I’m your typical white kid. I grew up in two affluent, white-bred suburbs named Fox Chapel and Westfield, each nestled 30 minutes outside the cities of Pittsburgh and New York, respectively. My dad is a managing director for a wealth management firm and my mom stays at home to take care of their three daughters and one son. I love to go to the beach. I love to play golf. I spend a lot of time on Snapchat. These are all purported embodiments of whiteness and white culture. As soon as I turned 17, I passed my driver’s test and off I sped to school in a shiny new car, cramming in all of my friends, whom all happened to be white. This wasn’t by design. I had no intention of solely having white friends up through high school. I was living in Westfield, a beautiful and lively town that also had a population make-up of 88% Caucasian. Long story short, my childhood could be used as an anecdote to delineate the beneficiaries and benefits of white privilege. While I don’t take too much pride in this, I am forthcoming about working in basketball and how it is helped develop a sense of consciousness and adaptability.
As we have been reading, the Anglo-Saxon population that arrived in the Americas adapted. However, they did not adapt the right way. Fearing their own genocidal tendencies when dealing with creating a labor force by putting American Indians to work, they turned to the white and black populations to provide the labor. As we all know, this led to the institution of slavery, and needless to say, the Anglo-Saxon model was not a suitable one to replicate in the future.
As soon as my interest in basketball spiked, I found myself interacting with the African-American population to a much greater extent, which is not saying much to begin with. Only 23.3 percent of the NBA is white as of 2015, so naturally, the population of college basketball players follows that trend. By working in a college basketball program I expose myself to adults, young and old, from all walks of life. I interact with guys from Chicago, Houston, Charlotte, and Baton Rouge, and I have developed the ability to shift gears and be aware of their backgrounds, which guides how I interact with them. My experiences in basketball are limitless, and can be saved for a future blog post. While many of my friends from Westfield and Fox Chapel live lives of white privilege, only some have sought the opportunity to broaden their horizons and become more socially conscious. Too many times have I heard ignorant comments or witnessed discomfort when they interact with a person of another race. My comfort level of interacting outside of white culture has been strengthened in recent years, and I hope that white communities make an effort to do the same.