What is white privilege anyway?

I’ve been quiet for a while. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I don’t know how to say it. The right message and the wrong delivery can lead to not being heard and I so very desperately want to be heard. When I post an article or write a blog my sole motivation is education, teaching and learning. Over the last 5 years, Chris and I have been learning so much. We have learned about parenting, marriage, adoption, privilege, race and so much more. I see things that I didn’t see before. I’ve experienced things that I didn’t know happened anymore. And let’s be real, I see a lot of things differently because we are a transracial family. If not for knowing and loving my children, there are many things that I may never have learned. So this is me, asking you to hear me. To read some of what I write and what I post. Asking those of you who know and love our family to be open to looking at the world from different perspective, from my children’s perspective and from the perspective of someone who may be more like you than you even know. Please see my heart. Know that I do not expect anyone to already know any of these things. I didn’t. I am learning every day. What I am asking is for you to listen with an open mind and an open heart.
Diving right in, I want to talk about white privilege. What does that even mean? I’m not sure exactly when I learned about white privilege, but I wanted to take a few moments to tell you about what I have learned. Because you don’t know what you don’t know. Let me start by telling you what white privilege is not. White privilege does not mean that if you are white your life is easy, perfect or charmed. It doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty just for being white. It isn’t necessarily something to feel defensive about.
Now, let’s talk about what privilege is. This one of the best, simplest definitions that I have seen:

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By the way, white privilege isn’t the only kind of privilege there is. There is male privilege, class privilege, able-bodied privilege, etc. And again, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing something¬† wrong because you have a certain privilege, but it does mean that you should acknowledge it. When Chris goes into an home improvement store or auto repair store, he is going to be treated differently than I am. Why? Because he has male privileges that I, as a female do not have. It doesn’t mean he is sexist. It means that if he sees a woman being treated unfairly (for example, if an employee skips a female customer to help him), he should point it out. He should use his male privilege to say, “Hey man, she was here first.”
There are many areas in my life that are easier because I am white. White privilege presents in small, seemingly harmless ways, like knowing that BandAids that you can find at any store will match your skin. But it also means that I can wear my hoodie over my head at night without any worry that someone will think that I look dangerous. White privilege means that most media sources (TV, magazines, news, etc.) will feature someone who looks like me. It means that I will be able to watch an unending abundance of programs featuring people who share my race doing a huge variety of things. Most of these privileges, we never even notice.
If you follow me on Facebook, I am going to be talking a lot more about White privilege for the month of June. The first step is understanding what it is and acknowledging that it is.
-Jenn
One more thing, please, pluuuuuu-ease watch this video that explains privilege better than I ever could.

And a couple of great articles:
Coach’s Son’s Privilege
What my Bike has Taught Me About White Privilege

Marcy - Thank you for starting this conversation. I’m eager to read your insights and have so much to learn!

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