White privilege is a term that has been around for quite a while but current events have brought it roaring back. White privilege means that white people, either directly or indirectly, have benefitted from the systematic minimization of black people and other minorities. Whites in this country have the freedom to move around, buy things, work, play and speak freely (even argumentatively) without fear of retribution that black people do not enjoy. Just like the coronavirus, cancer, or heart disease, white privilege can’t easily be seen, but it is there.

You may say that, “No, I have not done that. I have nothing against minorities.” But I say that if you simply go on with your tidy life and pity those “other” people because you think you are smarter or have worked harder than them to reach your middle-class place in society, then you should think again.

Consider this: Do you look back fondly on your childhood? Did your school seem to have everything it needed? Did you have the opportunity to go to college if you wanted whether you followed that path or not? Did you have some help from friends or family to land that first job? Did the ability to go to college or trade school lead to that first job? Did you have help qualifying for that mortgage you needed to buy your first home? Did a policeman give you a break on that stupid thing you did as a teenager? If you get pulled over for speeding, do you feel confident nothing bad will happen?

If you answered yes to most of these, or even just some of these, then you are the beneficiary of white privilege. How do I know? Because most black people cannot answer yes to any of these questions. And because they can’t, it weighs down their lives in ways whites can’t begin to imagine. One black friend told me it’s like pulling along a 10-pound weight everywhere you go with no chance of getting rid of it.

Growing up in rural western Maryland, I didn’t get to know many black people until I began my career in publishing and associations in the early 80’s. I’ve mostly worked in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas (60 percent and 50 percent black respectively). Plus, I’ve also spent a considerable amount of time in most major U.S. cities. Because of my work situation, I got to know many black people. In fact, as I think about it, I’ve worked side by side with many more black people than whites over the years.

After a steep learning curve, I can say without hesitation that my black work colleagues turned out to be some of my favorites. They had the same work concerns as you or I. The same desire to do well and make a solid contribution. One thing they had that I didn’t have was the deeply ingrained need to always be “on.” They couldn’t afford to coast during a meeting or turn work in late. No, that would be professional suicide and only the whites could get away with that. I shake my head now because I remember not being prepared for some meetings and turning work in late. Nothing bad ever happened to me, and more importantly, I never had to worry that something bad would happen to me. That peace of mind at work is white privilege.

My black colleagues had many personal concerns that I was not privy to. More than once I overheard their anguished complaints over the safety of their children, the lack of resources in their schools, the lack of jobs for their friends, not feeling safe when taking a walk in their own neighborhood or driving while black in the wrong neighborhood. Things I take for granted. It’s easy to blow this off as exaggeration, but as I grew to learn, they were not exaggerating. Even so, they considered themselves the lucky ones. Their neighbor, with just as much talent as them, couldn’t find a decent job or get their kids into a better school. None of them wanted a hand out or even a hand up as the saying goes. They simply wanted white folks to just give them a chance. That is white privilege, too — the lack of undue personal obstacles in your way.

I learned this lesson, but it bothers me that many can’t or won’t. Those that remain sheltered in their overwhelmingly white communities will never be able to learn this first-hand. They’ll have to work harder to educate themselves, but I don’t see a lot of evidence of that. You have to understand the concept of white privilege before you can begin to understand Black Lives Matter.

(47) comments

jsklinelga

I saw a post by an old friend on FB. It featured this article. When we grew up there was no question that Caucasians enjoyed a more privileged place in society. And that has been prevalent in society since but less and less for each generation.

Terms like "white privilege" and "white supremacy" do not stem the tide of racism but fan the flames. As Francesca post points out it is not an automatic free ride for people just because they are white. Success takes work Nor is it automatic that black people are going to be discriminated against in society, education or job prospects.

