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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 (271-280):
LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Jan. 26, 2013 at 9:05 PM

#48

Wow, is that ever none of my business. After living here 12 years, I still barely know my neighbours, and I'm completely fine with that.

mommajen32
by Platinum Member on Jan. 27, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Your experience is the minority, many States have.aingle digit minority populations...and that is only bc of their major cities.

I am curious what is the race of most business and property owners, public officials, teachers....honest question. Also have you verified the percentage with your city census facts or is it your perception?


Quoting pce68:


Quoting mommajen32:

Most people in the majority may not realize how important those things are...things they take for granted. Now surely folks will come in and tesrify to having a boss that is a minority, or being followed in a store or not having their opinion heard. It's missing the forest. Life is different if you are a religious or ethnic minority.





I ask that folks pause for a moment and imagine America as 80 plus percent black or Hispanic. If everywhere in your life (grocery store, work, television, newspaper, movies, etc...) where you see white people and imagine they are black. How would your life be different, what products would be on the shelves, what about beauty products,

The area I live in is probably very close to being 80% black and Hispanic. Whites are the minority where I live. At my dd's school, there are considerably more blacks, and Hispanics than whites. More of the teachers and administrators are black or Hispanic than white. In the apartment complex, it is rare to see any white people. It is probably more like 85 or 90% black and Hispanic. So I would say their race is fairly well represented around here. Mine, not as much.

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mommajen32
by Platinum Member on Jan. 27, 2013 at 12:40 AM
**sigh**

It's not talking about borrrowing a cup of sugar.

Here's an example, when dh and I were looking for houses there were many many many communities in the area that we had to scratch off of the list. We would be met w/real live hoatility bc people do not want a black or mixes family living in their neighborhood and even town. The schools are 100 percent white....and it's just known. You do not go there you are not welcomed. And certainly we took that into account when buying a house ...even moreso because how our children qould be treated in the neighborhood. The OP has an excellent point...I testify to it. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw my neighbor's biracial.grandkids.

And knowing neighbors is important to me as well. When my uncle.came to town my neighbor came over to find out qho he was...it's a blessing to have someone watch over your house and kids. That's how I was raised.


Quoting LindaClement:

#48

Wow, is that ever none of my business. After living here 12 years, I still barely know my neighbours, and I'm completely fine with that.

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
pce68
by on Jan. 27, 2013 at 12:46 AM

Here's the 2010 census reports, which shows that whites are the minority, but just barely.

   People QuickFactsLawrencevilleGeorgia
Population definition and source infoPopulation, 2011 estimate29,2479,812,460
Population definition and source infoPopulation, 2010 (April 1) estimates base28,5469,687,663
Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1 definition and source infoPopulation, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 20112.5%1.3%
Population definition and source infoPopulation, 201028,5469,687,653
Persons under 5 years, percent definition and source infoPersons under 5 years, percent, 20108.8%7.1%
Persons under 18 years, percent definition and source infoPersons under 18 years, percent, 201029.8%25.7%
Persons 65 years and over, percent definition and source infoPersons 65 years and over, percent, 20109.2%10.7%
Female persons, percent definition and source infoFemale persons, percent, 201052.2%51.2%
 
White persons, percent definition and source infoWhite persons, percent, 2010 (a)48.0%59.7%
Black persons, percent definition and source infoBlack persons, percent, 2010 (a)32.0%30.5%
American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent definition and source infoAmerican Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2010 (a)0.6%0.3%
Asian persons, percent definition and source infoAsian persons, percent, 2010 (a)5.7%3.2%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent definition and source infoNative Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2010 (a)Z0.1%
Persons reporting two or more races, percent definition and source infoPersons reporting two or more races, percent, 20103.4%2.1%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent definition and source infoPersons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2010 (b)22.3%8.8%
White persons not Hispanic, percent definition and source infoWhite persons not Hispanic, percent, 201038.3%55.9%

And here are the 2010 info from one of the high schools in the city:

Total Students (2010 - 2011): 2559
African American: 1077 (42.1%)
American Indian: 18 (0.7%)
Asian: 188 (7.3%)
Hispanic: 694 (27.1%)
Pacific Islander: 3 (0.1%)
Two or more races: 106 (4.1%)
White: 473 (18.5%)
Not Specified:0 (0%)
Fulltime teachers: 146.7
Student/Teacher Ratio: 17.4

Eligible for discounted/free lunch: 71.8% 

Quoting mommajen32:

Your experience is the minority, many States have.aingle digit minority populations...and that is only bc of their major cities.

