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The Cost of Privilege 

Remembering that not all of us are so lucky

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Last June, I observed a Santa Rosa police officer arresting a homeless man during the Wednesday Night Market. For the crime of observing this, I was arrested and spent half a night in jail. I was then charged with obstructing an officer.

I am grateful to say that after months of court dates and pushing this case all the way to a jury trial, the charges have been dismissed.

Sometimes white privilege means that going into court against the law enforcement establishment might actually work in your favor. While I'm thrilled to not have a bogus charge on my record, I also have to face the fact that things may very well have worked out differently if my skin had looked a little bit different, or if I hadn't been born in this country.

We have a lot of work to do to dismantle white supremacy and capitalism, and part of that work starts with realizing how this system has a plan for destroying the lives and families of people of color, through prison, deportations, economic exploitation, state violence, pollution of poor neighborhoods and so many more little evils that go unnoticed by most of us.

I am grateful to live in a community of thoughtful and radical individuals who are not afraid to resist these injustices. I specifically want to hold up the event being organized by the D.R.E.A.M. Alliance of Sonoma County on March 27 at SSU's Mario Savio Speaker's Corner called "Coming Out of the Shadows," with immigrant youth speaking on their experiences in the United States.

I also want to remind folks to check out a great event on Tuesday, March 19, at the Arlene Francis Center, with author and activist Chris Crass, author of Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building.

The struggle continues. I am glad to be free of the court system. Now it's time to get free of capitalism.

Carl Patrick is a member of Occupy Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Solidarity Network.Open Mic is a weekly op/ed feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution.

To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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