Ah, my good old friend - White Privilege. Unfortunately, too many people have been subjected to this friend's presence. And, too many people have never even heard of this legendary idea. That's too bad, because we all have to deal with it. It's the house guest that was never invited, never leaves, and is also the elephant in the room. As an aspiring anti-racist and multicultural life liver, white privilege has been something I've known about for years and years. It's taken some time to truly understand it, but I had at least heard of it, knew I needed to know it, and have been working to introduce it to others.
Most folks (hopefully) are hip to Peggy McIntosh's "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack". If you aren't, it's a "gotta read." Or, really, a "stop what you're doing and gotta read it now" deal. Want someone more current, get hip to Tim Wise's work. While he's been out there a long time, people recently started to get on to him with an essay that's gone viral (nice job, Tim!). I'm finally hearing people mention his name (even though he's spoken at hundreds of schools and organizations, has a great blog, and written a handful of powerful books).
There are entire blogs out there just about white privilege, and mine certainly isn't one dedicated to it. But, as white privilege is the flipside of discrimination, it's a must-talk-about in all diversity circles.
So, a few interesting stories about white privilege that I've experienced in the past few weeks:
There have been a couple of other messages out there about white privilege and the election (of course). So, one was forwaded to me the other day at work comparing and contrasting the "get out of jail free" cards that McCain and Palin get while the Obamas get slammed. I won't go into all the details here, but they are obvious enough to figure out.
A friend of mine had forwarded to me, and I simply responded with, "Hurray for white privilege!" (sarcastic, of course). She then emailed me back and wrote, "I don't think it has anything to do with white privilege -- they would have done the same things to John Kerry and Hilary Clinton." I didn't respond via email, rather, I snarked and said aloud, "Like I said.... Hurray for white privilege." Yes, the friend is a white woman... with enough privilege to be able to negate that the freebies McCain/Palin were getting weren't based on race. Yup. White privilege. Let me introduce you, shall I?
I've written before about how a dark-skinned Puerto Rican friend of mine got nailed for wearing a "Got Privilege?" shirt in public. A white woman came up to him and began criticizing him for wearing it and even went as far to say, "How would you like it if I wore a 'Got Affirmative Action?' shirt??" Uh, huh. It's too good to even lie about that stuff.
This entry wasn't so much to digest White Privilege, but hopefully to get you to click on some links and check out other people's thoughts and such. Feel free to leave you're own here, too!