My Journey Out of Toxic White Privilege

As a white male, I realize I have privilege. I never struggled for anything. I always had macaroni with Velveeta. The first time I tried the powered variety at a friend’s abode, I made sick all over myself. You guys don’t know the burden of privilege. Me, I personally hate it. It makes me sick. It makes me so disgusted to have done well in school, and to have had friends, and to have been voted “Most Attractive and Successful” in my graduating class.

Yes, I got laid in high school, but now I realize it doesn’t matter. Alma Mater this, sports championship that, where’s the soul? There’s more to life than how many cheerleaders you copulated with, how many times you had to call up Verizon customer service to block their phone numbers afterward.

I have marked my territory enough as a white man, on the faces of cisgender females and in the business world. Looking back, reading on the struggles of minorities, I realize now that kind of thing means nothing. I am disavowing my parents for raising me with privilege. I have begun self-flagellation. My trust fund has gone to charity. I decided that, despite my knowledge and intelligence, someone better deserved my CEO position. I gave that up, too, and took to the streets.

Since then, I have experienced the hard life, but still, all the dirt I can accumulate being homeless is never enough to make me not white. I can see there’s a gender pay gap, people give me 100 cents in my cup for every 70 cents the homeless woman next to me gets. It’s hard to live a life completely without an edge. Even having given up all my possessions, just wandering naked into a public park that first day of homelessness, I still had the keen intelligence of my sharp mind. So I did what any sane, rational person would do. I found a hammer and smashed it upon my head, to undo the years of repressive intelligence my white background of privilege gave me. Found naked in public, thankfully I was arrested and given a permanent record in solidarity with my new street friends.

In prison, I experimented with same-sex relations. I will not stop until I have experienced the pain and horror the non-rich suffer everyday, including non-binary personhood, same-sex relations, and questions of gender identity. I began identifying as a woman that day named “Shiva,” I am also Indian-American as you certainly have guessed. Without parents, I am now comparable to my cohorts, my esteemed colleagues that come with me to the soup-kitchens, my friends who work the same shifts at the corner. No, not the corner store, the corner.

From there, not only did I beg, but I began sex-work to show solidarity with sex-workers. I do not wish to make light of the subject, but unfortunately I have not experienced even the slightest sexual assault of any kind. I am still working toward that end. Still, I faced many harassing looks and comments. Even slurs. Derogatory. They tell me to get a real job. They say get a real gender identity. That say this all screaming from Escalades enveloped in the comforting rap music I used to enjoy.

One night, I grabbed a rubber tube a friend had given me. I opened up a leather case with a zipper and pulled out a syringe. The tube was on my arm. I spotted the vein correctly just as I was shown. My dealer, Timid Larry, had given me the right stuff. The brown-ish liquid hit my body and I knew relief, but more importantly, I knew suffering. I knew then immense pain, what people go through, and how they cure it with a little bit of black tar. I sunk into the ground. I kept at it for weeks, yearning for the day I would no longer be a majority. I applied for jobs in bars, at McDonalds. It felt like no one would have me.

Luckily, I began to suffer mental illness, I was further from the majority, closer to a minority. Just a few months ago I was “Jacob! The college grad! Mr. Going Places! CEO of his own start-up!” But no more of that, those false lies, that false life. No more silver spoon. No more hand-me-down Cadillac SUVs. I drove it into a Gap one day, after burning off the VIN. I left a gap in Gap. That’ll show those white pigs. Those snowflakes. My silver spoon became blackened as I torched it up with freshly cooked heroin, not Kashi GoLean.

One day I realized my mental illness wasn’t enough. The doctor I got for free under ACA said there’s something wrong with me, but it’s being self-afflicted out of guilt. He refused to give me medications. That’s when I took an industrial saw to my own leg at a construction site. The last thing I remember was a construction worker looking at me with his yellow hard-hat on, looking at me, he had a baloney sandwich stuffed in his mouth with a befuddled look. His co-worker looked at me and said, “You save him if you want to, I’m not touching that tranny fag.” You’d think I’d be hurt, but I smiled and coughed a bit of blood. I finally knew what it felt like to be discriminated against.

I alternate now between a wheelchair and a wooden leg. I am popular in my part of the block. I found some army fatigues on a discarded, dead body and adorned myself. I now identify as ex-military. As a vet, the denizens of my county are extra generous. When people ask me my division, I say, “War, man, that’s one thing I don’t talk about.” They pity me with dollars and cents. Life on the streets cuts deep. I don’t have any dog tags, they are burned into me.

Eventually, I got hired on during the overnight shift at my local Target Megamart. I met so many great friends, just like me. I changed my gender and sexual identity back to male for simplicity. That’s when I met the love of my life, Rosamarie. We were both helping unload a truck and I saw her beautiful greying golden-brown hair, I saw her sexy Catholic Virgin Mary necklace and knew I would convert. I saw her smile. I could tell she was a grandmother.

Things are so passionate. It doesn’t matter I’m 40 years younger. She has no cheerleader body, but she’s got a cheerleader soul. I don’t understand anything she says except her vague references to the lord and a few words I’ve picked up as a white American, such as “tortilla.” How ignorant is the white race that we know so little of these people, from which we’ve taken some of their native land? That’s why it feels so great to be inside of Rosamarie. I feel complete, finally. I thrust in her like the motions of the waves. I thrust and we melt into each other, her sexy, multi-layered tan skin. Her bigger, non-comformist curves. “Oi, dios mio!” she loves to say, to which I understand is a reference to god. It should be. What we have is holy. We sweat, our bed creaks, it makes the birds on the roof of our room fly away when we climax together before turning on Univision.

She has diabetes 1 and 2, somehow, her doctors say, a first of its kind case. She doesn’t just get disease, Rosamarie gives it. She has me off the heroin. The only smack I need now is the one she gives my tush before calling me “Pappi.” From where I was only a few years ago, I’ve become a human being and shed the identity politics of being born white with privilege and have experienced a life like no other. I have truly now become a rags to riches story. As it turns out, true riches are when you have rags.

The other day an old friend saw me in the grocery store. He couldn’t recognize me at first, but I said hello. He said, “What are you doing with that ugly old bag Jacob hahaha wtf?” You should’ve seen the look on his face when I uppercutted him into a nearby stack of cabbages. The name’s Shiva now, asshole. I can’t fucking stand gringos.

The tale is almost over, but it continues in my real life. I share my lover’s extended family. She doesn’t want to get married again, for now, but I’m trying to sway her, to change her mind. Regardless of that, long after this story has expired from the memory of the internet, me and her will be taking care of our first child, due November. One thing’s for certain, boy or girl, we’re going to raise her right: by making sure she never falls into the traps and burdens of the white man.

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