White Privilege

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White privilege. Over the past few months I have heard, seen and watched many dialogs on this topic. I am white, and due to the color of my skin I have been granted opportunities that others have not. Growing up I did not see this; I grew up in a very mono-cultural community in a lower socio-economic bracket. I was never looked down on, but I felt the sting of things being out of reach, but it had nothing to do with the color of my skin.

When I think of white privilege, I remember my college roommate and I walking over to Cabrini Green (a Chicago housing project that no longer exists) to a ministry she worked at. On the walk to or from, a police officer would ask us if we needed a ride back to campus. This always made us so mad! What about the teen girl who gets harassed while she walks on this same street or the little boy who is being forced into gang life because he lacks a father figure? It was the color of our skin that made us the targets of the officers’ good will. We were white and most of the residents were black.

When I think of white privilege, I remember my friend Melissa, she was leaving the apartment of a child she worked with and a black man was being accosted by the police. She knew him and spoke into the situation. The next day she found out the police backed off, saying, “If she cares about you, then we will leave you alone.” She was white, he was black.

When I think of white privilege, I remember my neighbor in Chester going to apply for a job at Burger King, but the manager with a shaved head would not give her an application. “We are not hiring,” he had told her. But a week later he gave one of my white teens an application. He was white, my neighbor was black.

Whether I like it or not, white privilege exists, and I am a part of it. I benefit because of the color of my skin, I benefit because my parents happen to be white, I benefit and sometimes I don’t even realize it. So, what can I do to change this? What can I do to ensure equality for all people? One thing I know I can do is keep the conversation open and look for opportunities to stand up for what is right. I can continue to be a reconciler, a woman who longs for justice and a child of God who seeks justice. If each of us does this, the Church may be able to set the tone for a new type of privilege, the privilege of reconciliation.

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4 thoughts on “White Privilege

  1. I really don’t think “White Privilege” is as all encompassing as you think it is, you stated that your white friend was allowed to fill out an application for employment while your black friend was denied, I don’t doubt that this happened but I think there has to be more factors involved than just skin color. I have applied for many jobs countless times, and most of the time I don’t get any kind of response back. The only work I can get is from temporary staffing agencies because their business depends on fast recruiting for their clients. Also as to your claim that the police officers only offered to give you a ride us because you are white, I think you overlooked your gender, people are generally more polite to women than they are to men, and I think fir the most part this crosses racial lines. This was an interesting article, but I don’t see any evidence of White Privilege in my life

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  2. I think real privilege comes from a person’s social status, how much money they have, who their circle of friends includes, where they live, etc, I won’t deny that skin color doesn’t qualify as a factor, but it isn’t as big a deal as many people think. A poor person who is white will be treated worse than a wealthy person who has black skin. The very same privilege that so many people take for granted can be stripped away, it all depends on the situation and a plethora of other factors. A wealthy white man will definitely be treated like royalty almost everu where he goes, but if he somehow ends up in a bad part of town, his status will not protect him, and will most likely target him for robbery and quite possibly injury or even death. Even the most bigoted white supremacist is likely to show respect to a nicely dressed and we’ll groomed black person, especially if that person happens to be famous and powerful

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