Month: September 2016

Blank Check is a Movie Full of Lies and Here Is All of The Proof We Need

blank-check

Have you ever been lied to? I don’t mean the type of lie where you can tell that the person is lying midway through whatever you are saying. I mean a lie so believable that even as you are experiencing it, you can’t seem to wrap your head around the idea that it isn’t true. These types of lies only happen to a handful of times during our lives and, when uncovered, can alter our entire view on life. Many of these, in fact, happen when we are children, when we are more inclined to have a somewhat fantastical view of the world. We, as children, aren’t capable of believing that what is in front of us can’t possibly be true, and it is the realization of the actual truths that make us into what we are today. The movie Blank Check is one of these lies, and it’s time we finally prove it.

I can’t really tell you much about the circumstances in which I first saw Blank Check, but I can tell you about the emotions that I felt. It is a movie of wonder, exhilaration, and, ultimately, deceit. It is a film so manipulative in its nature, that I, myself, cannot name a single person who has ever had a bad thing to say about it. Think about that fact for a second. What do you remember about Blank Check? You have fond memories, I would assume. Therein lies the genius of the lie at hand, and the skill of manipulation this movie has placed on all of us. A lie so great that we don’t even believe that it’s there. As they say, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

Blank Check was released in 1994 through Walt Disney Pictures, and stars absolutely no one you will remember. It has the guy who played the Secretary of Defense in Independence Day in it, if that gives you an idea. It also contains famed rapper, Tone Loc, who is best known for his terrible song “Wild Thing”, and when a bunch of other presumably terrible songs that followed “Wild Thing”. It is a story about a boy named Preston Waters, a 12 year old boy with a fascination for money, and an obsession with not remaining, as they say, “broke as fuck” (Preston does not use this exact phrase but one can only imagine this is an encapsulation of his frustration). Preston, amidst his money troubles, crosses paths with three crooks who have just stolen a million dollars, and manages to obtain this million dollars by using a blank check given to him by one of the crooks during a car accident between the two. Now, if you are already confused, don’t worry because the plot up until this point is bullshit, so you are actually right on par with where I need you to be.

A million dollars; that is the number we as kids remember from watching this movie. Preston manages to create a printed check, using his 1994 Macintosh computer, for a million dollars, and then proceeds to swindle one of the other crooks into giving him the million dollars they had stolen. It was a magical moment to watch for us as Preston laid on his bed throwing the countless dollars into the air, as most of us have never seen, and will never see, a million dollars up close.

Here, my friends, is where the lie becomes so enmeshed in our tiny little child brains that we never once questioned what we then saw for the rest of the movie. We watched as Preston, in six short days, spent almost all of his million dollars on almost everything only to learn a lesson about money. However, we took our eyes off the magician’s hands for just one second, and let the trick fool us. The lesson of the movie is not what really matters in this case. Instead, what matters is the fact that Blank Check had us believe that Preston ONLY spent that million dollars, and it left us in a reality that doesn’t exist. It taught us that we can have anything we want in life if we just con our way into it (what up, Trump), it taught us to devalue money and to believe that a million dollars was unfathomable amount of money and, finally, it taught us that as long as we have a Macintosh computer that we can somehow figure out a way to print enough money to be rich. It lied to us over and over again for 90 minutes, and it left us in denial for many years to come.

I assume, though, you want the proof. Ah yes, the proof that Preston didn’t really just spend a million dollars, but, in fact, spent much more and that the movie paid no consequences for such a fallacy. Let’s start with a couple of facts we know beforehand. First, the rate of inflation between 1994 to 2016 is -38.5%, meaning that if I were to purchase something for $100 in 2016, it would have cost me only $61.53 for that exact same item in 1994. The reason I know this is because I Googled “How to calculate Inflation rates between 1994 and 2016”. Second, one must also take well-rounded, educated guesses at the amount of something Preston may have purchased during the six days he had this money. For instance, we see him buy brand new suits, but never fully see how many he buys, so we will give him the benefit of the doubt based on how many we see him with on screen. Lastly, we will never fully know how much Preston actually spent but we are going to do our best to figure out how much he most likely spent compared to the million dollars he started with.

Preston’s first purchase is of a castle. Yes, a fucking castle, so this is a terrible start for Preston on, not only the investment front, but also a bold purchase for a 12 year old child who lives with his parents. In the movie, Preston purchases the house for $300,000 against its original cost of $220,000. Now, I did a little outside research and found that this castle actually does exist and is located in Austin, Texas. It’s net worth not is $5.2 million dollars, and with adjusted inflation costs right around $3.2 million dollars in 1994. So, congratulations Preston, you are fucking broke.