I am curious what is the race of most business and property owners, public officials, teachers....honest question. Also have you verified the percentage with your city census facts or is it your perception?


Quoting pce68:


Quoting mommajen32:

Most people in the majority may not realize how important those things are...things they take for granted. Now surely folks will come in and tesrify to having a boss that is a minority, or being followed in a store or not having their opinion heard. It's missing the forest. Life is different if you are a religious or ethnic minority.





I ask that folks pause for a moment and imagine America as 80 plus percent black or Hispanic. If everywhere in your life (grocery store, work, television, newspaper, movies, etc...) where you see white people and imagine they are black. How would your life be different, what products would be on the shelves, what about beauty products,

The area I live in is probably very close to being 80% black and Hispanic. Whites are the minority where I live. At my dd's school, there are considerably more blacks, and Hispanics than whites. More of the teachers and administrators are black or Hispanic than white. In the apartment complex, it is rare to see any white people. It is probably more like 85 or 90% black and Hispanic. So I would say their race is fairly well represented around here. Mine, not as much.


mommajen32
by Platinum Member on Jan. 27, 2013 at 1:41 AM
Yup. And I resign that it is beyond me how to articulate that experience. And that is why many ethic minority communities stick to their own groups...nothing to explain, no head banging against brick walls with this stuff. I stuck my head back in for a couple days and it's like, "nah I did not miss this shit"....when you live it it's common sense and part of life, not a theory, not bc the media told you, it's a real part of life from as early as omecan remember. I have little desire to prove the validity of that reality. Folk that get it...rock on...Y'all seriously need to teach other folks. They aren't going to listen to us, we're just the lazy whiney minorities of course. So what role can you play? That is the next step in all of this.

Quoting stringtheory:

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...
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stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Jan. 27, 2013 at 1:53 AM

According to this the majority race group is white.  By 15% over the next most prevalent group.  How are whites the minority?  

ETA  Even if you take out Hispanic people whites are still the majority represented race.  (38%)

Quoting pce68:

Here's the 2010 census reports, which shows that whites are the minority, but just barely.

   People QuickFactsLawrencevilleGeorgia
Population definition and source infoPopulation, 2011 estimate29,2479,812,460
Population definition and source infoPopulation, 2010 (April 1) estimates base28,5469,687,663
Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1 definition and source infoPopulation, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 20112.5%1.3%
Population definition and source infoPopulation, 201028,5469,687,653
Persons under 5 years, percent definition and source infoPersons under 5 years, percent, 20108.8%7.1%
Persons under 18 years, percent definition and source infoPersons under 18 years, percent, 201029.8%25.7%
Persons 65 years and over, percent definition and source infoPersons 65 years and over, percent, 20109.2%10.7%
Female persons, percent definition and source infoFemale persons, percent, 201052.2%51.2%
 
White persons, percent definition and source infoWhite persons, percent, 2010 (a)48.0%59.7%
Black persons, percent definition and source infoBlack persons, percent, 2010 (a)32.0%30.5%
American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent definition and source infoAmerican Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2010 (a)0.6%0.3%
Asian persons, percent definition and source infoAsian persons, percent, 2010 (a)5.7%3.2%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent definition and source infoNative Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2010 (a)Z0.1%
Persons reporting two or more races, percent definition and source infoPersons reporting two or more races, percent, 20103.4%2.1%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent definition and source infoPersons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2010 (b)22.3%8.8%
White persons not Hispanic, percent definition and source infoWhite persons not Hispanic, percent, 201038.3%55.9%

And here are the 2010 info from one of the high schools in the city:

Total Students (2010 - 2011): 2559
African American: 1077 (42.1%)
American Indian: 18 (0.7%)
Asian: 188 (7.3%)
Hispanic: 694 (27.1%)
Pacific Islander: 3 (0.1%)
Two or more races: 106 (4.1%)
White: 473 (18.5%)
Not Specified:0 (0%)
Fulltime teachers: 146.7
Student/Teacher Ratio: 17.4

Eligible for discounted/free lunch: 71.8% 

Quoting mommajen32:

Your experience is the minority, many States have.aingle digit minority populations...and that is only bc of their major cities.

