White privilege it’s called and recently
I learned its name although I’ve been
white as a sheet for decades.
Like breathing and eating I take
white privilege for granted.
I push a cart through a megastore
in bib overalls and no one
follows me and when I hail a cab
in a snow storm, it picks me up.
My freckles may be a stop sign.
Not so my friend George,
black as tar in a suit and tie,
who finds someone behind him
in any store he enters.
And cabs are in no rush
to pick him up either
despite his fine attire.
I can't do anything about being white.
Nor can George about being black.
We get along despite the difference
because we know each other.
Salt and pepper, his wife says.
White privilege is nice to have.
To live without it must be a problem,
though George has never complained.
If other whites don’t get to know him,
he’ll be tailed for life in stores
and may go gray hailing cabs
as they fly by and he turns white
waving in the snow.
Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Tribune and Commonweal. Some of his work can be found at http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html#sthash.OSYzpgmQ.dpbs=