Alex Palacios-Santos, 17
Alex Palacios-Santos is originally from Mexico and currently attends Milton Academy in Massachusetts. For his ninth grade required speech, he presented his family’s immigration story and told his class about his experience. His moral compass revolves around his belief that everyone deserves to exist in whatever way they see fit, unless their lifestyle is actually harming or infringing upon another’s right to live how they choose. Being a minority in his immediate environment, as well as in the United States itself, he says he feels like parts of him are being stamped out by those who surround him.
Palacios-Santos prefers to write the way he would speak but struggles with his relationship with writing. He says for him, writing is a limiting form because he sometimes cannot find the correct collection of characters to capture the energy of emotions that wash over him. Though his relationship with writing is tenuous, he finds that important self realizations in his life have sparked the rebirth of his writing process. He is often inspired by anything that evokes an emotional response from him, and he composes letters and poems to those with whom he has strained relationships.
He thinks it is difficult—but possible—to broaden people’s understanding of opinion versus fact, and believes that this could help ease numerous issues that plague today’s world. He has noticed that many tend to perceive most statements as opinion, disregarding the fact that there are many educated experts who are expressing years of research and learning in their respective fields. Palacios-Santos believes when people give expertise and opinion the same weight, it unjustly takes power away from qualified individuals and gives it to those who can shout the loudest.
Palacios-Santos hopes to go to college and study law or politics, either in the U.S. or in Mexico. He often thinks of going back to the village where he was born and bettering the community.
white PRIVILEGE is...
edited and compiled by Alex Palacios-Santos
It is being able to trace your ancestors back hundreds of years
It’s having the choice as to whether or not you’re part of a group
It’s your history being required in the school curriculum
It’s being able to walk down the street and not worry about getting shot
It’s being able to make jokes when someone gives a speech about an issue they face
It is not having to speak for your entire race every time you open your mouth
It's being able to walk into a store without someone following you
It’s not having to validate your issues to those who don't care
It’s having media that shows so many facets of your race
It’s not having your race be 12% of the country’s population and 40% of the prison population
It’s being diagnosed with illnesses unlike black people because when we act up, it’s because we’re black
It's being able to disregard years of oppression with phrases like “I don’t see race”
It's having an easier time seeking help for mental illnesses
It’s never having a conversation with your parents about what to do when you get stopped by the police
It's about not having to think about your race on a daily basis
It’s not having to make thousands of the same papers and comments to get your struggles across
It's no one questioning how you got into this school
It’s not having your racial features used as a punchline
Being able to look past a political leader’s racism knowing that it will never affect you
It’s being able to make the argument that slavery was good for the economy
It’s having all health and hair care products tailored to your body and hair type
It’s about being able to be the standard of beauty, never whitening your skin just to fit in
It allows a white man to kill 12 people at a Colorado movie theater and leave without one bullet or scratch
It’s about shooting up a black church and being escorted onto a JET out in a bulletproof vest
It’s not getting shot in front of your wife and daughter for reaching for your ID
It’s not being famous through categories of Trivial Pursuit like “the first black ______”
It’s about being able to profit off of black features and culture without being black
It’s feeling like you can tell black people what they feel
Racism doesn't exist if it’s not happening to you
But it was never happening to you
It’s constantly making profit off of the labor and destruction of POC
It’s still getting upset because you can’t say the n-word
And by the way, you can’t say it in rap songs and you will NEVER get a pass from another ignorant person to say it
It’s not dying first in horror movies, and getting to be the hero
It’s about not having people who look like you being compared to monkeys
It’s having the token “black, Mexican, Chinese, etc” friend
It’s about being able to say you feel attacked and offended when people try to talk about issues that affect others’ communities
It’s not being subject to a racist system, where you can easily lose your body
It’s not worrying that voicing your concerns will make people mad, or get you in trouble
It’s not feeling hopeless with your friends about things that will seemingly never change
It’s being able to justify oppressive comments with, “I have the freedom of speech”
It’s not being choked to death for selling cigarettes
It’s not being called a terrorist for deliberately advocating for equal rights for all
It’s about your biggest social issue being that you’re conservative at a “liberal” school
It’s how the “cash me ousside” girl is funny and a “feminist icon,” but every black girl who acts out is ghetto, ratchet, and has an attitude
It’s about how me chilling is seen as “aggressive,” but a white girl yelling and screaming is “passionate” and “sensitive”
It’s not breaking down and panicking about where your future is going
IT’S ABOUT WHITE GIRLS TRYING TO BE BLACK AND “GHETTO” AND EVERYONE SAYS “YASSSSSS” AND BLACK GIRLS “BE” BLACK AND IT’S A PROBLEM
SAYING THAT AAVE (AFRICAN-AMERICAN VERNACULAR ENGLISH) IS NOT PROPER ENGLISH
(IF I BE WRITING THIS, IT IS JUST AS OKAY AS IF I AM WRITING THIS)
IT’S ABOUT HOW BLACK PEOPLE AND ANIMALS ARE EQUAL!!!!