I am curious what is the race of most business and property owners, public officials, teachers....honest question. Also have you verified the percentage with your city census facts or is it your perception?


Quoting pce68:


Quoting mommajen32:

Most people in the majority may not realize how important those things are...things they take for granted. Now surely folks will come in and tesrify to having a boss that is a minority, or being followed in a store or not having their opinion heard. It's missing the forest. Life is different if you are a religious or ethnic minority.





I ask that folks pause for a moment and imagine America as 80 plus percent black or Hispanic. If everywhere in your life (grocery store, work, television, newspaper, movies, etc...) where you see white people and imagine they are black. How would your life be different, what products would be on the shelves, what about beauty products,

The area I live in is probably very close to being 80% black and Hispanic. Whites are the minority where I live. At my dd's school, there are considerably more blacks, and Hispanics than whites. More of the teachers and administrators are black or Hispanic than white. In the apartment complex, it is rare to see any white people. It is probably more like 85 or 90% black and Hispanic. So I would say their race is fairly well represented around here. Mine, not as much.



lucky2785
by Member on Jan. 27, 2013 at 2:00 AM
1 mom liked this
Then there is no need for any cultural/race/sex divided class. Oh I forgot, I'm white I'm automatically a racist, a bigot, and wrong. Anytime I try to defend the color if my skin from racial assumptions I'm being intolerant. And another thing this article confuses race has NOTHING to do with culture. I'm white, but my ethnicity is Romanian Hungarian. My culture is different than that of a white person who is Irish. Same with other races as well.


Quoting AdellesMom:

There's no need for a "white history class." The article isn't pointless or smut. But, you probably don't even realize that you've proven the article to be true with your response.



Quoting lucky2785:

I'm mad I wasted my time reading that. For each "point made" I can think of circumstances to contradict that. A lot of it is more income based, my husband is military so we are low income. Maybe that lifestyle has caused me to me to see it different than this. One thing that struck a dumb nerve-about going to school and finding a class to represent my culture- when have you ever heard of a white history class or white cultural studies? Pointless smut article.

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AdellesMom
by on Jan. 27, 2013 at 2:09 AM
LOL! I have no clue why you're being overly sensitive.

You want to know why there's African American history classes? So people can learn how Blacks contributed to this country. Sadly, history classes put little to no emphasis on the contributions that Blacks have to founding this nation.

For a black person, race and culture are the same. For the most part, Blacks can't trace their heritage. So, we have Black Culture. You know your heritage, I don't. I don't know what tribe my ancestors came from. All I know is that they came from Africa, and a man name Charles was forced over here on a slave ship in 1825. That's all I know as far as tracing my black roots. Many blacks can't even trace their linage that far back.

So, it's not the same for other races. Maybe for whites, which is another example of white privilege, but definitely not for blacks.

What you're failing to realize is that the bulk of history classes are "white history" classes. So, classes that focused on AA history became popular. Besides, there are classes that talk about Irish, German, Italian, etc, heritages.


Quoting lucky2785:

Then there is no need for any cultural/race/sex divided class. Oh I forgot, I'm white I'm automatically a racist, a bigot, and wrong. Anytime I try to defend the color if my skin from racial assumptions I'm being intolerant. And another thing this article confuses race has NOTHING to do with culture. I'm white, but my ethnicity is Romanian Hungarian. My culture is different than that of a white person who is Irish. Same with other races as well.




Quoting AdellesMom:

There's no need for a "white history class." The article isn't pointless or smut. But, you probably don't even realize that you've proven the article to be true with your response.





Quoting lucky2785:

I'm mad I wasted my time reading that. For each "point made" I can think of circumstances to contradict that. A lot of it is more income based, my husband is military so we are low income. Maybe that lifestyle has caused me to me to see it different than this. One thing that struck a dumb nerve-about going to school and finding a class to represent my culture- when have you ever heard of a white history class or white cultural studies? Pointless smut article.

