I was having a conversation about race with another non-black POC. He said something that really stood out to me: that he had “purchased” whiteness.

This concept of assuming whiteness is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. When this recent wave of racial-justice activism started, I realized how much I had slowly separated myself from participation in the cause.

I even found myself being extra careful when speaking to my black friends. And then it hit me. Oh, my god. Without realizing, I had become white - at least white enough to feel that I am on the chromatically privileged side of the American divide.

The reason that the idea of “purchasing” whiteness stood out to me was that this person made the decision deliberately. And I just, sort of, floated into it - little by little.

So much of America is predicated on whiteness (and its legacy) being better than everything else. And some of us POC find ourselves buying into that. Sometimes by accident.