Almost no one will swim in a pool that has a corpse in it. I don’t have numbers to support that. I just assume it is true knowing how human beings work. Yet people flock to the oceans all the time, even though it is full of corpses. What’s the difference? Both of them are water that contains one or more dead bodies, so why do people avoid one but have no problem with the other?
The answer has to do with the likelihood of encountering said corpses. Even the largest pool is quite small if you have to share it with a corpse, and there’s almost no way to avoid it, whereas the ocean is so vast that you have to really look to find anything, even the millions of people who have died there. The odds of running into a corpse in the ocean at random are minuscule, whereas if there is a corpse in the pool with you, the odds approach 100%.
Why is this important? Why am I talking about water and corpses? Because it is the perfect metaphor for the likelihood of encountering prejudicial behavior. If you are a white person, even a disadvantaged white person, you are swimming in the ocean. The odds that you are going to encounter systemic racism are very low. If you are BIPOC, it is almost impossible to avoid. Yet they are treated as if they are the same. When a black person says “I encounter racism every day” and a white person says “I never see it”, it is comparing finding a corpse in a swimming pool to finding a corpse in the ocean. Just because you are both in water doesn’t mean that your experiences are the same.