Attacking people is only going to fuel anger. My only true privilege in this life came from my socio-economic background. Over 50% of African American children experience poverty. One glaring reason is an astounding 75% of African Americans grow up in a single parent household. That has nothing to do with privilege. That is a cultural phenomena which helps perpetuate the cycle of poverty

Tearing down statues,;destroying property and businesses is not going to help fight discrimination. Attacking people for the color of their skin only perpetuates division. Systemic racism is only going to be overcome by cultural changes and that is not something that can be given but must be earned..

awteam2000

It’s not Black peoples fault that you equal them as “less then“ you. Regardless of economic status, or being brought up in a single parent household, doesn’t excuse not treating people humanely, putting one’s knee on a fellow humans neck for 8:46 minutes. Who does that? 🤷‍♂️ That’s a cultural phenomena that allows police to treat minorities as less then human, It’s an extension of inherent perceptions of “Blacks”.

Like Francesca, you are blinded by “inherent perceptions”, you think you are special based on “self”, but you are not. It’s your white privilege that’s your special gift . Other then being “White”, you are pretty ordinary.

A Black person’s black skin is theirs from birth to death. There is no escaping being prejudged simply by color as less, at first sight, having to prove not a threat to you, looked at as less worthy. it’s your racist perceptions of Blacks that’s the problem. “Black Lives Matter”.

You are the one’s in need of a change.

doitforahobby

Remember this, Black people are racist too.

public-redux

When he said that his only true privilege came from his SES, I understood him to mean being white, being male, being heterosexual, being raised in one of the Christian religions, and not being born into a poor family. Do you think he meant something else?

francesca_easa

AW, you have gone too far with your comments and accusations towards others. Especially when you label any Caucasian as privileged and racist, and don't consider other sides of the situation. To say "Other then being 'White' you are pretty ordinary" is just disrespectful. Many here do accept that there are legitimate concerns coming from the black population. And they need to be considered and action taken to correct the wrongs. But as JSK has pointed out, there are other factors at play that cannot be blamed on white people. Maybe we should be liked the Masked Singer. Wear a costume, try out for a sports team, performance group, interview for a job or compete for an award and be judged on your merits. Once a decision has been made, then you can take off your mask. Your appearance and skin color will not be a factor. Only your merits.

shiftless88

jsk: would you agree that you do not have to worry about finding a noose in your work place? Black people do have to worry about that. This is one aspect of white privilege. Black people deal with things that you likely have no idea about. You are viewing "privilege" as economic rather than social. Did you take that implicit bias test yet?

jsklinelga

shiftless88

They need to find that person who placed that noose and level every possible charge against them possible and make it stick. There are still plenty of white racists as there are also black racists. But they are a minority.

AW called me a racist and said I needed to change. If it could be proven I would wager I have done more to fight racism than they have but it is a worthless argument..

One thing for certain their accusatory rant did not help anything. What is going to change the life prospects for an African American baby born in the inner city in 2020? That is the real question, Will violent protests? Will accusing the majority of the population of being inherently evil? Will defunding the police make their neighborhoods more secure?

awteam2000

JSK, a good start for you, so not to be seen as “racist”: You may want to start by trying to see them as “us”, a fellow human being, rather then “them”, they’re the problem, the African American problem.🤦‍♂️

shiftless88

jsk; of course not everyone is racist but the point is once again; have you ever had to be concerned about finding a noose in your workplace? Or anything scrawled on the wall about white trash or whatever? It is fairly common for black people to experience this sort of thing. That they have to worry about it and we do not is part of our white privilege. Again, have you taken the Implicit Bias test?

shiftless88

jsk; one thing you could do, since you are not a racist and understand that your experience is not the same as the experience of people of color, is actually BELIEVE them when they describe their experiences. See how easy that is? When they tell you about the systemic issues they have, believe them. Piece of cake. Your first steps.

phydeaux994

jsk, once again I will post the Dictionary definition of Racist. From your comments today and in the past, you obviously believe that your race “White” is superior to the “Black” race. That is the ONLY official definition that I am aware of. aw believes, as I do, that you fit that description.....

rac·ist

/ˈrāsəst/

noun

a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another....