However, let’s imagine that a giant castle in the middle of the suburbs only runs you $220,000 dollars. Let’s also imagine Preston gets it for $300,000. He is now down to $700,000, and in one short hour has developed the spending rates of Charles Barkley in Las Vegas. The next scene shows Preston spending more of his money at various clothing stores. Now, there is really only one way to calculate the cost of what Preston is buying and that is to guess at the type of brands being shown to us. Preston is shown trying on at least three different outfits, so we will give him the benefit of the doubt in which that is all that he bought. The only way in which I could calculate this was to take the most common clothing brand on the planet which is Ralph Lauren. Now, the average men’s shirt for Ralph Lauren is $55, the average pair of sunglasses is $120, the average dress shirt is $90, and the average jeans cost $75. Adjusted for inflation and multiplied by three, and Preston spent around $600 in clothing during this short clip.

Next, he is shown in an electronics store purchasing an entire row of TV’s (I counted at least 12 so we will say 12), a stereo system, a massage chair, and then eventually buys a Nerf gun set. Let’s do the math, shall we?

  • Twelve TV’s (let us use Samsung 40-inch screens adjusted for inflation: $8,112
  • Sound system: $846
  • Two massage chairs: $8,600
  • Nerf Guns: $123

Preston spent another $17,681 on appliances and clothes alone in the same day. However, we forgot to calculate a very important component to Preston’s budget: his limo driver, Henry. Preston pays Henry for his services for the entire six days, and that comes out to a hefty fee. Now, the average price, adjusted for inflation, of a limo driver is $67. We then must multiply that $67 by the 144 hours he employs Henry which comes out to, roughly, $10,000 dollars. So, if you are keeping track Preston has spent roughly $328,000 dollars of his money up until this point, and that is not including some of the other purchases. I decided to expedite the adding process here and roughly estimated that Preston most likely spent at least another $10,000 dollars on products we did not see.

Now, let’s add some of the home furnishings that we know Preston also purchased. He is seen ordering around trucks of Chips Ahoy ($1,000), Coke ($5,000), Sharper Image ($20,000), and a security system for the castle ($10,000). Preston also purchased a Water Park in his backyard, which would have run him around $60,000 dollars minimum (plus underground installation which can only be best estimated as at least $100,000 as well), and at least three go-carts plus a track ($4,500 for the carts, $70,000 for the track). If you are keeping track, Preston is now up to an additional $270,500 added to his spendings, which puts him at a remaining budget of $402,000 if we are being lenient.

Let’s talk home furnishings just briefly. Considering inflation once again, and the fact that Preston would have needed to furnish both the inside and outside of his house, my calculations put him at around another $150,000 spent just on finishing up the castle that he so irresponsibly bought. We haven’t even gotten to the part where Preston, a twelve year old kid, takes a grown woman, Shay, out to dinner and buys her a diamond necklace (another $4,000 gone). The reason I chose to not dive into this nonsensical pit is that I would have to explain how a woman working for the FBI is somehow conned into dating a man (Mr. Macintosh, Preston’s alter ego who doesn’t exist) she has never met using Preston as a proxy, while also investigating a case that ties directly back to the same dude she thinks she’s dating. Can we please get Shay a Tinder account or Instant Messenger or something? In the meantime, Preston has also been seen purchasing an inflatable boxing ring ($3,000), a batting cage ($2,000), and is seen wearing additional clothing (cost calculations ended up around $2,000).

Before we get to the last great expenditure by Preston, we might as well add up some of the major guesses we will have to take with his budget in order to fully analyze what he spent. We can assume that when he is originally having the trucks of products roll in, that an additional $50-100,000 dollars were spent assuming the size of the street Preston lived on in comparison to how many trucks might fit on that street. That also takes into account the amount of trucks his dad walks by upon figuring out Preston is “working” in the castle he purchased. We can then speculate that Preston also must pay a house cleaning staff of at least ten people, and we can calculate that their average cost comes out to somewhere around what Henry is making driving the limo. That puts us at another $60,000 for the staff, roughly. We can also imagine that Preston’s closet has closer to $80,000 dollars worth of clothes in it based on his spending habits and the stores in which he can be seen traveling to. Finally, it is safe to say Preston paid for all of the gas that Henry was using to take him places (because Preston and Henry seemed to share a close bond and it seems like something Preston would have done to build their friendship up and not make the fact that he’s paying Henry seem weird), which would then put Preston at around an extra $1,000 in the six days.

