If you clicked this link, you’re probably a skeptic, a dummy, or a minority ready to proclaim “Yaaaaaasss” after each bullet point. Regardless of who you are, I want you to know that I wrote this post with venom flowing through my veins. I’m fed up with the white people I’ve been seeing float across my TL declaring that white privilege ‘isn’t a thing’. Because most whites are socialized and conditioned to not realize they have an abundance of privilege that minorities do not possess, quite a few of them ardently believe that White Privilege is a myth. This includes the poor ones, who benefit from their whiteness even if they deny it. Years of people of color being subservient and sycophantic has made white people weirdly fragile and insulated from their realities. But in 2017 I need all of yall to get with the program.
Here are 15 examples of white privilege.
1) White privilege is the European and white version of history being the center of MANDATORY curriculum in education, often depicting whites as victors, heroes, and innovators. Minority groups and their accomplishments are explored in non-mandatory elective classes or during designated times of the year. They might even get a few chunks of text in large history books that never mention much more than Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr’s promotion of non violence, and more recently, Barack Obama’s presidency. Little is mentioned about white reactions to black progress or blatant acts of racism past the death of MLK.
2) White privilege is multiple types of white people being depicted in entertainment and media. As a white person, you can turn on the TV or pop open a magazine and see white people with straight hair, curly hair, red hair, skinny bodies, fat bodies, etc. Your features have historically been worthy of attention, praise, and paychecks. You see people who look similar to you in all facets of life being proclaimed beautiful. Up until recently, blacks have been barraged with images of white beauty and few images of black beauty. This obviously has had an effect on black people and how they view themselves.
3) White privilege is being able to speak proper english and use fancy vocabulary without being referred to as “uppity”, or being told you’re “acting white”. Because intelligence is automatically attached to whiteness, it is not poked at. Nobody will be surprised to hear proper grammar or million dollar words tumbling from your mouth. You’ll also probably never hear “Wow you’re so smart,” in a tone of utter disbelief.
4) White privilege is getting into an acclaimed university or gaining prominent employment, and people saying you did so because you deserved it, not because of affirmative action.
5) White privilege is being able to dress like a “thug”, listen to “thug” hip hop music, or using “thug” ebonics, but not worrying about being called one.
6) White privilege is being able to own a gun (registered or unregistered) and proclaim you have the right to bear arms without being labeled a thug. You can even walk around with this gun in public places, strapped to your back, on your hip, etc. You probably won’t be stopped and frisked for looking like a potential threat, either. If you are examining a gun in Walmart (toy or otherwise), you wont be shot because as a white American citizen, its your right to bear arms.
7) White privilege is white people’s natural hair being deemed professional and okay in the workplace, while black people’s natural hair is often deemed unprofessional and unkempt. Your hair is the standard that another person’s hair is judged by. That is privilege, whether you admit it or not.
8) White privilege is believing you have every right to remember and commemorate Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and Taylor Swift lyrics (all atrocities against the American people), but feel like black people should ‘get over’ slavery (an atrocity against blacks) because racism doesn’t exist anymore and there was once a black man in the White House. You remember events that disproportionately affected YOUR people. Not only do you place these predominantly white tragedies on pedestals, but you expect minorities to disregard their own past traumas while remembering your own. If this wasn’t the truth, you’d be just as zealous about remembering events like Indian Removal, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, and the various deaths of victims of police brutality.
9) White privilege is being able to complain about your treatment in this country without someone telling you to shut up because “For God sakes, the president is white, racism is dead, stop being bitter, stop making excuses, etc”. Your grievances are legitimate, but when people of color do it, they are being ungrateful or race baiting. By telling a black person that their oppression is dramatized or non existent, you are ignoring the hundreds of years of disadvantages that have influenced attitudes and systems to maintain the status quo of white supremacy, and exercising your privilege.
10) White privilege is being able to get drunk or rowdy on drugs at public events and nobody will call you savage, a thug, ghetto, or dangerous.
11) White privilege is feeling trustful of police officers and being reassured by their presence, not scared by it. White privilege is applauding police officers for keeping you safe while ignoring their very long history of terrorizing and targeting black communities. If you’re desperate for more information, check out the Department of Justice’s report on Chicago area police officers admitting to using unneeded force on black suspects and using racist slurs.
12) White privilege is believing that made-up names like Heather, Bethany, and Karen are better than equally made-up names like Keisha, Monique, and Ashanti. (Note: No name under the sun is not made-up. Please stop calling black names made-up like whatever name you’re rocking was bestowed upon you by God).
13) White woman privilege is being able to avoid being called an “Angry White Woman”, even if all you do is spew hatred and racist rhetoric. You might have caught the irony of me calling Thomas Lauren an angry white bitch in a recent video.
14) White privilege is assuming and perpetuating that important social and religious figures- like Jesus Christ, God, Santa Claus- are white. White privilege is also believing that portraying them as any other race or ethnicity is blasphemy. White privilege is getting mad at JK Rowling for approving a black Hermione Granger (a character she created) but seeing nothing wrong with a white man portraying a real human, like Michael Jackson.
15) White privilege is being able to call The Boston Tea Party, The American Revolution, the displaying of the rebel flag, and raucous street celebrations after the death of Osama Bin Laden ‘patriotic’, while in the same breath condemning the rioters and protesters of Ferguson as savages…. with a straight face.
Those were just 15 examples that peek behind the veil of white privilege. I didn’t even mention the obvious privileges like lack of police profiling and better chances of employment with higher pay. I have had numerous white friends who didn’t realize that being apart of the majority has afforded them certain luxuries that other minorities can only dream of… but once I had meaningful conversations about them where they were willing to be taught, they woke up. Its like they need to see outside of their own experiences before they can truly believe that what we say about feeling like second class citizens is very real. I would love to not feel nervous around cops, people paid and sworn to protect me. I would love for my little black cousins to learn in school that white politicians, social reformists, and businessmen aren’t the only American heroes they should be looking up to. I would love for black women to be able to express themselves in the same manner as Ann Cunter and Thomas Lahren without being labeled “angry black bitches”. As a white person, you may be wondering what you’re supposed to do with all of this privilege. You’re probably thinking, “Well I can’t just stop being white, Lexi.” Of course you can’t. The point of making you aware that you are privileged is so that you can do three things:
- Stop downplaying the experiences of minorities with statements like “But racism doesn’t exist anymore” or claiming that we’re all on an equal playing field. Also stop saying that “we should all be equal” when you know that “should” is idealism, not our actual reality.
- Share the knowledge that you have gained with other white people so they too can stop downplaying the experiences of minorities
- Attempt to extend these privileges to other minorities in your own areas of life… for example, casting minorities in your films if you’re a casting director or on the smaller scale, attempting to teach your white children/cousins/siblings that white people weren’t the only people who built this country and extending appreciation to other cultures.
Despite this long post, quite a few of you will still be thinking, “But why would I want to do that? It’s not my fault Im privileged! Sucks to suck but I’ll keep enjoying my life.” By refusing to acknowledge that you have privileges that should be rights for all and that minorities in this country are faced with many disadvantages, you are identifying yourself as part of the problem. You are a racist, who actively wants to enjoy the fruits of a system built on the discrimination and exploitation of others. You cannot deny this. You are the bump under the rug that needs to be smoothed out. Congratulations, you fuck. You are an asshole and a horrible human being. Cheers.
If you’d rather hear from a white person that white privilege is real, try reading Peggy McIntosh’s iconic essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack“