Using White Privilege to Make an Impact
It’s time that we understand white privilege is real and it is a problem. The other day, while at work, a customer and her child had walked in without a mask on. We had dealt with this woman before and had some conflict with her when asking her to put on a mask. She claimed that she - and everyone in her family - has a doctor’s excuse to not wear a mask. Another customer who had an oxygen tank and was wearing a mask had asked this woman to put a mask on. The woman proceeded to call her a 'snowflake' and refused to wear a mask even though the other customer was at much higher risk. She is the average middle-class white woman who takes advantage of her white privilege. Use her as an example of what not to do.
White privilege as defined by Oxford Dictionaries is a societal privilege or “inherent advantage possessed by a white person on the basis of their race.” In fewer words, a white person has more advantages and benefits due to their skin color. It doesn’t mean that white people don’t have struggles, it means that we don’t have any added struggles due to our race. According to a statistic on Surj (Showing Up For Racial Justice), a white male with a criminal record is 5% more likely to get a job over a man of color with a clean record. Let that sink in.
As a white person, think about all the effects white privilege has on your life. I can turn on the television and see people who look like me widely represented. If I get pulled over, I know it won’t be because of my race. If I need medical help, I can be sure that I won’t get denied because of my skin color. Daily tasks like going to the store or asking for help are widely taken for granted.
A little bit of research will provide enough information to see and understand how real white privilege is. White privilege can be used in a positive way, to use your voice and challenge racism. As a white person, you should speak up if you encounter someone being treated differently due to their skin color. You should be actively anti-racist and amplify the voices of people of color. There are so many ways to use white privilege in a positive way. Be an ally.