Got Privilege?

The first step in understanding white privilege is learning what is implied when being referred to as a white person. In the article, Robin DiAngelo describes being a white person as“ people who either come from or appear to come from Europe, but it’s necessarily a construct of oppression.” From reading the article I have concluded that White privilege is being allowed to be ignorant and think something is not a problem, such as racism because it does not happen to them. I personally believe that if you have never had to be worried about being discriminated in any way because of your race then that is white privilege.

“White privilege” and “white supremacy” seem scary to most people, but why is that? When responding to this article I asked my little brother who is 15 what he thought about white privilege he responded with “that means that white people have it easy right? I believe that is fake.” I then began to explain to him that he would not be discriminated based on his skin color while others would which is an example of his own white privilege. He responded that people who do that are just being “racist”. In his point of view there are only a few “bad apples” out there that support and carry out racism which carries over negatively to the rest of us. This all got me thinking about white privilege. My brother got quite defensive about the topic as though he did not want to admit or allow the idea of his own race giving him supremacy in the world, which is white fragility.

White fragility is the inability to cope with conversations about race that don’t protect white people’s innocence involving the situation. This relates to the example given in the article about the Ottawa mayor, Jim Watson, getting defensive and calling those who were revealing his white privilege as being “vulgar and rude”. This shows how white people can be uncomfortable with their own white privilege and accepting that they are privileged. Whiteness often equates to innocence. However thinking or acting in ways that support the system of racism contradicts this ideal of innocence associated with whiteness. If white people are not making effort to reveal their own white privilege and make efforts to create better equality then they support the system of racism. By making all aware of their own privilege we can take the correct steps in acknowledging racial discrimination.

Personally, I have a lot of conflicting feelings about white privilege. As a person of European ancestry, I am considered to be a white person. When talking about my personal privilege I feel torn. A part of me recognizes that I have it easier than some because of my skin color. However, I have not taken the time to recognize certain situations where my white privilege has benefited myself. As a white person, I have never felt as though I would be refused service or acceptance because of my skin color and until reading this article and discussing white privilege in class I did not realize that that is my own white privilege. I now think the key to stopping racism is being educated so that we are not blind to a system of privilege we are apart of as white people. Becoming aware of your privilege so that you can become educated and use your own white privilege as an opportunity to help the world instead of oppressing others is the first positive step we should all take.

“White people are people and race is a thing that happens to everyone else” (Denise Balkissoon).


2 thoughts on “Got Privilege?

  1. elissabueckert says:

    Hi Kacie,

    I thoroughly appreciated your post. I like how you are able to admit that you do have white privilege- even though you weren’t completely aware of it and all of its full effects before. Although you yourself may not be directly to blame for racism it is predominately the white race and that is a crucial thing to recognize. What I like the most about your response was the paragraph about your brother and his response and the transition into the next paragraph after. As pre-service teachers, I think it would be really cool if you took that opportunity with your brother to educate him on what all these words mean (racism, white supremacy, white fragility, etc.) and see if it is possible to change his point of view.

    I completely agree that the first step towards fixing this problem is proper education. Good post!

    Elissa 🙂


  2. kenzie77blog says:

    I really enjoyed your post and the effort that you put into it! I thought it was really interesting that you included your brothers comments, it was an interesting way to see what people outside of the classroom think and feel about white privilege. I also liked how you included the definitions of the terms to help readers to understand the topic. I would have to agree with you on how you feel about white privilege and not really noticing it in your everyday life. I never thought about it before this class but now see how we can make a change! I thought your post was very well
    written! Thanks for sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s