The Martin Luther King keynote address fundamentally challenged my understanding and perception of social structure and race in the United States. The address has encouraged me to
become more critical and aware of the social environment that I live in. The relationship between social structure and race is one that many people cannot see or are seemingly unaware of, because it is not obvious to us, especially those of the white race. It is interesting to ponder the advantages that coincides with being of the white race and the effects it has on social structure, and on others races, predominately people of color.
Being born into the white race is almost like being given a free pass for certain privileges and benefits which people of color are short-changed of. Simple things like attending a school where my peers and teachers are predominately of my race or never having to worry about being unfairly or rudely treated because of the color of my skin are taken for granted. I will never have to worry as I am sitting in a college classroom if people are questioning if I really earned the right to be there or was it because of affirmative action that I was accepted. It is also to my advantage that I am of the white race because my heritage and culture are accepted norms of society. I do not have to be ashamed to celebrate family traditions or holidays such as Christmas or Easter because I am of the white class.
In trying to put in perspective how my life would be if I was given a different racial label I thought back to August of last year when my fiance and I relocated to Maine. The first thing that we had to do was find an apartment. This was a very easy process. In one day of apartment hunting we visited four different apartments. All of the landlords were white and eager to have us live at there apartments. In fact we were offered all four apartments that we looked at. Now when I think back on that ...