As you can see by this definition, anyone of any race can be a Racist. So the fact that you are a Racist has been proven. I would also contend that 400 years of discrimination, lack of opportunity to get a good education or a decent job or all of the things White people take for granted, is the major cause of Black poverty.

shiftless88

Everyone should watch the documentary "13th" to understand systemic oppression of black people in our not-that-distant history

francesca_easa

Perhaps the real problem is economic disparities. I grew up in a 3 bedroom house, with 5 kids and 1 bathroom. We took turns on who could play sports or take music lessons because my parents could not foot the bill for 5 kids all at once. I helped my parents by watching my younger siblings after school and then started working after school at age 13. Even bought the family a TV at Christmas because we didn't have one. I raised two kids as a single parent, but couldn't have done it without the support of my parents, other parents and coaches. I worked a full time job and part time job for 2 years and saved $11,000 to purchase a home. Do I consider myself privileged? D*mn right because I was born in this country and earned it. It wasn't always easy, but i am thankful for what I have. I didn't step on anyone's toes, slept with anyone or took advantage of anyone to get to where I am. Everyone has their own story and struggles. We need to quit blaming each other and move on. All of us matter.

phydeaux994

“Black Lives Matter” believes that you Matter f_e as well as everyone born on this Earth. Their objective is for you and all of the White race to believe that their lives matter too, which is obviously not the case judging from comments right here on this Forum. The problem is f_e, that most Black people have never had access to the education and jobs that you had to earn your success. That’s known as “White Privilege”. Black people don’t have all the things you take for granted and never have.

phydeaux994

bosco Jun 22, 2020 12:16pm

How did things go in Chicago over the weekend? 20 blacks, including a toddler, killed by other blacks. Where is the outcry?

How did things go in the Seattle "Summer of Love" CHOP zone over the weekend? One young black man shot and killed, one shot and in critical condition, and one stabbed and left for dead.

Just sayin'

shiftless88

White Privilege is never having to worry about finding a noose in your workplace.

jsklinelga

boscp

In earlier comments you said you grew up in a mixed race family. Just curious about the mixed race. Who was what? I think knowing that would give a better insight into your perspective.

bosco

Personally, I resent the liberal's use of the term "White Privilege" because it further labels and divides us by calling attention to the color if our skin. More identity politics. We need to be more inclusive than exclusive. [ninja]

Greg F

Liberals...yeah...whatever. If you don’t agree with it, it’s got to be a liberal conspiracy...and you’re also exempt from it. 🤡

shiftless88

Recognition of the privileges that white people have is PART of the process of becoming inclusive. That is what so many people like you cannot seem to grasp.

bosco

I guess I don't get it, shiftless88, but I try. I try to treat everyone as I would want to be treated - regardless of race. That has served me in every country I've had the privilege to explore. I met an Aboriginal man on the street in Alice Springs and extended a greeting. We ended up sharing a hour under a shade tree before we shook hands and parted. Had I not greeted him, I never would have had the honor of learning about his culture, nor he mine. There are good people in the world and I try to be one.[ninja]

bosco

Sorry you feel that way, Fido. You are the master of divisiveness and projection of your own prejudices onto others to self valuate your own inadequacies. You don't know me and you don't know my journey, and yet you have drawn conclusions to further your opportunities to spread hate and vitriol. Sad.

What have you done today to make the world a better place?

[ninja]

phydeaux994

I’m only going by the comments you make bosco. Hundreds of them over time. Not one, I repeat, not one with any support or empathy for ANY people of color. Or for anyone that expresses support or empathy for minorities I.e. “Libs”. And especially not one acknowledging the 400 years and counting that Black people have been discriminated against, lynched, murdered, kept isolated in the inner cities with inferior education, menial jobs, horrible housing, and no hope of it EVER getting better. If you were a “good person” you wouldn’t be a RRR(RadicalRightRepublican). It’s that simple.

threecents

I never felt Bosco was racist, but that he sometimes pretends to be so he can provoke liberals and fit in better with his friends. (He might be a closet social liberal.)

shiftless88

bosco; thank you for your considered response to a touchy subject. I am not an expert but I don't believe that "white privilege" is how you treat others, it is how you are treated by society. In our society it is rare for a white person to have a decision about him (conscious or not) with race as a consideration. For a black person or other people of color, it is relatively common. Have you taken the Implicit Bias test? You should do so, just for fun: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

DickD

It was a privilege or you could just say racism. Would t that suit you better?