Preston’s remaining budget is $79,000, and he still hasn’t thrown his “Mr. Macintosh” celebration which no one seems to realize is not a real thing and that Mr. Macintosh is not a real person (Seriously, Henry was floored and probably heartbroken). On average, a black tie event of that size including catering, and adjusted for inflation, would run Preston right around $100-150,000 when you also include invitations (how did people RSVP to a party in twelve hours?) and car service. As you can clearly see, Preston would realistically owe quite a bit of money and would have bounced a shitload of checks. The final budget for Preston would be in the ball park of at least $60,000 over his mark, and that is not including anything we as an audience did not witness him buy, all of the items we can only guess that he bought, and also not paying attention to the fact that the house he bought was really worth two million fucking dollars to begin with.

Blank Check is a movie of fallacies. It has questionable characters who go on dates with twelve year old kids, terrible crooks who base their entire scheme around a small cash grab of a million dollars, and a farfetched lie that a man named “Mr. Macintosh” can purchase all of these items and no one seems to wonder why the only person they can about this is a douchey kid in a New Kids on the Block outfit. Most of all, though, Blank Check made us believe that money could literally buy you anything you wanted, even if the numbers didn’t add up. Blank Check is the movie equivalent of Enron, and we were too blind and naive to notice. I know at first it will be hard, to accept but I challenge you to run the numbers yourself. Add them up, and face what you find wholeheartedly. Sometimes, the only way to get over being lied to is to, hopefully, learn something new about yourself. I am certain that I did.

 

It Is Time We Start Asking Trump Supporters The Most Important Question of All: What Do They Want?

 

trump-supporters

I have to admit something that many women my age might find quite surprising: I have never seen the movie The Notebook. It looks pretty terrible if we are being honest with each other, and it was before a time in which I considered Ryan Gosling a talented actor. I am, however, familiar with one of the more famous lines of the movie in which his character, who I do not know the name of, yells the phrase, “What do you want?!” over and over again at Rachel McAdams’ character who I also do not know the name of. The scene makes very little sense to me out of context, but I can tell through Gosling’s face and the particular mood setting of this six second clip, that the doubt that she possesses in terms of what she actually wants is very unsettling for Mr. Gosling’s character.

There is a movie that I have seen that poses the same question between two different characters, and that movie is Good Will Hunting. In it, Robin Williams’ character, a therapist, asks Matt Damon’s character, Will Hunting, a simple question about what he’s looking for in life. “What do you want?” he asks, and Will remains speechless. Before this question Damon’s character tried to worm his way out of the question by using an elongated, metaphorical story about the uselessness of the government as some sort of defense mechanism to Williams’ intimate life question. It is a very important scene in the movie as it establishes the vulnerability of a person, even as smart as Will Hunting, that they can possess when asked a question that they’ve never really considered before.

 

The 2016 Presidential Election has made me feel like a combination of Robin Williams in that therapy session, and the six seconds of frustration that Ryan Gosling’s character experienced in The Notebook. Particularly, I find myself having these moments of frustration with supporters and fans of Donald Trump. I, in no way, hide what affiliation I have in this election. Being a solidified liberal for most of my life, the conservative way of thinking has always been something harder for me to understand, but the mutation it has taken during this election is something new. Conservatism, like liberalism, consists of a set of principles and ideals, and its conservative minded thinkers use those principles to decide what they feel they need and want the American political powers that be. You may find that a lot of those ideas I may not agree with all the time, but one cannot help but respect and appreciate the consistent values that they have always maintained…until this election.

That is not to say that we have lost conservatism as a whole, but rather that it has been substantially replaced this election by an unforeseen set of ideals mutated out its foundations, and contorted in a way to make you think that it is a replica of what we have always come to know. However, this is much scarier, and we as the American public were never really prepared. The ideas that have spawned from Mr. Donald Trump’s campaign have been centered around fear, doubt, paranoia, nativism, and a lack of accountability. It is a political anomaly, centered around a man who has been always been associated with money, power, and fame. Yet, his campaign has inspired those that feel they are powerless. Trump’s campaign has made those who have looked at the eight years under the Obama administration as a step back, and a loss of what they once had. Furthermore, it has fueled that fear by having its supporters imagine eight more years under a Hillary Clinton presidency that would only set them back even further than they once were. It has tapped into the racially menacing nerve of White America that had never found a formidable voice to express the frustrations that it held, and now that voice has demanded action.

