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Op-ed: Why It’s Awesome to Be White in America

Op-ed: Why It’s Awesome to Be White in America


Didn't we end racism when Barack Obama was elected? No? (Tyler Curry takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the state of race inequality.)

For living in a post-racial society, there seems to be a startling amount of coverage on racism on my TV and computer screen. The shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, the death of Eric Garner, and the police retaliation in New York City have everyone debating the racial injustice of our legal system.

Now, I don't know about all that, because when the pundits take the evidence and circumstances of each case, muddle them down, and then recycle and repackage all that information so many times, things can seem unclear -- at least, for anyone completely removed from the experience of what it is like to be a minority in America. But I do know one thing for sure:

It is awesome to be a white guy!

Don't believe me? Well then let me break down all of the reasons why being white in America is the best thing ever.

Of course I am not a criminal. I am white!
In my 31 years, I have never, ever, been mistaken for a criminal. In the 20 or so times that I have been pulled over by a police for whatever reason, I have never once been asked to step out of the car. My white face just says, "But officer, I was just trying to get to Crate & Barrel before it closed!"

There was even that one time in college where I was arrested for a DUI -- well, arrested is kind of a strong word. I didn't have to go to jail and the cops took me back to my apartment after processing. I was super drunk and they were super nice. Thanks, officer!

My success is my own.
No one has ever assumed that I received an award, an accolade, or a job title because of the color of my skin. People automatically assume that I was the right person for the job instead of selected because of a company's equal opportunity policy. I have never been chosen to be a part of a team to make a company look diverse on a pamphlet either. People just must think I am awesome!

My skin color is the standard of beauty.
If I were ever to need makeup, I could walk into any department store in any mall and buy my shade of foundation from virtually any line of cosmetics I wanted. Finding my color match is easy, because every line has seemingly hundreds of shades of beige. There is soft beige, medium beige, honey beige, warm beige, sunny beige, and of course, beige beige. Need other colors? There's also tawny, ivory, cream -- some makeup lines even carry all two shades of brown!

After all, beige skin is the standard baseline of beauty. All other shades of skin are considered exotic or unusual, but featuring foundation in more than five skin colors sure does prove that a cosmetic company is good at pretending to also value other races equally. Any mainstream cosmetic ad in America will just prove it: You will always see a white woman staring back at you with perfect, poreless beige skin. Sometimes there is an African-American, Hispanic, or Asian woman standing next to her, but the white girl is always front and center. She is proof of how awesome it is to be white, because you'll also be considered pretty.

Don't hate me because America tells me I'm the most beautiful.

I don't have time for protests.
Being white is extremely convenient. I don't have time to make picket signs or march in constant protest or riots. I have a strict calendar filled with commitments to work, a rigorous gym schedule, and dinner with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I mean, who has time to fight over racial injustice when I am still trying to decide if I am Team Kyle or Team Lisa?

I have never been sexualized because of my skin tone.
I've gone this entire time without being fetishized. When people hit on me, it isn't because they want to see what it is like to sleep with a white dude. There is no such thing as "sexual vanilla" or "suburban fever." Guys who like me aren't called "cracker burners." There isn't the notion that "once you go white, you'll never go back." People don't think you are addicted to white people forever.

Being a minority is never fun.
I am so lucky that I am white, because I am also a gay man. Not only am I a gay man, I am one of the obvious ones. So for my entire life, I have been labeled, bullied, underestimated, and discriminated against for my sexuality. And on top of that, other people who are not homosexual minimize my experience and continue to rule against my right to marry, to adopt children, to be protected against losing my job because of discrimination, the list goes on. Being a part of this minority enough to bother with all of those racial issues. At least as a white gay man, I still get the privileges that come with my silky beige skin tone.

Any other skin color just sounds exhausting.

TYLER CURRY is the senior editor of HIV Equal, a comprehensive online publication dedicated to promoting HIV awareness and combating HIV stigma. To learn more about HIV Equal, visit or follow Tyler Curry on Facebook or Twitter @iamtylercurry.

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