Sunday, November 13, 2016

White Privilege

Having White Privilege does not mean that everything in your life is perfect. I've seen a lot of people reject the idea of white privilege because they have also face difficulties or disadvantages in their life, it feels like white privilege means that you haven't faced any problems. It doesn't. White privilege means that those of us who are white benefit from institutionalized racism. We are more likely to get hired, less likely to unfairly punished or stopped by the police or arrested, we see representations of ourselves in media, and the list goes on and on. Saying we have white privilege does not invalidate anything else that we struggle with; we can still experience white privilege while having other issues. For example, let's say that white person says that they are not privileged because they have depression. Now, having depression sucks. No argument there. But a white person who has depression still has white privilege, because someone of a different race who also has depression would be treated differently. A black person who has depression is likely to face more discrimination when trying to access resources to help with their depression, they are less likely to find a counselor who fully understands what they are going through, and they are more likely to face hiring discrimination, workplace discrimination, and housing discrimination, among other things. Saying that you have white privilege does not invalidate the fact that you have depression or any other issue - it does not mean that every individual white person has a better life than every individual person of color. It means that with all other things being the same, if you and a person of color were in the exact same situation, you would be treated better because you are white.

I have white privilege, and it's in everything I do. I talk all the time about how school ruined my life and college was the most traumatic experience ever, and I have really long blog posts about them. But here's the thing - if I weren't white, if I were African American or Latina, and I wrote the exact same things about college being traumatic and about school ruining my life - my entire race would be judged for it. People would read my posts and think that African Americans or Latinas are just not good at school. It's because I'm white that people read my stories and see them as my individual experience. It's because I'm white that people accept that when I talk about not fitting in because of personality differences, people see those things as my individual experience and don't try to make it about my entire race. And that's something that's important to keep in mind. Think about how you read my anti-school stuff and what it would sound like if it came from someone of a different race. How would you perceive it differently? Would you make judgments about an entire group of people? It is a huge privilege to be able to talk about stuff like I talk about and not be worried that people will judge an entire race as a result of it. We all need to stop and notice whether we really are treating everyone the same, and making sure to correct ourselves if we're not.

No comments:

Post a Comment