01 March 2011

White Privilege

"White Privilege" - it sounded like a horribly racist term to me when I first heard it. It brought to mind Skinheads and the KKK. I grew up knowing about both these groups. I even had a girlfriend in high school who's daddy was a member of the KKK. ( At the time I was indifferent to racism, but made sure to never meet the man. ) So when I heard the term I thought I knew exactly what it meant. I thought it referred to extreme white racism.
If you google "white privilege" you will get a lot of opinion articles and videos. I am not voicing an opinion here. I am voicing fact. Normally I don't put too much store in Wikipedia since it is written by whoever sees fit to chime in, but I like the way it defines white privilege.
"...white privilege is a way of conceptualizing racial inequalities that focuses as much on the advantages that white people accrue from society as on the disadvantages that people of color experience."
The best way I can explain it myself is to give examples:
Have you ever noticed how the hair and skin care section in any major store has whole aisles dedicated to white hair and skin care and a small section at the end of one aisle dedicated to black hair and skin care? You may say "But black people have their own stores with their own products." Why do you think that is? Because the mainstream stores do not carry what they need. So, they have to have their own stores.
Have you ever noticed how many shades of makeup cosmetic lines carry for white women and how many shades of makeup they carry for black women? You may say "black women are dark and do not need makeup." Think about how many shades of black women there are in the world. There are many more shades of black women than there are white women.
Have you ever shopped for nylons and bought a color labeled "nude". "Nude" for who? Not for a black woman. But it's such a simple little thing? Why should it matter? What if you were born a black woman? Wouldn't it matter to you?
Have you ever tried to buy a doll for a black child?
Have you ever tried to buy educational books for a black child?
Have you ever tried to buy band-aids for a black child?
There are many, many, many more examples of white privilege. Before the transracial adoption seminar I had never really thought of most. And that right there is the true definition of white privilege. White people never really think about it. They don't have to because society is catered to match their needs. It's just plain fact.
So I guess in a roundabout way "white privilege" does refer to white racism, but it is a white racism that most whites are unaware of.
And now my daddy has rolled over in his grave ... again.
For more examples of white privilege click here: http://jimbuie.blogs.com/journal/2007/11/50-examples-of-.html.

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