Emily Vieweg, MFA is a poet and playwright originally from St. Louis, Missouri. Her work has been published in Foliate Oak, The Voices Project, Northern Eclecta, Red Weather Literary Magazine, Soundings Review, Art Young's Good Morning, and more.

Her one-act play Atomic Lounge was performed in Chicago at The 25th Annual Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Theatre Festival in 2013.

Emily's debut chapbook Look Where She Points is available from Plan B Press.

Emily's second chapbook, Conversations with Beethoven and Bach, is available through

She lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she is a mother of two, pet parent, data processor and adjunct English instructor.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A white voice has something to say about privilege.

My children were born white, so they have privilege. It was not my predetermined intention to bring white children into the world, it just so happens that my children are white because their fathers are also white.
Race has never been a required concern for me, and for that I apologize. I apologize for not realizing that race does matter. I was raised to treat everyone with respect, regardless of race or color or religion. So in that sense, a person's humanity is what I base a friendship on - the idea of race or color as a qualification for friendship was not on my list of requirements.
I do not know the fears a family shares with their blackness or brownness, because I was born white.
I do not have to fear for my son's well-being driving in the "good" part of town wearing a hoodie, because he is white.
I do not understand the struggles of my brothers and sisters of color - and I do not pretend to understand. Theirs is a struggle for equality that has been in process for generations.
My struggle for equality is different.
I am a woman.
I am a white woman.
I am a white LGBTQ woman.
The difference between myself and others is that I can hide my difference and jump back into the closet any time I want/need to. I am lucky.
I am a mother first. When that teenager was sobbing over the death of his father, all I wanted to do was dive through that television and comfort him, because I saw a child. A grieving child who now holds fear in his heart about the people who are supposed to protect us...
Protect US - ALL OF US... Not just white us.
A personal note to Cameron Sterling:
Dear Cameron,
Please, child, please know that I am mourning with you - I am crying with you. I do not know you, but I love you. I wish there was something we could do to bring your father back and this was all just a bad dream... I wish. We cannot do anything to bring him back, and I am so desperately sorry for your loss. Your loss is irrefutably unfair.

For what it's worth, my heart is with you, your family, your mother, and your community. 
Do not try to be strong right now.
Weep, mourn, and surround yourself with people who love you and who can be strong for you.
There are hundreds of thousands of us, mourning your loss.
I wish for peace in your heart, sweet boy.
All my thoughts, heart and love to you during this time and forever more,
Emily Vieweg, Mother of Two, Fargo, ND.
I am so afraid of where this all could go. So afraid that this civil war that has been brewing for generations will implode and consume us as a civilization.
I never imagined that my children would have to live in a world full of hatred and fear. Granted, my children, being white, do not fear the same people that their friends of color fear. I hope I can teach my children to use their privilege to help communicate the injustices of this world - to use their privilege not to holler their own needs - but the needs of other voices that must be heard.
I fear for us. I fear for the families of everyone gunned in recent days, months and years. I fear for the children of law enforcement who will now be targeted just because of their parent's profession. I have friends and family on both sides of this issue. I have cousins and their children who are multi-racial. I have friends who put on a uniform and badge every day. Honest, lawful officers who want to keep citizens safe. So who do I choose to support? My black cousins or my officer friends? Perhaps my naivete is the reason I believe it is possible to choose both.
Just because I love my black family members does not mean I disregard the lives of officers lost. Just because I mourn for my police officer friends does not mean that I disrespect the lives of my black cousins.
Hopefully we can work together to heal the pain - but I don't know if it will happen in my lifetime...
I am so afraid for all of our children.