WhAt Is White Privilege?
“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group”
- Peggy McIntosh "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"
The following section provides resources to explore the concepts of 'white privilege', 'white supremacy', and 'whiteness'. Conversations on racial justice often include a discussion on these very prickly and controversial terms because of the central role they have in reproducing racism generation after generation. These are not easy conversations to have and unfortunately, kid gloves (as soft and pretty as they are) won't ease it along. The materials below are not all easy to take in. And that's ok! So feel free to read a couple of sections and reflect before moving on.
We encourage you to take a look at the article "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo to learn more about triggered feelings of anger, fear, guilt, and defensive behaviors like argumentation, blaming the victim, justifying inequality, and silence when talking about race.
White privilege is simply the benefits "white" people recieve for being at the top of the racial heirarchy.
White privilege is NOT white supremacy. Instead, we have white privilege because of white supremacy.
White privilege does NOT mean you don't face other barriers to access and opportunities in our society. As a white person you may also belong to other historically marginalized groups like being a woman, being LGBTQIA, being non-Christian, being an immigrant or descendant of immigrants, or having a disability or low-income status.
White privilege does NOT mean you have had everything handed to you on a silver platter, had it "easy", and nothing you have was earned.
White privilege is NOT something you can just give up. It's a central part of our society and until we take down white supremacy, white privilege will continue to exist. You can "check" your white privilege, meaning you can recognize when it's at work in your life and use your privilege to support racial justice advocacy.
White privilege also does NOT mean you personally did anything "bad" or "wrong" in order to get those benefits.
White privilege does NOT mean you or your ancestors owned slaves, personally killed indigenous people and stole land, colonized half the world, or waged wars. But white people are part of a system that benefited from these actions, just as people of color were disenfranchised by these same actions. We are not mindless slaves of history, but we are impacted by it and we must learn it and understand it in order too make sure we don't repeat it.
Whiteness Project is an interactive investigation into how Americans who identify as white, or partially white, understand and experience their race.