White Privilege

People love to get all defensive and worked up over topics that really aren’t that complicated. After Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance… one of those anger inducing topics is white privilege. Let me just lay this out there…

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I am a 28 year old white female… and I have “white privilege.”

A lot of people treat this phrase as an insult or they deny the term altogether and want nothing to do with it. But I’ll admit… As much as I don’t want to have it… I have DO have white privilege.

I have white privilege because I don’t have to consider and analyze my childs name at birth to try to make it sound like it’s “not an ethnic name” because we live in a country where college admissions and call backs for jobs are affected by something as simple as a NAME. In one study on white names vs black names “White names got about one callback per 10 resumes; black names got one per 15. Carries and Kristens had call-back rates of more than 13 percent, but Aisha, Keisha and Tamika got 2.2 percent, 3.8 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively. And having a higher quality resume, featuring more skills and experience, made a white-sounding name 30 percent more likely to elicit a callback, but only 9 percent more likely for black-sounding names.” (See the full article: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-names-a-resume-burden/ )

I have white privilege because I learned in school that people of my race founded America and made it what it is today. The currency I carry in my wallet is also covered with the faces of white Americans whose skin matches mine.

I have white privilege because I live in a country where flying the Confederate flag is still defended as being a part of “Heritage” instead of the disgusting hate crime it really is. But yet, many said that Beyonce’s Superbowl Show was “crossing the line”…

I have white privilege because if my child falls down on the school playground and scratches her knee, the band aid will match her skin color. (The same probably couldn’t be said for a black child)

I have white privilege because when I go to Target to buy shampoo and conditioner for my hair I can find it in the “Shampoo/Conditioner section” whereas my black friends have to look in the “ethnic hair care” section.

I have white privilege because when I dress nicely and speak in an articulate way I don’t “surprise” people.

I have white privilege because I’m never singled out in a conversation with an opening line like, “Hey Kari, you’re white… What do you think about….?” As if I represent the entire population of white people.

I have white privilege because I am able to get a great job without people gossiping, whispering and questioning what I did to get such a good job.

I have white privilege because I didn’t have scholars, historians and the media of another race edit, change and manipulate much of my history just to make it more “pleasant.”

I have white privilege because I can go out in public and not have people assume that I am a shoplifter, drug dealer, thug or criminal.

I have white privilege.

Acknowledging that I have white privilege doesn’t mean that I accept all or even ANY of the responsibility for this problem. It doesn’t mean that I am okay with having it or that I think it’s because of me. It just says that I know, accept and understand that this is a HUGE problem in our country. A problem I’d like to help fix.

I’m ashamed that my white privilege makes other races assume that I’m a snobby, hateful, unsympathetic, judgmental, unhelpful, racist human being who thinks she’s better than others and lacks empathy and sound judgment.

White privilege is real. And even though I don’t speak for my entire race, I speak for a lot of us when I say I’m really sorry that there still isn’t true equality amongst the races. I’m sorry that we are all so hellbent on defending OUR race that we haven’t really made much progress.

The only way anything is going to change is for us all to work together.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
-Buckminster Fuller

 

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