Here is where, though, we have failed as a society up to this point in regards to the Trump supporters. We have spent the better part of a year laughing, ignoring, and chastising them in the hopes that humor would laugh away the darkest parts of this movement. Once we realized that wouldn’t work, we attempted to confront many parts, not all, of the movement for its seemingly violent nature in, again, the hopes that a realization amongst these voters would occur. We missed the bigger point, though, and, frankly, we weren’t asking the right question. We heard the ideas of the Trump supporters and then rather than add room for discussion, we decided to try and talk over them. But how can you talk over ideas, such as race and violence, that have been at the very core of American History? What we should have done, and what we should choose to do now, is ask Trump supporters the only question that really matters: What do they Want?

What we also failed to realize was the notion that Trump supporters had never thought, or even had to ask themselves this question, either. They are the Will Hunting in this scenario, boastfully talking around the one thing they never dared to consider because maybe it’s just easier to handle, and there we are in the room with them scared to engage. We may never know what attracts them to Donald Trump but we can at least do ourselves the service of finally understanding what it is they want him to achieve.

So, I turn this to you, if you are planning on voting for Donald Trump this election because you more than anyone should be asking yourself this. What do you want? Think about it for a second before you answer. What is it you truly want from this election, from this man, and from his potential presidency? I think we can clearly establish what you don’t want. We know you don’t want Hillary Clinton. You don’t want the Obama administration to take away the values that you hold dear, you don’t want to feel like you’re losing any of your constitutional rights, and you don’t want any future legislation that makes you fearful for your safety in this country. We have established that. However, before we continue let me just go ahead and tell you what you’re not going to get no matter what so we can establish some boundaries to this exercise:

  1. You want Hillary Clinton to go to prison for Benghazi and/or her email scandal? Never going to happen
  2. You want President Obama to admit that he is either not from this country, or that he has purposefully torn it down? Never going to happen.
  3. You want the supreme court to repeal any Abortion legislation? Won’t happen.
  4. You want the media to quit having so much “liberal bias”? Impossible to define
  5. You want to keep the government away from your guns? Point me to a piece of legislation that says you will lose them.

Before, though, we completely remove them, let’s imagine for a second that you did get these things; then what happens? You want Hillary to go prison for her actions? No problem, she’s in jail now. Do your wants and needs stop at this point? It is hard to imagine a political environment in which someone with Hillary Clinton’s power and ethical quandaries to not emerge in her place eventually. Do you now campaign against them as well?

What about President Obama? Clearly, you aren’t a fan of him either or his policies. So, let’s imagine for a second that everything he’s ever done in office was completely wrong and detrimental for this country? What would you then want? Surely, something as monumental of a revelation as that would be would mean you would have dozens of ideas of where to start fixing his mistakes, correct? I ask you this in complete seriousness, because these are the questions that matter, and we haven’t even arrived at the good stuff yet.

Now let’s imagine these questions are finally off the table because, in all objective seriousness, none of these are actually plausible in our current political climate. I hope while you were reading this you were already thinking of your answer to my very simple question: What do you want from a Donald Trump presidency? What do you want him to do for you? What do you want him to act like, to speak like, to behave like? You and I both know that part of his appeal to you is that he’s against the establishment of politicians you have always come to know, so we clearly know what you DON’T want him to behave like. However, could you tell me what characteristics you do want?

Many Trump supporters believe in Donald Trump’s idea to build a wall along the Mexican Border to keep Mexico out, but have probably never asked themselves what happens after that wall is built. So I ask you now, what does that wall mean to you, and what do you want to come from it? Let’s play this scenario out. A wall along the Mexican border would now heighten foreign tensions between and Mexico and the United States, while also creating more racial tension between Hispanics and people of other races. So, now that you have that problem to deal with, what do you want to do about it? The rest of the world is looking for you to answer, so what will you do?

Take economic policies into account for a second. You don’t like the way the Obama administration has acted, but Donald Trump’s economic policies seem in flux most of the time depending on what stage of the campaign he’s in. So, if you hate what you have now, what would you want instead? What should our tax code look like? How should we regulate our banks? Who do you want advising Trump?

Finally, consider foreign relations with the middle east. You more than likely support either a ban on Muslim immigrants temporarily, or at least believe in a better background check for immigrants coming in, but what would those policies actually look like? Trump, himself, has never fully established what he wants, so maybe you know the answer to that question. Do you really know what kind of relationship you want the United States to have with the middle east? If so, have you considered the ramifications?

