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What Is White Privilege? (21st Century Skills Library: Racial Justice in America)

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There's a good chance, as a white person watching this, your life is already hard. Every day you have to overcome some difficulty or challenge just to get by, but you can still have white privilege. White privilege doesn't mean you haven't worked hard or you don't deserve the success you've had. It doesn't mean that your life isn't hard or that you've never suffered. It simply means that your skin colour has not been the cause of your hardship or suffering. The term white privilege originated in the US in the 1980s, referring to both the obvious and the hidden advantages afforded to white people by systemic forms of racial injustice. Unlike terms such as “racial injustice” and “systemic racial bias”, the idea of privilege centres the discussion around individuals. Maybe you are interested What is Calcudoku: A Fun and Challenging Puzzle Game White Privilege in Practice Intersectionality and White Privilege

Sometimes, to understand what White privilege is, it’s helpful to understand what White privilege is not. White privilege does not mean that White people have never worked hard. It does not mean that White people have not earned some of the success and power they have. It also does not mean that White people have never suffered. There are lots of types of privilege out there, the privilege of being born into a wealthy family versus a poor family is kind of obvious, but then there's the privilege of being able-bodied versus having or acquiring a disability that most of us take for granted. I have two very close friends who are wheelchair users and I'll be honest, when I first met them I was completely ignorant about the everyday ways their lives are made harder through no fault of their own. Some of these ways are simply thoughtless, but some of them are just the way we live, just the way we build infrastructure, just the way everything works that just makes their life harder than mine. That's just one of the ways that I am privileged and understanding that, embracing that, doesn't make me a bad person, but ignoring it raises the chance that my friends will be excluded in ways that are not obvious to me and as their friend I can't allow that. As mentioned earlier, white privilege can manifest in various ways. Some of the most common examples of white privilege include: Examples of White Privilege


Although the concept of ‘white privilege’ has proved valuable to people advocating for social change in different national contexts, there is also resistance in many countries to the notion that white people are uniquely ‘privileged’ by their race. Some critics seem unwilling to dismantle white supremacy whereas others point to the limitations of ‘white privilege’ to capture the full range of inequalities that shape people’s lives. Where might this type of anger and hatred come from? I want to speak specifically to white folks here. I am one, and, for the past six years, my work for equity and racial justice has focused predominantly on educating white students in a way that impacts hearts, minds, and, as they move into the world, systems. What I have discovered is that hatred and anger that lead to violence and oppression stem from a false belief in one’s personal superiority, desire for power, and in one’s belief of deserving better. Just consider the term “white supremacy.” Derived from the Latin term supremus, meaning “highest,” is the term refers to an ultimate and evil elevation of the white race. When that belief or elevation that one puts their hope in is threatened (perceived or in actuality), anger and hatred erupt as one believes they are being robbed of something which they are owed. This, I believe, is at the root of white supremacy, and it hurts all people, even the supremacists. Race as a political category is loaded with the histories of racial extermination and racist politics in some places and less so in others. In France ‘white privilege’ could be perceived as provocative because it challenges the French universalist narrative and the modern conception of citizenship and a common will. When book challenge adjudications are made under a comprehensive committee review, decisions are less likely to result from political pressure or other improper considerations. Therefore, the NCAC urges Pinellas County School Board to return the removed books and work to ensure removal decisions are based solely on legitimate criteria as mandated in district policy. Not all white people are privileged.” While it is true that some white people face economic or social disadvantage, white privilege refers to the systemic advantages that white people as a group enjoy.

These advantages are often invisible to white people, who may take them for granted or fail to recognize them as a result of their privilege. However, for people of color, these disparities can have a significant impact on their daily lives and opportunities. It is important to note that combatting white privilege is an ongoing and complex process that requires sustained effort and commitment. It may involve uncomfortable conversations and self-reflection, but it is necessary for creating a more just and equitable society. Conclusion The concept of ‘white privilege’ remains useful when presented in ways that both resonate with individuals and shed light on structural causes of racial inequality. Then, it has the potential to motivate those with advantages to combat injustices. It can undermine movements for racial justice, however, when it fails to raise awareness of the historical, structural, and political forces that confer some groups advantages over others based on skin colour, phenotype, hair texture and other physical characteristics attributed to ‘race.’


Undone Consulting is an educational consulting company that provides teacher and student training, curriculum planning partnerships, and educational resources to empower educators to bring about authentic and justice driven change to students, schools, and community. Undone consulting is driven by the following values: White privilege is bad for everyone including the unpleasant feeling it can give to White people. Nevertheless, the book concludes with hopeful examples of what individuals like Joan Mulholland, Peggy McIntosh, and Jane Elliott have done in the past and activities to raise awareness and then take action. Criminal justice: People of color are more likely to be stopped, searched, and arrested by law enforcement, and more likely to receive longer sentences for the same crimes. For example, a person from North Africa, from the Indian sub-continent or from Oceania could be considered ‘white’ – in spite of a dark complexion – in many contexts. In South Africa, white privilege is the legacy of apartheid, which subjugated and devalued anyone whose skin colour was not white. Despite the political dismantling of apartheid, white privilege persists. Calls to transform racialised organisations are viewed as threats by white people who, correctly, hear demands for racial justice as an end to white privilege.

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