My closest friends know I have a running joke about how in my next life I want to be reincarnated as a white man. I’d like to be 6’3″, fine, with thick, jet black hair, milk pale skin and blue eyes. I mean blue! That spooky, piercing Chris Pine/Paul Newman blue.
The rest of me can transfer. Hell, I could even keep my same name. We’ll drop the e and make it Kelly, just to keep it sexy, masculine, you know.
I would dominate! I mean, I would own EVERYthing. Operating with the life skills and knowledge I have now around the value of: communication, listening, inclusion, change, taking calculated risks, diversity, avoiding trouble/that which does not matter, how unbelievably weak and pathetic white supremacy is, and how to get around its unfortunate tentacles to succeed in this formerly white man’s world? (breathe) All that packaged in a body the world was built to revere, to find beautiful, and to desire?
I’d be unstoppable.
Think about it. Doors would open to me before my hand touched the knob to push. People would offer to help me, and I’d never have to convince them I was worth investing in. They’d rush to give me their time, their resources, their ideas, their access, their opportunities. They’d grant me that privilege, that trust, whether I deserved it or not, just because of how I look.
I certainly wouldn’t have to worry about my safety. Don’t believe me? Well, look no further than this week’s Presidentially-inspired insurrection on Capitol Hill. That’s proof that a white appearance can soothe even the angriest policeman because, of course, your value is much higher in the eyes of a great number of law enforcement. Even when conducting a terrorist attack on domestic soil, you are still to be protected.
As Kelly, if the man pulled me over as I sped past his speed trap in my shiny, foreign car, I’d probably make a joke, and he’d laugh and let me off with a warning — even though I forgot to put my new insurance card in my wallet, and the one I have is six months out of date.
He’d take my word that it was an error, you see, without question. It’s happened to me too, he’d say, and nod with understanding. There would never be a thought in his mind about raising a gun or a hand to me in violence. There would be no urge to punish me, to hurt, and if not to kill, to show me who’s boss, and illustrate my place at the bottom of the pecking order. There would be no pecking order! Violence? Never. Why, that makes no sense when you have that much respect for my tall, white, blue-eyed body.
And think how clear my mind would be! There would be no worry about glass ceilings, racism, getting paid less for the same work, being denied a loan, or Karens harassing me with their unstable need to interfere/”instruct” grown folks on so-called “proper” behavior rather than mind their own business. It would be: “Hello! How are you, sir? Is there anything I can do to help you, sir?” For me, every single day would be customer appreciation day.
I would have no angst or anxiety, and absolutely no PTSD, from watching the endless procession of fresh, ridiculous diversity theater and disgusting black tragedy porn clogging today’s media platforms. Those things would register certainly — remember black Kellye’s consciousness is buried inside this pale, male body — but it wouldn’t hit the same way, you know? Those poor people aren’t blue eyed privileged me, after all.
There would be no need to shed tears, to curse and cry out in frustrated anger at the unfairness of it all, at my inability to do anything substantive to help my people beyond squawking once a week on a blog. With my white-skinned, blue-eyed power and influence? I could simply run my company fairly — because of course I’d have a company, Fortune 500, thank you — hiring and firing and promoting and leading equitably, and with heart.
I’d have the best talent, and they’d be loyal. There would be no thought in their heads about sabotage or anything unsavory because they would not look at me and decide that I didn’t deserve my position. It would never even occur to them to question me.
I’d smile and let the sun twinkle in my sky blue eyes, and heads would nod as I instructed them gently why we must let antiquated notions go because it’s good for business! And because Black lives do, in fact, matter. They might fidget a bit, but I know I could bring them around. I would speak in clear, resonant tones, my tall white body proud and fine, and people would rush to follow my example.
Who wouldn’t love to follow the lead of a privileged paragon like me? A proud, white male American working to resurrect our former glory in the wake of a four-year long, countrywide brand assassination, violence provoking episode the likes of which many of us have never seen before.
Yes, indeed. In my next life I want to be reincarnated as a tall, white male with bright blue eyes and a Crest-white smile. That would be nice.