Just Another Straight White Chick In the Burbs

An American suburb
Photo: Futureatlas Flickr Creative Commons

Other than being a woman, I don’t really fit into any minority. And let’s face it; I’m not even working right now, so I don’t have a personal fight in the equal pay for equal work argument. (Though I do support my working sisters.) I live in a quiet neighborhood in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and 2 kids. The only thing I’m missing is the white picket fence and that’s only because it doesn’t match our rustic decor. 

I think our family’s German-Norwegian-Dutch heritage may classify as whiter than white.  

When I hear news of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and now Eric Garner in New York, I feel physically ill. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel paralyzed because I can’t do anything but pray. But mostly I feel guilty because I cannot empathize, I can only sympathize. 

As a woman, there are obvious dangers I’ve been taught to watch for since I was a girl. 

  • Don’t walk somewhere alone.
  • Make sure to park in a well-lit space.
  • When you walk, look confident – not vulnerable.

As a white girl, I was never taught

  • Don’t hold a toy gun in a store.
  • Don’t sass a police officer.
  • Don’t look like someone might assume you are doing anything wrong.
  • Don’t have dark skin, because that in itself is becoming dangerous. (or rather, has always been)

I pray for our country. I pray for my generation. We were the kids who were supposed to stop this nonsense, remember? When did we start acting like the generations before us? Will we now depend on our own children to start the peace we should have began long ago?

I leave you with this viral video from Jon Stewart. There are a lot of us wishing we could say the same thing right about now.


  1. Helene Bludman says

    I share your horror and disbelief. I keep asking myself the same thing: didn't we march in the 60s for this? Have we not moved an inch in the right direction? It is baffling. Mind blowing. Thank you for speaking out about it and may we continue to raise our voices and be heard.

  2. says

    I hear your agony. In my sleepy little town in 2004, a troubled teen was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. He became angry and spit on the ground. The police put a biohazard helmet on him, improperly, and put him in the back of a police car. He said he couldn't breathe and by the time they pulled into the police station, he was dead. I am haunted by this event and by my inability to do ANYTHING other than rant at home over dinner.

  3. Jane Halton says

    I hear you. It's good that you are writing, acknowledging, praying, listening, learning. A lot of suburban straight white chicks don't do that.

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