MD1756

Shiftless, out of curiosity I just took the test and I'm surprised (to some degree) by the results. I also disagree with the results to some degree. The site categorized me as a strong preference for white over black and it seemed to be based all on timing. I don't doubt that I have some implicit preference for white over black, but I don't think it is a strong preference because generally speaking I don't care about someone's skin color or culture. I suspect my results were impacted by timing which was unrelated to the questions. For example, at some point I got tired of squinting at the pictures to try to determine who I was looking at. It appears that the way they did the rating, I must have taken the time to adjust my screen when there was a photo of a black person on the screen which would have skewed the results. I also had trouble assigning good or bad to certain words (even though I got them all right it took me some time to decide) because they really aren't good or bad but but simply are. For example, pain may feel bad but it can actually be good, so how do you classify it? I was tempted to say good because pain can prevent you from doing things that may be bad for you, but I thought about it and finally decided that whoever designed the test probably wasn't thinking that way. Same could be said for yucky and some other words ... yucky can prevent you from eating something poisonous and that is actually good. Also because of the [poor] quality of the pictures, I had to frequently pause to determine white or black (to me there were a couple that could have gone either way without seeing the picture in color and without seeing the entire face). I think more important than implicit bias is recognizing that we all probably have it to some degree and don't act upon it, but wait until one has more information. In other words don't act on impressions based on first sight but only act upon impressions after you've come to know someone. That way any implicit bias is moderated more by fact instead of impression. Treat all people as individuals and it is hard to go wrong.

shiftless88

MD; that is the entire concept of implicit bias. Sure, when you have a moment to think about it you can correct your implicit bias but when you don't have time to think, like you are piling out of a police car and see someone who might or might not be a kid holding what might or might not be a toy guns, implicit bias plays a huge role (and is likely why that black kid with the toy gun got shot almost as soon as the police arrived on the scene).

MD1756

Shiftlless, you are now getting into a different issue. Biased or not, I don't believe police should be shooting with deadly force first, at anyone. If that is one's first reaction they probably should not be on the police force. They should be prepared to use other tools first. I also don't believe they should be emptying their clips unless they are shooting at that many different criminals. The goal (if you have to shoot) should be one shot one hit. I do believe on being tough on criminals but that is only after they are convicted by a court (and when I sit on a jury, I have a pretty high standard for proof of wrong doing to judge someone guilty).

MD1756

Retest showed only a slight preference which is what I would have originally expected. The second test didn't use pictures but used drawings that were easily distinguished. I had no hesitations due to adjusting the screen settings, the only hesitations were word recognition (I do better with numbers) and associating them with the correct key I was supposed to hit. So, with an unscientifically valid sample size, I judge this test as prone to a large margin of error and somewhat low confidence level.

jsklinelga

bosco

You are involved in a futile discussion. Posts like phys are ridiculous. As Morgan Freeman said (paraphrase) If you want to stop racism stop calling white people white and black people black. (And many associate him with the voice of God)

And the privileges laid out by the writer, in 2020, seem to be privileges of a middle class person. Many poor white people face the same problems as the poor black.person. There is just a greater majority of poorer blacks which is the real heart of the issue. It is not white privilege in 2020 but socio-economic privilege.

shiftless88

jsk; why is it that shortly after you railed against posts here that do not address the topic and use disparaging remarks, you write a post that is not about the topic and disparage fellow commenters?

shiftless88

Have you bothered looking at the myriad of studies that show bias against blacks? Not by everyone, but basically every black has felt the sting. Few whites have.

bosco

Shiftless88, thanks for the reference about the implicit bias test. The next time I have my laptop warmed up, I'll take it and see what it says. In the meantime, I have found people so quick to play the race card are likely closet racists themselves. Don't forget that the person who looks behind the door when entering a room has hidden there in the past.

People like that can rarely answer the question about what have they done today to make the world a better place. I recently asked that question of a neighbor who quickly responded that he took a bag with him and picked up roadside trash on his daily walk.

[ninja]

bosco

I think you are spot on, jsklinelga, posters like Fido and Doctor Fed Up GregF are best ignored. I must try harder to do so in the future.