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pce68
by on Jan. 27, 2013 at 9:05 AM

I meant to say that whites are the majority. Sorry. But in the actual neighborhood that I live in, and the school that my dd goes to, whites are definitely the minority.

Quoting stacymomof2:

According to this the majority race group is white.  By 15% over the next most prevalent group.  How are whites the minority?  

ETA  Even if you take out Hispanic people whites are still the majority represented race.  (38%)

Quoting pce68:

Here's the 2010 census reports, which shows that whites are the minority, but just barely.

   People QuickFactsLawrencevilleGeorgia
Population definition and source infoPopulation, 2011 estimate29,2479,812,460
Population definition and source infoPopulation, 2010 (April 1) estimates base28,5469,687,663
Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1 definition and source infoPopulation, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 20112.5%1.3%
Population definition and source infoPopulation, 201028,5469,687,653
Persons under 5 years, percent definition and source infoPersons under 5 years, percent, 20108.8%7.1%
Persons under 18 years, percent definition and source infoPersons under 18 years, percent, 201029.8%25.7%
Persons 65 years and over, percent definition and source infoPersons 65 years and over, percent, 20109.2%10.7%
Female persons, percent definition and source infoFemale persons, percent, 201052.2%51.2%
 
White persons, percent definition and source infoWhite persons, percent, 2010 (a)48.0%59.7%
Black persons, percent definition and source infoBlack persons, percent, 2010 (a)32.0%30.5%
American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent definition and source infoAmerican Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2010 (a)0.6%0.3%
Asian persons, percent definition and source infoAsian persons, percent, 2010 (a)5.7%3.2%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent definition and source infoNative Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2010 (a)Z0.1%
Persons reporting two or more races, percent definition and source infoPersons reporting two or more races, percent, 20103.4%2.1%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent definition and source infoPersons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2010 (b)22.3%8.8%
White persons not Hispanic, percent definition and source infoWhite persons not Hispanic, percent, 201038.3%55.9%

And here are the 2010 info from the high school that my dd will attend next year.

Total Students (2010 - 2011): 2559
African American: 1077 (42.1%)
American Indian: 18 (0.7%)
Asian: 188 (7.3%)
Hispanic: 694 (27.1%)
Pacific Islander: 3 (0.1%)
Two or more races: 106 (4.1%)
White: 473 (18.5%)
Not Specified:0 (0%)
Fulltime teachers: 146.7
Student/Teacher Ratio: 17.4

Eligible for discounted/free lunch: 71.8% 

Quoting mommajen32:

Your experience is the minority, many States have.aingle digit minority populations...and that is only bc of their major cities.

I am curious what is the race of most business and property owners, public officials, teachers....honest question. Also have you verified the percentage with your city census facts or is it your perception?


Quoting pce68:


Quoting mommajen32:

Most people in the majority may not realize how important those things are...things they take for granted. Now surely folks will come in and tesrify to having a boss that is a minority, or being followed in a store or not having their opinion heard. It's missing the forest. Life is different if you are a religious or ethnic minority.





I ask that folks pause for a moment and imagine America as 80 plus percent black or Hispanic. If everywhere in your life (grocery store, work, television, newspaper, movies, etc...) where you see white people and imagine they are black. How would your life be different, what products would be on the shelves, what about beauty products,

The area I live in is probably very close to being 80% black and Hispanic. Whites are the minority where I live. At my dd's school, there are considerably more blacks, and Hispanics than whites. More of the teachers and administrators are black or Hispanic than white. In the apartment complex, it is rare to see any white people. It is probably more like 85 or 90% black and Hispanic. So I would say their race is fairly well represented around here. Mine, not as much.




aspiemomalways
by Member on Jan. 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Well, then I guess she hasnt lived in the south were being white means being treated differently.  At least that is how it is where I live.  If you are of a different race, whether black, hispanic, oriental you are treated much better than being white.  I live just above the poverty line and when I went to apply for food stamps I was looked down upon and treated unfairly not once, not twice but numerous times all because I was white. 

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