Have you ever heard the term White Privilege? Has it ever offended you? Do you believe that it isn’t real?
If you would have asked me those questions three years ago my answers would have been, “No… It doesn’t sound offensive? I don’t know if it’s real.”
White privilege is something I’ve been learning about for a few years now because since I started my education at The University of Kentucky that phrase has been brought up in every. single. class. At first, I just went along with it and didn’t think much more about it than what it took to fill out my homework, but the more I began to study racial politics, intra-racial politics, and the very world we live in today, the more I began to feel very very sick. White privilege is something that once I didn’t know existed. Now, I see it every single day.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain white privilege to people because they feel attacked. I think the reason I didn’t feel attacked is because I am pretty good about having an open mind. I like that I can see both sides to every story. So when the first professor said, “Let’s talk about white priviledge.” and proceeded to tell the whole class what it was, I didn’t feel offended; I felt devistated.
One day, in class, someone (yeah, he was white) said, “White priviledge doesn’t apply to me.”
“Why is that?” The professor asked calmly.
“Because my family was poor. I had two black friends growing up. I think slavery was bad, too.”
Boy, that sounds familiar.
My whole life I have lived in a smal town. Everyone here is poor and if they’re not poor they’re barely middle class. My town is white. My high school had maybe three people of color in it the entire time I attended. I have lived my whole life saying, “Oh, poor me. My parents make too much money for me to get any help with college tuition when in reality we can’t afford it.” “Oh, poor me. My school was poor so I didn’t get a really great education.” My whole life I have lived in a town where the average Facebook post involves something about “those illegal Mexicans taking our jobs and “the brute black people killing us,” and “‘Murica!”. But no one here is racist. Oh, no. “Slavery was bad,” and, “I have two black friends so of course I’m not racist.” Well guess what? Poverty doesn’t exempt you from white priviledge.
The professor explained that even the poorest white person has advantages over a black person. He showed us articles and clips and straight up facts on why white priviledge exists. After that class, I started paying more attention. And that’s when I noticed that the same term was being brought up in every single classroom I entered.
Take a few seconds to read these articles, view these pieces of media, and then do some research on your own. I have literally only written an introduction to the real story which you can find in the articles below. Find out what white privilege is, why it’s real, why it applies to you, and what you can do to recognize or “check” your white privilege.
Remember to leave your racist stereotypes put away as you read.
As a white person, if the idea of white privilege makes you angry, you’re just as entitled as white privilege says you are.
Here’s a screenshot of my favorite part from my favorite article (the last link at the bottom) on white priviledge:
Explaining Privilege to a Broke White Person is hard to do, but this article is fabulous at it.
Here‘s a little further explanation for you.
This video is a great simple way to explain priviledge of any kind. It’s simple enough to help explain white priviledge to your kids without over complicating things.
This Tumblr post is amazing.
Find all of the facts and statistics that make white priviledge an undeniable truth of society here.
Read this to see a real world metaphor of white priviledge.