It’s about how y’all think it’s funny that you butcher my name everyday, but heaven forbid I pronounce Schwarzenegger incorrectly!
It’s about the media presenting you as an “outstanding athlete” when you rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster
It’s about how at the end of reading this, you’re still gonna say that this is racist and offensive towards white people because YOU REFUSE TO CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE!
It’s believing in reverse racism because someone told you that you’re white
It’s having a legacy at a university but still getting upset about Affirmative Action
It’s getting away with calling everything on a black girl’s head a weave because of “ignorance” AKA racism
It’s comparing a black woman to a criminal because of her bonnet, yet refusing to call a terrorist a terrorist because they’re white
It’s about not being told to boldly express your religion in public
It’s being able to walk down the street with a loaded rifle in hand without getting tackled to the ground and being arrested for being a public danger
It’s saying black people in timbs are sketchy yet a lot white people wears timbs
Reversing racism equals no racism…
It’s about being able to disregard a mass genocide of over 100 million people through 400 years of oppression
It’s about being able to just call a Latinx person MEXICAN because you can’t learn your geography
Or calling every Asian under the sun Chinese
It’s saying that you don’t know why “they’re” doing this
It’s being able to say you love Feminism but BLM is too radical
It’s about Columbus Day
WHICH IS TRASH because he never discovered America
He committed genocide
Is having the privilege of being favored by school authorities
It’s about being able to “not really see racism” in a text that’s explicitly about racism
It’s asking, “Where are you really from?” instead of minding your business or getting educated on how to ask someone what their ethnicity is
It’s having the entire country pause when it comes to your religion’s holidays!
It’s throwing your trash all over the Stu and not respecting the people who clean up after you
It’s almost getting black people DC’d because they called out your racism and you felt “uncomfortable”
It’s about #alllivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter
It’s about spreading peace and love and Pepsi, instead of actually tackling issues at the root
It’s about tryna build a whole wall with my tax money!
It’s about, “Can I touch your hair?”
It’s worshipping white-washed religious figures
It’s having the country’s education system make sure you succeed
It’s generalizing every minority you see and getting upset when someone says that white people are racist
It’s mistaking two people of color for each other because you can’t tell them apart
It’s (for some odd reason) not knowing that Africa is a continent with 54 countries that have different cultures and languages WITH CITIES BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T LIVE IN HUTS
It’s about posting a pic with #PrayforParis but never hearing anything about Boko Haram and other tragedies happening elsewhere
It’s believing that all Muslims are terrorists because of ISIS, but not believing that all white Christians are racist because of the KKK
It’s calling every black person African-American, even if you’re in Canada.
It’s not being mistaken for every other person of your race at school.
It’s not being scared that voicing your opinions will get your financial aid taken away
It’s being able to say “eww” to food from another culture
It’s not having your faculty receive hate letters that disappear all of a sudden