03 Dec How and Why White Privilege is Real
Liberal, well-read, white men: One of the most important steps toward becoming an effective ally to people of color is recognizing and accepting our existing white privilege. This is not something to feel defensive or guilty about; more helpfully, it’s an awareness that can cultivate gratitude and a determination to help others receive the benefits of this privilege.
Here’s a big chunk of the evidence regarding my personal white privilege, which I doubt is very dissimilar from other white professionals who might be reading this:
- I was raised in a middle class home.
- My parents sent me to college and paid for it.
- I’ve worked in a professional field since I was 23.
- I’ve always lived in comfortable suburban neighborhoods.
- I’ve never had to worry about standing out in the crowd, except for when I was a kid with really big, ugly glasses.
- I can walk down a street without arousing suspicion.
- I can get pulled over for a traffic violation without the fear of losing my life.
- People don’t stare at me when I show up in nice stores, high-end events, or sit with my loved ones or friends in restaurants.
- I possess, in a nutshell, an automatic “benefit of the doubt.”
I feel a tremendous responsibility to advocate for those who haven’t been granted such privileged benefits. I want our nation’s laws, policies, and general culture to be characterized by that same mindset of advocacy. And I want us to elect people who have already worked hard to extend these benefits to the masses, and to continue to do so, and to do so tirelessly.
My determination to be an effective ally to women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community is the reason I write the pieces I write. It’s why I post and share and comment in a certain manner on social media. It’s at the core of my values as a human being, and I do not apologize for these values.
If you’re of a similar mindset, and want to connect and help each other be better allies, please contact me here.