Did you ever see this bumper sticker “Live Simply so others may Simply Live?” These words were proudly pasted on my first car. Thirty years later, my car doesn’t sport that sticker because I am not living simply. If I am being honest, my 19-year-old white-girl self wasn’t either.

White people don’t often talk about being white because when we get to the heart of it the ugliness seeps out. Our ancestors built our world. We accepted it as “normal.” We called it “the way things are.” Not all white people have wealth or even have jobs. But regardless of where we stand on the continuum of whiteness, we are still white, granting us access and resources and power.

Whatever the comforts of being white, there are also costs. We are addicted, lonely, abusive, abused, hopeless, homeless, afraid. All of us, white, Black, and Brown, have been sold on a system of race which lifts few, pummels many, and in the end fails us all.

I was raised in a segregated neighborhood, in a segregated city, in a segregated country, and I was taught to not let it bother me; just be kind, give generously, and say prayers. I went to excellent white schools from the age of 5 to 25, paid for by parents with wealth. I was taught everything under the sun except the one thing that mattered: the culture of whiteness which built it all. I may have a masters degree but I have the racial education level of a kindergartner. Time for me to go back to school.

Amy Patridge-Barber
Cape Elizabeth


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