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S/O 50 Examples of White Privilege in Daily Life

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50 Examples of White Privilege in Daily Life

Those who believe the U.S. has achieved a color-blind society, or that racism is no longer an issue in American society ought to read some of Peggy McIntosh's reflections on race.  "White privilege" is often invisible, and often denied, but there is little doubt that it exists, she observed. Reflecting on it explodes the myth of meritocracy, and "the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all."

"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group," she wrote. As a white person, she "had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.... I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was 'meant' to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.  Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable."

She goes on to describe the "daily effects of white privilege" that "as far as I can tell, my African American co-workers, friends and acquaintances...cannot count on most of these conditions."

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.

17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.

25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.

26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.

47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.

49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.

50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life

Thoughts

by on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:59 PM
Replies (11-20):
AdellesMom
by on Jan. 24, 2013 at 11:20 PM
3 moms liked this
Great read.

It's sad that the people that NEED to read it most likely won't.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
mama3814
by Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:25 AM
2 moms liked this

 It seems that some people tend to forget that it's only been a few decades since segregation ended. I've seen comments both on CM and other websites stating that slavery ended 150 years ago. They seem to forget that slavery was replaced with things like peonage, convict leasing, black codes and Jim Crow.

There's a book called Slavery by Another Name written by Douglas A. Blackmon that covers the topic of what really happened after slavery ended. For anyone interested, here's a link to see the documentary version www.pbs.org/tpt/slavery-by-another-name.


 

Quoting mommajen32:

How would you feel? What if you also lived in the legacy only a few decades removed from segregation? How would life be different?


 

aShaShA
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:31 AM

 Great read.

Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:31 AM

Thank you.

Quoting mama3814:

 It seems that some people tend to forget that it's only been a few decades since segregation ended. I've seen comments both on CM and other websites stating that slavery ended 150 years ago. They seem to forget that slavery was replaced with things like peonage, convict leasing, black codes and Jim Crow.

There's a book called Slavery by Another Name written by Douglas A. Blackmon that covers the topic of what really happened after slavery ended. For anyone interested, here's a link to see the documentary version www.pbs.org/tpt/slavery-by-another-name.


 

Quoting mommajen32:

How would you feel? What if you also lived in the legacy only a few decades removed from segregation? How would life be different?





aShaShA
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:33 AM

 


Quoting mommajen32:

How would you feel? What if you also lived in the legacy only a few decades removed from segregation? How would life be different?


 

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:40 AM
2 moms liked this

 the people that need to read and understand this....wont. 

diaperstodating
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Great read.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
stringtheory
by Gold Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:42 AM
5 moms liked this
The problem with the privileged, is that they may not recognize this as a list of privileges. This is why they huff and puff at having to be politically correct, and will consider anyone pointing out any one of these issues as a problem, someone who is "pulling the race card." It is a very difficult concept to articulate to those who feel that equality is turning them into a persecuted minority. If one is willing, she may be able to step out of her comfort zone and not immediately dismiss this list based on her anecdotal life experience...
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
aShaShA
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:45 AM

 

 

Quoting Momniscient:

Thank you.

Quoting mama3814:

 It seems that some people tend to forget that it's only been a few decades since segregation ended. I've seen comments both on CM and other websites stating that slavery ended 150 years ago. They seem to forget that slavery was replaced with things like peonage, convict leasing, black codes and Jim Crow.

There's a book called Slavery by Another Name written by Douglas A. Blackmon that covers the topic of what really happened after slavery ended. For anyone interested, here's a link to see the documentary version www.pbs.org/tpt/slavery-by-another-name.


 

Quoting mommajen32:

How would you feel? What if you also lived in the legacy only a few decades removed from segregation? How would life be different?

 

 


Slavery by Another Name

Official Selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival


Slavery by Another Name is a 90-minute documentary that challenges one of Americans' most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of masters. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor lasted well into the 20th century.

For most Americans this is entirely new history. Slavery by Another Name gives voice to the largely forgotten victims and perpetrators of forced labor and features their descendants living today.

 

 

mama3814
by Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:49 AM

To be honest, that's why I usually don't reply to the posts. The very people saying we need to "educate ourselves," are the ones who won't take the time to learn anything. Why not have an open mind, and challenge what you've always been told. I knew back in my high school AP History class that something was missing. The narrative we were being taught was incomplete.

I noticed the negative response you got when you challenged the U.S. History narrative. I think one lady stated that since you're in Australia, that you couldn't possibly know anything about U.S. History. Unbelievable.
 

Quoting turtle68:

 the people that need to read and understand this....wont. 

 

 

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