Very White Guy

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When did you first recognize your white privilege? Was there one event or occurrence that turned on a light bulb, or was it gradual?

I'd say it was mostly evolution but my mom did an excellent job (good foundation) and there were a few incidents that have really stuck with me.
I grew up in one of the wealthiest zip codes in America (was a sundown town too) & began to see my class privilege in college. As a psych major I took a social work credit or two & remember almost to the day when we studied Peggy Mcintosh backpack of privilege exercise. We took a step fwd for each privilege - I was many feet in front of everyone. I also remember an exercise asking students to name epithets and none of the white students saying any black epithets and black students being shy with white epithets (there aren't any other than perhaps douchey) but come time for LGBT slurs in particular for lesbian many recounted words/epithets with almost glee like fashion (no excuses but this was 25 yrs ago) and a woman spoke up and commented how everyone was so free to say these words because there wasn't any openly LGBT students in class ...that we knew of. Hearing her say that & understanding she was talking about me really sank in. I was embarrassed an thats (for me) a profound motivator - the desire to not feel that way again. That's probably why I don't mind being checked - it's a gift to help me grow.
I had another class with a woman who is blind and we spoke often about her experiences growing up blind and being treated differently. I remember how she told me she was pissed to find out at 13 that milkshakes came in flavors other than chocolate (no one bothered to ask her/tell her).
Shortly after college I met, fell in love with and ultimately married a black woman. She has obviously been a tremendous impact on my understanding of my privilege. Seeing my wife & family face adversity because of supremacy really highlights just how privileged I am. My wife and I have been able to have very intense discussions about race & privilege knowing we're in a private, safe place.
I'd say, moms foundation allowed me to be more open to understanding followed by specific interactions/courses in college that started my evolution of understanding my privilege. That evolution is ongoing and forever. As an example, I believed/espoused the "I don't see color" rhetoric in my 20's.
I should clarify that I have a good grasp of my white privilege (never complete/perfect) but I struggle with patriarch & my male privilege. I fall back on my male privilege often & have to work very hard at combatting it.
The first revolution is from within. A desire to understand & continue to learn is the key.

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Favorite restaurant of all time?

Vivo in Chicago, table 70 (in elevator shaft) otherwise known as the Oprah table (or it was 15 yrs ago)

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