Live long and prosper🖖

[ninja]

phydeaux994

jsk, is Racism the reason for the Great Divide or is it not?? Before you answer, if you answer, consider the ongoing happenings that started 3 weeks ago. I talk about Race because RACISM is what is tearing our Country apart. If we continue to ignore Racism, to deny Racism, to tolerate Racism, we cannot survive, as the last 5 years has proven. Donald John Trump has exposed the TRUTH. He has, with the help of Vladimir Putin, found Americas Achilles Heel and exploited it to decimate the Constitution and the Rule of Law for his own sick reasons. Don’t just tell me I’m wrong, tell me WHY I’m wrong jsk, bosco, anybody. I’m listening. This is NOT the same U.S. of A it was 5 years ago. Do you want to fix it or not?

threecents

LoL Bosco. What would you like us to call it? Please give us a term for the advantages we white people have that does not hurt your feelings.

DickD

Coming from a very rural county in what is truly upstate New York we had no blacks. There was no white privilege as we were all white. .When we wrestled Nyack, New York it was a new experience for us as they had blacks on their team. .

Many years later I worked in D.C

and hired blacks. At the time I was working for a trade association and some of our best employees were Black. All of the attorneys were White, same as the management.

Dwasserba

As a child we moved from Pittsburgh (interacial) to smalltown upstate PA (not) where we were immediately accepted into all forms of social interaction. An example of white privilege is never questioning how differently this might have gone in that era (sixties) in that place if we weren't so very white.

DickD

I knew I could get jobs Blacks couldn't. It was just the way it was and it was White Privilege.

Greg F

Grew up in a primarily white state and also spent time way upstate NY also. Worked with minorities of all sorts and friends with a number of them. Was as down as out as it gets and worked my @zz off to get where I am now. Never felt privileged nor had anyone ever act like I was. Got no handouts from anyone. Also wouldn’t know ancestry includes a minority that was heavily persecuted from in the Arctic regions either. Never pulled that out either and waived it around claiming some sort of grievance either.

bosco

DickD, I grew up in a mixed race family in a mixed race neighborhood in the south. We were all poor, so we didn't know any different. I was blessed with family and teachers who would not accept any excuse, including socio-econimic status or complexion for not doing our best. Education helped many of us on the road to successful lives. Never used race, color, or creed as an excuse or as a foot in the door. This is a great country where one can achieve anything you want if you apply yourself. Or you can layabout and wait - but that doesn't get you very far.

[ninja]

DickD

We didn't have much either, but we were happy. Everyone was treated the same and if you did anything wrong, you heard about it.

shiftless88

If you can achieve anything you want, why aren't you a billionaire sitting on your own private island sipping pina coladas?

MD1756

Shiftless, being a billionaire sipping pina coladas is not what everyone wants. I could have kept working but retired early because I valued my time more than money. I could have earned more money if I went back to the private sector (Worked in the private sector before working 27 years at the US EPA), but I valued the mission of the EPA and the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance more than I did money. I could have taken more vacations but I valued saving money for and buying solar, geothermal and a plug-in hybrid over globe trotting for personal amusement. I valued being part of the environmental solution (also by choosing not to have children to add to the 7.8 billion and growing human population) rather than being part of the problem. I have achieved what I wanted including working for environmental causes (including helping disadvantaged communities fight site specific violations of federal regulations by large corporations) for free rather than work for money. Mrs M, I'll cut you off at the pass this time before you can say your glad I haven't had any children, and ask what you have done for the environment, planet, other species or disadvantaged communities?

shiftless88

MD; sounds great! I did not have my own children for the same reason and keep working for similar reasons. BUT, in the most ideal situation wouldn't you have earned $5B by the age of 25 and then done all these other things more effectively having resources to do so? I mean bosco claims anyone can achieve anything they want.

MD1756

When you put it that way, I suppose I would and would then donate probably all but about 2 million (keeping the $2 million to ensure I had enough to live out the rest of my life). In any event when I do kick the bucket, I want my money to go to causes I believe in and not the various levels of government.

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