There’s so much I’ve been allowed to forget, or rather that I’ve been allowed to let disappear. I was an angry and, looking back on it, mentally ill adolescent. I came from a truly messed up family and endured a great deal of violence in and out of my home.
By my adolescence, I was, myself, violent and destructive. My crimes include vandalism, auto theft, arson, burglary, assault and… Oh there were so many. It’s a miracle I didn’t kill anyone. And that was mainly by luck.
I was never caught, not that law enforcement didn’t have ample opportunity or probable cause. I can only attribute this my race: I’m white. There was always a reason to warn rather than arrest: I was an honor roll student, it was a phase, sowing wild oats, ‘merely a young man who needed guidance’ and so on. I always received the benefit of the doubt while I saw my black and brown (more often than not innocent) peers shouldering the burden of the doubt.
Guess that’s as good an example of white privilege as you can get. I graduated high school, went to college far, far away, got good grades, got good jobs, and graduate degrees. In between all this, I also got mental health diagnoses for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and related conditions. The therapy that ensued eventually helped me become fully functional in society and in private. Now these memories exist only in short stories and the occasional novel passed off as fiction.