- 15 Dec 21
Bobbi Arlo shares their thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
A term I only discovered recently, due to the sheer enormity of the fight for equality in recent months, in the face of seemingly unconquerable injustice: I’m racially fatigued. Every day I watch my friends, family, lovers, mentors and fellow humans fight an invisible battle that stems from my heritage.
My skin is a trigger and it’s a weapon. Coming to terms with that was a battle. As someone who’s not violent and not hateful, the guilt I hold is enormous, because of course I should have known about these completely foreign subjects, “race and privilege.” But I didn’t.
I am white. I have white privilege.
And that topic alone confuses me. I grew up in a small town that I never left, I was in a completely white bubble. Admittedly, I had never seen a skin darker then mine until I was exposed to the world outside my bubble, which was pretty late in life. But when I finally entered the world, it was more beautiful than I could have imagined – it was like I had been colour blind up until then. The pain I experienced when I realised that the world was not beautiful and colourful, it was white – it’s a feeling I don’t think I will ever shake or forget.
I was never taught to hate, I was always taught to love. Skin is skin: it’s an organ that covers our bodies. Everyone in my bubble envied darker skin, a desired look, yet we unknowingly suppress people who haven’t got their shade from a bottle. It’s a mystery. Where and when does it end? When is it enough ? How do we go to the root of change when it’s blocked off by generations of hate? It’s exhausting and completely hopeless for our society and generation.
I want so desperately for my nearest and dearest to be safe – I want for life to be normal for them like my normal seems to be. Even though I still hold onto hope of this someday being a reality, I will fight this invisible battle until I can see that it is.
Read Part 2 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism in the current issue of Hot Press:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.