Pase, Señor (White Privilege) by PW Covington

It is nine forty nine in the evening and the gin kicks in
Alone, in a hotel room not far from the Mexican border
And I have not yet shed my Caucasian privilege

Bass notes from the Tropicana Club
Mariachi Wednesday
The music is pumping, it is raining in early November
And I have still not lost my Anglo privilege

I pass through the check points, Clean
Never sent to secondary screening because of my skin
Never asked to “Get out of the vehicle please”, because of my last name
Rarely even asked the one question
Everyone is supposed to be asked
Even slightly buzzed from a weekend of poetry, I still retain my white-race privilege

Even in prison, as likely as not,
I would be chosen to “supervise” a work detail
Or push a lightweight dust mop over air conditioned floors
Even when homeless, I could shoplift at will, No store detectives following me
Minimum sentences, a million second chances
Even when they took my ID in Santa Fe and wouldn’t give it back
My European privilege let me sneak out of town

I can not apologize for my privilege,
The things they feel, when they see

Hiding in Mexico, I could drink on the square until after midnight.
Las botellas chingonas,  Carta y Lager
Pero, Los Indios were not allowed, and could be arrested on sight

I do not hide from my privilege; I know that it’s there
I do not seek it nor deserve it; I know it’s not fair
I do not embrace it, as it clings to me with the cement of civilizing armies
White privilege, muy fácilmente, becomes gringo guilt
And shame

But, I am not ashamed of myself
I am ashamed for those that look at me,
And let me go in front of them in check out lines at the H.E. B. in Edinburg;
“Pase, Señor”….When a checker opens a fresh checkout line
And I have two bottles of wine and a six-pack of tall-boys
While they have a SNAP benefits card and fideo noodles.

Pase, Señor.

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