racism and white privilege

I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between ‘being advantaged’ and ‘white privilege’. I think there is an important distinction. Being advantaged – or disadvantaged – usually is associated with having high/low socio-economic status. White privilege is something different. It is a fact that Afro-Americans are disproportionally disadvantaged and that fact is surely related to their unique historical experience – 200 years of slavery, plus 100 years of apartheid. But, that isn’t really what white privilege means. A poor, unskilled, unemployed, (disadvantaged) white workingman can still benefit from white privilege. And, a highly educated, high income, (advantaged) professional A-A woman can still suffer from ‘white privilege’.

Maybe this distinction is not that important – but I have found in conversations about race if you try to talk about the effects of the A-A historical experience, you will often get responses like “I (or my parents) came with nothing, had to struggle etc.”

I would like to get better at explaining how ‘white privilege’ is still alive in these days and that A-A persons, no matter how advantaged in socio-economic terms, are still hurt by encounters with ‘white privilege’.  MT


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