In many societies, white is the default. White is beautiful. White is right. White people rarely have to consider their race, whereas people of color are reminded of it daily. And while it may be uncomfortable to acknowledge, your ethnic background and skin color affect the way you’re treated by society. So today, let’s talk about white privilege honestly and work to undo its effects.
Keep reading to learn about white privilege and how everyone in society is impacted by it.
What Is White Privilege?
White privilege is the advantages white people have in society over non-white people.
Having white privilege doesn’t mean that a white person hasn’t experienced hardships. It means that a white person hasn’t experienced additional hardships because of their skin color.
There are many white people, especially those who come from poverty, who may feel defensive while reading that sentence. This is called white fragility and can prevent people from accepting the reality of white privilege.
This is due, in part, to the narrative everyone has implicitly been fed, which is that of white superiority. So when someone challenges this narrative, white people are often disturbed. But that has to change.
And if you want to see an example of this, click to learn more.
How Do White People Benefit From It?
This list is only scratching the surface. But if you’re white, please consider this:
- Most people on television and in books are white
- Band-aid’s default shade is the color of white skin
- “Nude” clothing is the color of white skin
- You can go out in public without being harassed because of your skin color
- There are no violent stereotypes associated with your race
- When law enforcement pulls you over, it is likely not because of your race
- You aren’t harmed by law enforcement because of your race
- You learned about history from the perspective of your race
- If you choose, you can be with people of your race most of the time
- Your race doesn’t make it harder to find a job
- Your accomplishments are not credited to your race
- You aren’t asked to speak on behalf of your race
What Can You Do To Fix It?
White privilege and systemic racism cannot change overnight. But to begin undoing them, you have to become anti-racist instead of non-racist. Being non-racist means that while you may not do or say racist things, you’re okay being silent in the face of injustice.
Here’s how to be anti-racist as a white person:
- Acknowledge that white privilege exists
- Accept that you benefit from white privilege
- Educate yourself on white privilege
- Speak out against acts of racism
- Support people of color in any way you can
- Listen to people of color about their experiences with race
- Talk about white privilege with other people of your race
- Don’t get defensive if a person of color calls you ignorant
- Accept that you may have inherently flawed ideas about race
- Work to undo implicit biases about race
Let’s Do Something About White Privilege
White privilege will persist if everyone keeps silent about its impacts.
However, this can change if society acknowledges racial inequality, discusses it honestly and listens to POC. But for this to happen, change must start at an individual level, meaning it all starts with you.
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