The dirty word. I’m reading an article on Buzzfeed (I know right?) and finding that some of these comments are really helpful in explaining white privilege to white people. Not that they hear it, if they haven’t already decided they have some element of privilege that other people do not enjoy. Anyway, no need for my input. I’m just saving some of these quotes….here.
“Funny thing, when I grew up I thought we were poor, and had a “hard” life. Looking back though I realize I was privileged just to have both parents that gave a shit about my education, and still send me money to help pay for stuff. And even though I didn’t go to a rich school, I still had teachers that could work closely with students, and we had a library, a computer lab, a laptop cart, and even AP classes, and other stuff. Not to mention I can walk by a cop and not be afraid that I’m going to get stopped, or get on a bus and be left a lone and not be told “you’d look prettier with a smile”. And I can hold my girlfriends hand in public and be left alone. The only thing really hard in my life was learning to realize that I didn’t have that bad of a life, and maybe, just maybe, I had a little extra help because of things I had no control over.” -A. Smith
“A quick note on privilige [sic] for those whose feathers it ruffles. Prvilige is unearned, that is not to say that it is undeserved. If, as a man, a potential employer does not ask me if my family duties will effect my job performance that is a privilige. It is a privilige because it a luxury that I enjoy, or more accurately ignore, because of my gender. It is not that I should not be afforded that luxury, simply that I did nothing to earn it that my female counterpoint did not.” -R. Eusebio
“The problem is that privilege is a defined rhetoric in our society: IF you are a white male apparently you are going to be the richest person in the world by association. I mean look at me. I’m a white male so therefore I should be swimming in money Scrooge McDuck (another white male) style.
You look at me and you see that I am white and a male. You automatically believe that I have not had my share of troubles. That I have not had any “hardship” in life because I was born this way. You believe that I have every opportunity to succeed in the world and that the color of my skin and the genitals between my legs predict that I will have no issues leading an easy life.
The definition of privilege is as follows: a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.
I am a male. I have a higher chance of being in thrown in prison for longer sentencing than women for the same crime. I am a male. I have the highest chance of never seeing my kids again if I become divorced. I am a male. I have a shorter life expectancy than women. I am a male. I have a much higher chance of being murdered on the street in a random attack. I am a male. I have a much higher chance of dying on the job because my gender HAS to work the dangerous jobs that women do not apply for. I am a male. Even under the influences of alcohol I am held responsible for every action I take, especially if it is in the same proximity of a drunk or sober woman.
I am white. I have the highest suicide rate of all men and women of any race put together. I am white. I am expected to not only shoulder my problems, but shoulder the problems of minorities of whom have Affirmative Action and other laws that give them special privileges and rights. I am white. I am instantly vilified for my opinion against another person if they of a different color. Their actions dictate what I think of them, but if I do not automatically accept them I am branded a title that tries to shame me into accepting them as a person, even if they have wronged me. Yes, there is privilege in the world, but not one single class has it. Every gender and race has their own set of privileges. We are just too blind as a nation to realize it and paint white men as the monsters.”
Reply to the above: “You have it completely backwards. no one assumes that “because you’re a white male you should be swimming in money.” however, it would be safe to assume that you don’t worry about being targeted by police for “fitting a description”. If you’re in a well-to-do neighborhood, you probably dont have to worry about having someone calling the police on you because you don’t look like you would live in that area. you probably don’t feel the need to always travel in a group just in case someone tries to overpower and take advantage of you. if you’re straight, you dont have to worry about someone attacking you because of who you’re attracted to. if you’re cisgendered, you dont have to worry about being fired or not getting a job because of your gender expression. Youre right when you say “there is privilege in the world, but not one single class has it.” checking your own privilege is not about other people thinking you have it “easy”, it’s about YOU recognizing that other have a struggle that you never even have to think about (which, clearly, you aren’t) because of who they are.” -C. L. Edmond
“It’s more complex than just black or white or poor or rich. It is intersectionality and summation of experiences and recognizing that the kid with only one parent who talks smack about him everyday and doesn’t believe in him is going to have to push himself extra hard to want to finish his homework, while you have already been instilled with the knowledge that you know you can(even though you both have the same intellect) and don’t think twice about not being good enough to care about homework.” – A. Garcia
“I really like that you wrote this, because too many minorities think that if you’re white you’ve automatically had a suburban/middle class/two parents and a dog kind of life. That’ s just not everyone’s reality. And I respect the fact that you’ve had to work to get yourself to a good place, because no one handed it to you. For you, I think where ‘privilege’ would come in is that you were ALLOWED to show that you could work hard. There have been studies that have shown that employers will choose a white man with a high school diploma over a black man with a college degree, even when both have the same experience. Because you’re white, it is assumed that you’re a good, hard working man, just trying to take care of his family. People with brown skin aren’t automatically given that. Black men are rarely assumed to be hard working fathers, trying to provide for their families (no matter how they’re dressed or how well spoken they are).” -C. Bennett
“I have been giving this some more thought, and I saw that a lot of people are still complaining because they think that this means they have to carry someone else’s burden of underprivilege. You could live life in pursuit of your own happiness and not give a single bother about anyone else’s struggle, but that plays into an unfair system, and outdated system, a system that could be changed if every did give a bother. That enforces and encourage a system that your family could suffer in/from. In my opinion, nothing ever gets to be equal, but these are the problems that push our morality and ethics. Aren’t they? Would you help someone while their down if you don’t know them? Would you take the opportunity to help a whole class/race/gender/situation of people? I don’t know. I would. I can’t say it would be wrong not to, and certainly there could be reasonable excuses not to, but they don’t negate the ethical reasons. With or without realizing, this forces you to question your purpose in life and the purpose of life.” -A. Garcia
“A slight understanding of imperialism, colonialism and Western societies’ structure would make the concept of the privileged self-evident. The power force of men over women and caucasian over other nations (in Western countries and many ex-colonies) has been incrusted in History and in societies as a whole. It really isn’t something up for debate, it’s a fact that can be simply verified with depictions of women and darker-skinned cultures historically, socially and in media like advertisement (both in the past and even still today – an example is how darker-skinned people are still fetishized as being exotic to sell whatever). There’s also the fact that various powerful boards that have ridiculously huge influence have an homogenous pool of members. It isn’t hard to grasp for anyone part of this group: it isn’t that you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but that historically people in your group are predominant in the “elite” which decides a societies’ structure (and which ensures it STAYS the elite through said structure). I think the sudden backlash toward “privileged white men” is a result of the increasing realization of that historical fact. But even with our collective increasing open-mindedness (very loose term as ideologies vary greatly across the globe), it doesn’t change the fact that the world’s structure is already in place and that people (or rather groups) in power will stay there as long as our economic model endures. Likewise, perception of groups will stay as is as long as History keeps belittling cultures that aren’t “civilized” (from a modern perspective) and as we keep assimilating them to the capitalist model (as happened with colonization). But there’s so much industrialism the Earth can take before it goes boom.” -D. Herard
As promised, the original post/infographic can be seen on Buzzfeed. Click here to check it out for yourself!