These are just a few of the questions we, as the rest of the voting population, have failed to ask you. I take responsibility for my own reticence to do so because I was, honestly, to angry to engage in conversation about Trump’s candidacy, but I am asking now. I am not only asking for myself though, but also for you. If you want this man to be the president, then it’s time you start handling the responsibility of that presidency is going to mean for you, as it is our responsibility to ask you. We all believe that what we hold valuable, politically, will eventually put us on the right side of history one day, but in order to solidify those values, you sure as hell better be able to articulate them. Donald Trump has never been that type of person, but you can. If he wins, and he doesn’t have a clear plan for this country, that burden is going to lay at your feet to decide what you want his plan for America to look like and, god dammit, you better be ready.

Campaigns are fun. They are energetic, and when you find a candidate with charisma, no matter who they are (we have to give Trump that), the feeling can be intoxicating watching them rise to the forefront of politics. However, that fun doesn’t last forever at some point we as Americans need to understand the gravity of this election, none more than those of us who vote for Donald Trump. So, think about it for as long as you want before election night. Imagine that America that no one has truly given you the time to think about before. Whether we agree with you or not, you still have a right to vote, and with that comes a power you may have never really considered before. However, do not do the American political system the disgrace of walking into that voting booth with the unformed, vague, and potentially dangerous principles Donald Trump has never been asked to define for you. Walk in there and think about my question, and walk away with at least the notion that you knew what you really wanted, or otherwise you are wasting our time and putting people’s lives in danger.

So, let me ask you one last time. What do you want?

White People and Our Whiteness: A Study of Fear and Insecurity

white-people

Addiction is a complicated thing to define most of the time. Sure, we can identify the obvious signs, many times, yet we have trouble explaining the root causes of the problem to begin with. You might have a family member with an alcohol addiction, but if you were asked by someone to explain WHY your family member had issues with alcoholism, could you explain it? Addiction, by definition, is rooted in an internal fear that our brain processes to be real, no matter how irrational the circumstances may seem to the outside person, and its effects are a continual cycle of searching for an escape from that fear until it eventually resurfaces. Therefore, by definition, it seems more clear than ever that white people may, in fact, be addicted to being white, and we may be too scared to admit it.

How does one define “whiteness”? I’ve been a white man for 25 years now, and it took me almost my entire life to even begin to describe what that actually means for me. Yes, my skin color was important in understanding what being white meant, but it was more of that skin color has given me in life. Whiteness is the set of ideals I have the freedom to possess, the words I’m allowed to say, the issues that I can deem relevant, the fear and anger that I don’t have to deal with if I choose not to. It is the ability to pick and choose when I can support or denounce someone different from me, as well as it is the ability for me to separate myself from the consequences that may follow. I can protest police brutality whenever I choose, and most of the time all I have to worry about is losing a few friends on social media. If I were black, however, I could be killed.

The reason it has become so difficult for most of us white people has to do mainly with the fact that we haven’t ever addressed our own whiteness before in context to the rest of society. Believe me, it is fairly easy as a white male to take for granted the fact that I can wake up every morning and essentially do or say whatever I want. That is in no way a boast either, but rather a glitch in the system that many of us fail to recognize.

If the addiction for many white people out there is whiteness, then we must ask ourselves where did it begin. The problem is, is that I don’t even think I can answer that the question. For many of us, it’s hard to answer questions about ourselves when we haven’t even bothered to acknowledge the questions exist. As they say, addiction is most reflected in denial.

Like all addictions, though, you can always trace as much of it as you can back to the emotion of fear. The fear that, one day, that privilege will no longer mean what it currently does. It’s the warm blanket that protects you from most of the cold in the world that others have to live through, and losing that protection would be a change so great, many of us can’t bear the thought of it. Furthermore, when you are driven by fear, you will do almost anything to protect yourself, no matter how irrational, to prevent that fear from becoming reality.

What becomes most frustrating about such a defense mechanism as one rooted in fear, is uncovering where it’s placed. However, if you pay attention long enough you will see just how far many of us white people will go to maintain status quo.

Slavery. Jim Crow. Separate but Equal. Radical Islamic Terrorism. Thugs. Un-American. All Lives Matter. “Most of my friends are black.” Black on Black Crime. Sharia Law. Building a Wall. Voter ID Laws. Gentrification.

