday night, after one of those drunken Williamsburg gatherings that are more surreal than fun, my Uber driver, Moe, says to me: “Ahh man, I remember all this. Way back!” His face brightens, as he can’t help but see something that’s no longer there, “before all these white kids moved in,” he exclaims, with one hand white-knuckling the top of the steering wheel and the other adjusting his hat to peer closer into the hipster laden streets of Bushwick. He says white with a special twang, an affectation filled with contempt. He continues to mourn the memories of his Brooklyn adolescence and I can tell he’s relieved to finally voice his frustration. As Moe drops me off he waves so long. I can see his eyes wander, the mind reminiscing on everything that’s been washed away.
My driver that night, with his dark skin, thick New York accent muddled with an Arabic tinge, expressed a sentiment that’s plagued the minds of minorities for generations, and its the idea that this is a white world and everyone else is just living in it. This idea takes place often in first impressions, where guards are up, and apprehension is a mere sniffing of the ass, wondering whether one should bark or lick. The idea of white-privilege, which is permeated though litigation, credit checks and zoning laws, can be revealed in the subtle brawn of a white mans grin, even when it’s shrouded in “conflict-free” garments in place of humility, thus holding a certain levity that gets lost on me, and every other person of color.
This truth hurts, leaving me a little envious for any white boy that perfectly embodies the arrogance of the “All-American” prototype, which in its purest form of glorification protrudes a certain ignorance that’s impregnable, unscathed by the thought of being equal to its colored brethren. Allow me to use a metaphor to put things in perspective: It is as if America is a large furnished house plotted on open land, filled with children of the same womb, and the oldest white siblings claim every room and treat for themselves, relegating the others to a small space in the garage or outhouse, where they’ll fight over the leftover crumbs that their kin have left behind. To justify these actions the older and bigger siblings—growing fat off the excess of resources–have spread rumors that the others are adopted, and therefore undeserving of inheriting the fruits that grows of their rich land.