And That’s On White Privilege

The recent protests and countless injustices against the black community have brought the conversation of white privilege into the discussion. White privilege should be discussed all of the time, however it has become more apparent in the recent weeks. I am white and I experience unearned advantages everyday due to the color of my skin. I have donated, advocated, and engaged in difficult conversations with my white peers about white privilege, but I need to continue to evaluate my privilege each and every single day.

I have seen distant friends on Facebook or my Instagram followers that are quick to defend police (now unfriended and un-followed). For example, one girl from my high school explained that we should just forget about our problems in the world today because it was her friend’s birthday. There are other white individuals who fall silent, when it is no time to be silent. Inspired by Peggy McIntosh’s essay "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack," I decided to make a list of just a few privileges that I have not earned and yet I cash them in every. single. day. I urge my white peers to do the same!

1. I have the privilege to ignore politics especially those pertaining to race.

2. I have never lost friends or acquaintances due to the color of my skin.

3. I have never wondered if getting a job, scholarship, etc. was a way to make a group look more “diverse”.

4. I do not fear for my life in the presence of police.

5. I can wear a hood, baggy clothing, etc. without being followed by store owners, police, etc.

6. My whiteness remains mainstream and can be understood by many.

7. I am not disproportionately affected by diseases or illnesses like COVID-19, hypertension, etc. 

8. I can enter into a room and expect to be represented by my race.

9. I can see my race represented in the beauty and fashion world.

10. I am always seen as American and never have to defend my citizenship.

11. I am never denied from things such as housing, occupations, etc. because of my race.

Photo by Will H McMahan from Unsplash

This list is just scratching the surface of unearned privileges that white people have. I encourage my peers to read, watch, and learn from the black community. It is not our turn to speak, it is our turn to listen and assist. Please call yourself out on privilege. Ask "did I earn my privileges or is it something I am granted due to the color of my skin?" Do not expect to be praised for donating, posting, or protesting. This is the bare minimum, we should not be praised for being actively anti-racist. If you take offense, you are adding to the problem of white privilege.