By Nicole Smith-Merry

As a clinical mental health therapist, I do not typically share my personal opinions on societal issues. However, it is time for each individual to dig deep within themselves and speak out on the oppressiveness of our nation. 

Many years ago, I did not understand the term “white privilege” and quite frankly, I took offense to it. I grew up in a lower-income neighborhood in Baltimore City. There were families just like mine, but I worked extremely hard for everything I had. I still work extremely hard for what I have. No one gave me anything freely. 

However, what has changed is my perception and our reality. I took a good hard look within myself, but more importantly, I took a look at those around me. I became educated, spoke to people, and stopped being naive to matters that I felt did not concern me. 

According to Oxford Languages, white privilege is the, “inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.” 

It is my belief that the word advantages are what stirs the pot for some of the Caucasian population. However, as a white woman, I know that I can commit a crime of a violent nature and survive my encounter with the police.  

I know that I can walk or jog down the street and not be shot. I know that I will not be accused of stealing from a store simply by entering it. 

Sadly, those are the advantages of being white. It is unimaginable to me to have to raise children and teach them how to stay safe in America based on race. So, imagine having to do that for decades upon decades with the realization that nothing is changing or may even be worse at times.

I now, and have for many years, understand the term white privilege. I hate every part of what it means because there should be no privilege. I can no longer sit quietly without voicing an opinion, not only because I hold a title as a clinician in the mental health field, but because I am a human being that is disgusted by what is happening in this great nation. White privilege does concern me and it should concern everyone. Lift your voices and be heard to stop the injustices that are being faced throughout America.

Nicole Smith-Merry, MS, LPC, NCC is a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania.