So I was contemplating this a few weeks ago and I received this email this morning. I figured I'd post and share and add some thoughts of my own although I found myself struggling with the topic. For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.
Here is the email:
What is White Privilege????
For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege,
or who are constantly looking for an easy-to-understand example of it,
perhaps this list will help.
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like
Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of
your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge
you, or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as
black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly
typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.
White privilege is when you can call yourself a "fuckin'
redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, who likes to "kick ass"
if people mess with you, and who likes to "shoot shit," for fun, and
still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great
son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.
White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges
in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out
of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community
college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to
achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as
unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first
place because of affirmative action.
White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town
smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state
with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of
Manhattan makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't
all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator
and constitutional law scholar means you're "untested."
White privilege is being able to say that you support the words
"under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough
or the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be
immediately disqualified from holding office, since, after all, the
pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't
added until the 1950s; while believing that reading accused criminals
and terrorists their rights is a dangerous and silly idea only supported
by mushy liberals.
White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not
make people immediately scared of you.
White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member
of an extremist political party that wanted your state to secede from
the union, and whose motto was "Alaska first," and no one questions your
patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse
merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids
on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being
White priv ilege is being able to make fun of community
organizers and the work they do (like among other things, fight for the
right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or
an end to child labor) and people think you're being pithy and tough,
but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and
18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she
took in college, you're somehow being mean, or even sexist.
White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't
even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your
running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket
has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give
your party a "second look."
White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support
your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or
being a typical politician who engages in favoritism , while being black
and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in
Chicago means you must be corrupt.
White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years
whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry, or who merely
criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an
explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring
Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in
speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on
Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a
good church-going Christian. But if you're black and friends with a
black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department
of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign
policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effects on
black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.
White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when
asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for
asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely
refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means
you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and
White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW
has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being
black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it, a
And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could
possible allow someone to become president when they have voted with
George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is
skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and
the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white
voters aren't sure about that whole "change " thing. Ya' know, it's just
too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same,
which is very concrete and certain...
I'm not a racist of anything of the sort...more of a realist and there are definetly concerns that cross my mind...White privilege is a set of advantages and/or immunities that white people benefit from on a daily basis beyond those common to all others. White privilege can exist without white people's conscious knowledge of its presence and it helps to maintain the racial hierarchy in this country.The biggest problem with white privilege is the invisibility it maintains to those who benefit from it most. The inability to recognize that many of the advantages whites hold are a direct result of the disadvantages of other people, contributes to the unwillingness of white people, even those who are not overtly racist, to recognize their part in maintaining and benefiting from its supremacy. It's about thinking that your clothes, manner of speech, and behavior in general, are racially neutral, when, in fact, they are not. It's seeing your image on television daily and knowing that you're being represented. It's people assuming that you lead a constructive life free from crime and off welfare. It's about not having to assume your daily interactions with people may have racial overtones. White privilege is having the freedom and luxury to fight racism one day and ignore it the next. White privilege exists on an individual, cultural, and institutional level.
"Being white means never having to think about it."
This post are just some of my thoughts. They are not meant purposely or to cause hurt but ignorance is not knowing...now you know.