I would like to start off this article by saying white privilege is very real.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s discuss what white privilege is exactly.
White privilege (or sometimes called white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit white people beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. These privileges are unearned and are distributed based on values of the dominant group. In other words unfair bias in favor of the Caucasian community simply because they are the majority.
White privilege shouldn’t be confused with racism. White people can not help that they were born with this “right” and as minorities we can not blame white people for having this privilege, but that doesn’t mean we ignore that it exist.
There are many examples of white privilege. We see it everywhere. We see it everyday. At the bank when the young white couple gets a loan as opposed to the black one. In a study done in Syracuse, between 1996 and 2000, of the 2,169 FHA loans issued only 29 or 1.3 percent went to predominantly minority neighborhoods compared with 1,694 or 78.1 percent that went to white neighborhoods.
In the courtroom…when a drug abuser with white skin gets offered rehab but a black abuser of the same caliber getting no such offer and being sentenced to prison.
Black youth are arrested for drug crimes at a rate ten times higher than that of whites. But new research shows that young African Americans are actually less likely to use drugs and less likely to develop substance use disorders, compared to whites, Native Americans, Hispanics and people of mixed race.
We see it in the media…when the allegations came out about Bill Cosby it was the main focus of news shows everywhere for months. But as soon as the facts came out about Charlie Sheen having HIV and knowingly infecting women with the virus, it was brushed over as if it was nothing. But white privilege is more than just mortgage loans, police pardons or media scandals.
It is even relevant in simple things such as expressing your opinions on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
I was having dinner with one of my friends earlier this week and he explained how he has his reservations about posting how he really feels about some race related issues (like the ones I mentioned) because he doesn’t want to upset or offend any white friends that might be following his account.
I share some of his same concerns when it comes to social media, especially Facebook. However, when I get on my account I see most of my white friends have no problem sharing exactly how they feel about race issues and that’s how it should be. But then again, white privilege.
White people will never know how it feels to be Black…point blank period and vice versa. MTV’s ‘White People’ was a groundbreaking documentary on race that aimed to show the viewpoint of what it is to be a young white person living in America today. The film follows Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker, Jose Antonio Vargas, as he travels across the country to get this complicated conversation started. ‘White People’ asks what’s fair when it comes to affirmative action, if colorblindness is a good thing, what privilege really means, and what it’s like to become the “white minority” in your neighborhood.
Though it was a great attempt at divulging the evident differences between being white in America and being Black, I feel the film could’ve gone deeper. It was a little on the safe side.
I believe even more effort should be put into the issue. MTV and “White People” might have broken the ground for the unawareness in this generation when it comes to white privilege, but it didn’t plant the seed. It is up to all of us as minorities to be the planters. Until we speak up and stand up that horizon of ignorance will only get steeper.