View profile

White Privilege and Anxiety

My family is multiracial. My dad is half-black, but I can pass as white. And this gives me great anxi
White Privilege and Anxiety
My family is multiracial.
My dad is half-black, but I can pass as white.
And this gives me great anxiety.
We’re at a turning point in our society, and racial tensions are higher than ever.
The thing is, the racial tensions were always there, but now they are coming to the surface.
This isn’t what I normally write about, I realize this.
But I think it’s important to consider the anxiety behind the many conversations around privilege that we are now having.
Mental health connects to everything.

White Privilege and Anxiety
I’m a social worker, but I don’t consider myself an expert in privilege. There are people who, just because they happen to have a certain skin color, have not had the opportunities I’ve had. They should be the ones writing this right now.
This is just one perspective. My perspective.
Here’s an uncomfortable fact. People with white skin, or lighter skin, or olive-colored skin like mine, have inherent advantages because of that reality. This gives me great anxiety, and I know it does for many, many others.
Why? Because it’s wrong. It is unjustifiable that systems and institutions in the United States are made for people like me and run by people who look like me. It’s wrong that I don’t have to play a narrowly defined role to be safe in public spaces and the world at large.
If this gives you anxiety, that’s good. It means that you’re thinking about the great disparities that exist in this world. Anxiety isn’t always a “mental illness.” Anxiety also can be a good thing. It can be a sign that a change is about to happen, that a great shift is about to take place.
What to Do About Privilege Anxiety
And here’s the really uncomfortable part.
The anxiety will not fully go away until collectively we do something about the systems of racism that exist in the United States and around the world.
And that means making changes that will lead to a lot more anxiety for many before it gets better for all. To dismantle racist systems and rid the world of shame and anxiety, certain people must make their lives more inconvenient and uncomfortable so that others can have more freedom.
Where do you even begin with a reality like that?

This is what I’m doing to consider my privilege

I’m educating myself beyond what I’ve learned in grad school and working in the mental health field. I’m reading books and watching videos so I can fully understand the nature of my privilege. This makes me especially anxious because everything is based on skin color. My skin is even lighter than my sister’s, so my experiences in this world fall along different gradients than hers.
And I’m listening more and more. I’m talking less so that I can give voice to others who have been forced into the background. It happens automatically. Certain people naturally talk over others. And that’s why it’s so insidious. Privilege is getting something that you don’t deserve just because you look a certain way.
And then I will act. When possible, I will be more uncomfortable so others can gain the power they should already have.
These conversations about race are making many people incredibly anxious.
But maybe we need a bit more anxiety for once.
Maybe that’s how it feels before a societal shift takes place.

Reach out if you want to talk about this. This issue wasn’t meant to inflame or point blame. Rather, I wanted to shine a light on a reality. It just is. But that doesn’t mean the reality should stay that way. Reach out. It’s not the time to reach out to people of color for emotional support. Their emotional labor is high and has always been high. Let’s consider these tough conversations we’re now having.

Thanks for reading,
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $10 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate
Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

The Mental Health Update is an inspirational mental health newsletter featuring authentic mental health articles that make mental health issues like depression, anxiety, OCD meaningful AND accessible.

This is different from typical mental health newsletters.

It's not just an Anxiety Email Newsletter or a Depression Email Newsletter - It's timeless mental health wisdom and inspiration to start your day in a thoughtful, uplifting way.

I was tired of other mental health newsletters blasting out generic lists of links. And I was especially tired of other mental health newsletters not focusing on the everyday reality of mental health issues.

So I decided to come up with a mental health newsletter I wanted to read.

This health newsletter is like a caring friend that just wants you to feel better.

Mental health awareness articles don't need to be all doom and gloom and filled with jargon.

With The Mental Health Update email newsletter, you'll get practical mental health information, tips, and new ways to view the world.

We discuss topics like anxiety, depression, OCD, the mental health to mental illness spectrum, social and communication skills, and much, much more.

This is what a few subscribers had to say about The Mental Health Update:

"If you haven't yet subscribed to Jordan's mental health newsletter, you absolutely should. It's chock full of good stuff to read and will help make your day better. Not unlike a daily vitamin for your mental health and soul..." - JR

"Encouragement from someone who has “been there” when it comes to mental health struggles. Comes in the form of stories and simple, actionable tips for reframing and working with - and through - your issues. One of the few newsletters that has survived my ruthless inbox decluttering sprees. Highly recommended!" - Kelila

"Jordan's mental health update is a welcomed email in my inbox. It often provides me with a chance to break from the mundane tasks of working in an office and take a moment for myself to hear his thoughtful and well put together thoughts on many aspects of mental health. As someone who works in the psychology field it's often a nice reminder and way of grounding myself to all the great work that's going on and the journey we all must take in supporting mental health. Thank you Jordan!" - Rob

I take my no-spam policy very seriously. I consider it a mental health obligation to not abuse your trust.

You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Missoula, MT