Welcome to the first installment of my new discussion series. For more information on how this series started click here.
Today we will discuss: White privilege.
For the original article that I will be responding to, follow this link.
First let me start off by saying that everyone has privilege. No matter who they are, it exists for all of us. There is always someone who is worse off than we are whether we want to believe it or not.
The author of this article, like many people, associates privilege with money. Sure that’s a part of it but not all that it encompasses. Privilege is based on much more than material items.
She’s absolutely right to say that it’s unfair for all POC to blame their shortcomings on white people. I’m not disagreeing with that, but we also have to take into consideration things like housing discrimination, segregation and a bunch of other things that were specifically designed to keep people of color from advancing. Sure, it’s 2017 now, but racism still exists and sometimes people choose to keep these practices going.
I agree that white privilege is not “the bane of non whites’ existence” but that still doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
When we talk about white privilege, we’re not saying that all white people have every thing handed to them, are always born into rich families, never have to work a day in their life, and never face any hardships. Obviously that’s not true. What we are saying, is that the way that you are perceived in the world is different from how non white passing POC are perceived.
When you’re white (at least in America) you are often considered the default or the norm. People don’t look at you and automatically associate you with stereotypes of being poor, uneducated or less than human. You see yourself represented everywhere. Your history is taught as a high school requirement while many others can only learn theirs as a college elective, or a minor if they’re lucky.
Just yesterday I had someone (a stranger) tell me how shocked they were that I was college graduate.
I’ve spent most of my life being told that I “sound white” simply because I speak in full sentences and don’t often use slang.
I will never forget the day during freshman move in (as a Resident Assistant) when despite the fact that I was holding a clipboard and wearing a residence life polo with the university logo on it, a white parent still felt the need to lock their car door as I approached. For the record, I’m only five feet and I was smiling. There was no need to feel “intimidated.” Would that have happened if I were white? Honestly, I will never know for sure, but I highly doubt it.
So yeah, it really does suck when people make assumptions about you based on your shin color. But having someone assume that you’re wealthy has a much different impact from them assuming that you’re uneducated or a threat to their well being. That doesn’t make it acceptable in any way, but the fact that that is the most common stereotype used against you is privilege in itself. So please, if one of your biggest concerns is being stereotyped as rich, check your privilege.