Self Portrait Progressions in Nine Takes


White Privilege 

Walking down the street without fear, entering a store with confidence, or applying for a loan is something that I take for granted. 

Its part of my white DNA. To that mix add the fundamentals of family support, a decent education,and our mad pursuit of a consumerist lifestyle, and the American Dream can be achieved as the fruits of Mainstream White Privilege. 

It does require blinders though, and a dedication to ignoring things that are not right in America. If you’re a first-generation American, those blinders re-assure  you that your parents did the right thing by immigrating here. 

(And for the most part, they did) .

But, like flies interrupting your nap on a bucolic summer afternoon, it keeps you from fully enjoying your world.

I was aware of the Amadou Diallo case back in 1999. How could you not? It was in the papers for weeks, followed by a sensational trial covered by the press. It was horrific to see the outcome of the murder of an unarmed black man at the hands of the NYC Police went unpunished. But I am white cuban male. I have the privilege of race and the reputation of the cuban success story to uphold. I was busy building a life,setting an example, catering to clients, and climbing the ladder.

The Diallo event was not relevant to me because of the blindingly white-light of ambition emanating from my own first-generational work ethic and expectations. I was on a mission and everything around me that was not in focus, I ignored.

But reaching my goals did not resolve the situation with those flies. They were still there; hovering...bothering...sometimes biting me.

Those pesky flies carried the curse of racism every time I tried to relax, reminding me of something I could no longer ignore.  

George Floyd's fly bit me very hard.

Ignoring them had made my life darker, more petty and uncaring. 

I could no longer ignore them, for if I do, nothing makes sense to me.




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