REALITY CHECK: WHITE PRIVILEGE

White privilege doesn’t mean that your life hasn’t been hard. It just means that the color of your skin isn’t making it harder. Do you have white privilege? Recognizing it doesn’t mean that you have done something wrong. Awareness of it is the first step in doing your part to make our world a better place.

The dictionary defines privilege as “a special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class or caste”. It is an unearned power that has been systematically conferred upon you. There are many kinds of privilege in this world, but let’s look at white privilege today. Check off the ones that apply to you.

  • If I need to move, the color of my skin won’t be held against me.
  • If I am shopping, I won’t be suspected of shoplifting.
  • I’m pretty sure that my neighbors will act neutrally or positively to me.
  • My name isn’t held against me when I submit a job application.
  • When I read books, most of the characters are white.
  • When I select human emojis, most of them are white.
  • I can go out at night without fear of being stopped or reported because of the color of my skin.
  • I never had to worry about my next meal or a roof over my head.
  • My teachers and administrators were mostly white.
  • My political representatives are mostly white.
  • I have never been ”redlined” out of a mortgage.
  • I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
  • I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  • If I ask to speak to the manager, they will usually be white.
  • I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

So, let’s look at this as an opportunity to learn and be responsible so that we can work towards a more just and inclusive world. What actions can you take?

  • Educate yourself by reading articles, books, studies and other online resources.
  • Demand your workplace, school and other structured environments ensure inclusion and equity at every level.
  • End or re-evaluate relationships with white people who consciously self-segregate from people of color or express racist attitudes.
  • Hold public officials accountable for ending racial profiling, stop-and-frisk policies, police brutality and the shooting unarmed people of color.
  • When it’s clear that preferential treatment is given to whites over people of color in public accommodations, call for fairness.
  • Support commissions that research the effects of slavery on blacks in America and reparations for them.

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