Look at those words for a minute. What do you see in common with almost all of them? A distraction from the problem. An insecurity so deep and painful, that we would destroy every other race around us, no matter how clouded the phrasing may be, just to maintain our whiteness. Why address police brutality when you can just place responsibility within the black communities? Why address immigration when you can pretend everyone living in Mexico are criminals? Why embrace rap music’s influence on American culture when you can denounce its artists as “thugs”? Why address the fact that one of the NFL’s most respected quarterbacks has been charged with rape twice, when you can focus all your energy on being mad at the guy kneeling silently on the sidelines during the national anthem?

Addiction leaves you bare inside. It destroys everything within you, and slowly seeps its way out into the rest of the world and crushes everything around you. Yet, the most disgusting part of it all, is there are rarely consequences for the destruction. Why is it when we need to disguise our privilege, we feel the need to put a human shield in front of us to show how “equal” we are?

If there is a shooting of an unarmed black man by the police, chances are one of your distant white classmates from high school is going to post a video showing a black police officer coming to the defense of his fellow officers. Or maybe they will show a video of a police officer in a black community playing around with a bunch of black kids to show how peaceful they really are with minorities. Yet, we never once reflect the purpose of those videos, posts, or viewpoints in the first place. It isn’t to prove how equal we actually are; it’s to hide the fact that we aren’t. Somewhere down the line, white people began to believe that minorities not being killed on camera was all we really needed to prove that racism is a giant myth.

We stoop so low, that we use those of us without our privileges to further disguise our own. Donald Trump needs black votes to win the election? Just fly him out to Detroit to hang out with a couple of pastors. “How could the female officer who shot Terrence Crutcher have done anything wrong? Last week she was working at an all-black school and didn’t have any problems. (Oh really, an ALL BLACK SCHOOL? How could she possibly manage? Good for her…).” You, as a white person, couldn’t possibly have racial bias. You have like eight black friends, which is definitely more than those other racist white people who only have TWO black friends…

The insecurity of losing our whiteness even leads to determining how close a person of another race is allowed to get to our same level of equality. 44% of Americans, according to a Yahoo survey, said they would quit watching football if the NFL players do not stop protesting the national anthem, yet I would assume these players were in much better favor with the fans when they were winning them fantasy football games. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a white person who thought he was making too much racial progress, only to have his quotes, forty years later, used to denounce black lives matter protests in the name of “peace and love.” You hear the phrases ,”how can there be racism? Look at all of our black athletes. Our president is black. We have better job equality,” as if we can only allow so much progress for other races before we decide that enough is enough. Not only do we become addicted to our whiteness, but we protect our stash at all costs on the fear that someone else might just get a taste of the privilege.

Whiteness becomes so blinding that we don’t even realize we are blinding everyone else, and still the consequences remain so minimal. The members of Oklahoma University’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity won’t face the same consequences for yelling racial slurs at Native American protesters of Donald Trump, but those same protesters could lose their lives if the roles were reversed. Hell, Donald Trump’s entire campaign is built on the greatness of white privilege, and the unflinching celebration of its lack of accountability. Make America Great Again? Great for who? Who else but white people could run a Fox News special town hall meeting regarding racial issues in America hosted by Sean fucking Hannity and Donald Trump, with an all white crowd? But wait, they can just throw Ben Carson and Don King out there to reassure everyone watching that we are all in this together.

I brought up earlier the fact that I don’t have a solution to this problem, and don’t think that fact doesn’t haunt me. I won’t pretend either like I’m ashamed of my whiteness and the privileges that it’s brought me throughout my life, because doing so does not help those who are oppressed. It is also not the responsibility of white people for us to denounce our whiteness either, but yet we still have to admit that it’s there and we like it. We like having the freedoms that others do not, and if we can admit that much then maybe, just maybe, we can give someone else those same opportunities. Yet, we choose to live in fear, that one day our whiteness may run out of supply and we will have to live in the America that everyone else around us has lived in their entire lives. We are afraid to face ourselves in the mirror and accept the fact that we possess a gift that we refuse to share with anyone else out of fear that we will lose it completely. We hide that gift, we pretend to share it, or we may even let others hold it just for a second, but not too long. That gift, however, has become a drug, a substance many of us feel that we could not live without, no matter who or what may suffer in return.

However, before one can overcome addiction, one must first come to accept its presence, its power, and, most of all, its detriments. Have white people reached that point yet? It remains to be seen. Maybe we deserve Donald Trump, and maybe he will be the rock bottom to our addiction. In the time we have before that rock bottom, though, maybe it’s time we finally start planning out the recovery.