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Some People Have A Really Hard Time Admitting What She Admits To Here

A woman who understands that acknowledging her white privilege doesn't mean she's bad wrote a thing to help other privileged people get to the same understanding. It's pretty great. I think you should read it. With an open heart.

Some People Have A Really Hard Time Admitting What She Admits To Here

By Elizabeth Grattan


"Why does it always have to go back to race?!" — Female, white, 25-54

I hear you. I get it. I was just like you. Color blind. Humanist. Our blood runs red, our veins shades of blue. "BET", "Black History", "Affirmative Action" all reverse racism dividing peace and perpetuating the notion some exception was necessary where it wasn't. I was just like you.

It insulted me. My first childhood friend was black. My experiences told me it was cultural and that privilege wasn't a fact. It was just another way to blame me for the past. And I hated it.

Because I wanted so much to believe Rodney King. I wanted us to all get along. To strive for unity. I wanted so desperately for racism to be our history. I needed it to be.



So I hear you. When you talk about equality. I hear you. When you bring up opportunity. I hear you. When you feel insulted and blamed and shamed for the color of your skin. And you think it isn't fair. And you just want it to end. I hear you.

And I don't know how to convince you. I don't know what analogy to use. Because evidence and obvious aren't getting through. So I will use my white privilege to show it to you.

My chestnut haired, hazel eyed child was born into advantage. My three year old son has more opportunity in this nation than a forty year old college educated black woman. And that is the truth. And even in acknowledging that, I am benefited. My acceptance of my advantage puts me at an even greater advantage. Hear that. The mere fact that I strive to unpack the layers and change your point of view makes me more favored than if I never talked about it with you.

Because now I'm a white woman who is seen as "liberated", "aware", "educated", "diverse". I'm viewed as compassionate and empathic and progressive. I'm seen by my white peers and peeps as some sort of altruistic good woman for reaching so deep.

And that is white privilege. Because as a black woman I'd be dismissed. I'd be called angry and irate and someone who isn't grateful enough that times have changed. I'd be making everything about race. I'd be pulling a martyr card and playing a victim. If I were a black woman you wouldn't even listen. Because you wouldn't have to listen. Because it wouldn't have anything to do with you. So I'd never get through. And that is white privilege. That somehow when I, as a white woman, explain white privilege to you, you might listen.

Because that's how it happens. So listen.

Acknowledging privilege is not admitting to be a racist. It's not saying you are prejudice. It's not denying your struggle or your set backs or the journeys you've made. Acknowledging your privilege doesn't take away from anything you've gained. Acknowledging your privilege doesn't mean what you think it means. But it does mean something.

And acknowledging your privilege is as necessary for you as it was for me. Because it's your story. It's your heritage. It's your past and your present and your future. It's what has shaped you and afforded you everything you've ever had and everything you've ever lost and everything you worked so hard to achieve. It's what gave you all your opportunities.

The opportunities that were built on the back of slavery. Hear me. We trafficked human beings. We bought and sold each other like property. We traded people as commodities. We paved roads and farmed fields and fought wars and nursed babies with chains of currency.

And that was recently. And that means something.

Our Declaration didn't include everybody. Our Constitution didn't provide equality. Our Founding Fathers weren't revolutionary. Generations of systematic social injustice and slave labor shaped this country. This has never been the land of the free. It cost us something.

And you can't see it. And you will never see it. And you will never be able to see it. And you will never have that perspective. Because your heritage is different. You will never have to see it. You will never need to experience it. You will never fully understand because you will never have to live it. But you will always live with the benefit of it.





















You don't yet understand that the only reason you are able to be color blind is because you are white. You don't yet comprehend that you are afforded the luxury to stand on today and say it's all different and that things aren't the same only because the system was set up that way. You were born with the opportunity to say racism will end if we just wish it away.

But life doesn't work that way. So listen:

And these are just a few. There are so many more it would take decades to show you.

Privilege isn't about accusing you of being a racist. Privilege is about asking you to look at the evidence and see the difference between whiteness and blackness. Privilege is knowing one has advantage.

Privilege is acknowledging that racism is structural, cultural and institutional. That it underpins the foundation of our nation through integrated bias based on centuries of attitudes and ideologies we passed down in legacies we live with today. Through systematic generational cycles of injustice, in every area of life, privilege dominates the playing field with a head start that began long before we were ever born. That doesn't mean you did anything wrong. It just means it is wrong.

So hear me. I was just like you.

Until someone showed me that denying my privilege wouldn't make it go away. Individually, you can want to be color blind, collectively, it doesn't work that way.

So listen.

You aren't going to see it. You aren't going to feel it. You aren't going to be able to reach out and grasp it. And that is precisely how you can know it exists. Because you won't ever have to acknowledge it if you don't want to. And the mere fact that you are able to dismiss it? That I was?

Yeah, that's a privilege.





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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

When we think of what a Tyrannosaurus looked like, we picture a gargantuan dinosaur with a huge mouth, formidable legs and tail, and inexplicably tiny arms. When we picture how it behaved, we might imagine it stomping and roaring onto a peaceful scene, single-handedly wreaking havoc and tearing the limbs off of anything it can find with its steak-knife-like teeth like a giant killing machine.

The image is probably fairly accurate, except for one thing—there's a good chance the T. rex wouldn't have been hunting alone.

New research from a fossil-filled quarry in Utah shows that Tyrannosaurs may have been social creatures who utilized complex group hunting strategies, much like wolves do. The research team who conducted the fossil study and made the discovery include scientists from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colby College of Maine, and James Cook University in Australia.

The idea of social Tyrannosaurs isn't entirely new—Canadian paleontologist Philip Curie floated the hypothesis 20 years ago upon the discovery of a group of T. rex skeletons who appeared to have died together—but it has been widely debated in the paleontology world. Many scientists have doubted that their relatively small brains would be capable of such complex social behavior, and the idea was ridiculed by some as sensationalized paleontology PR.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.