What are your thoughts about the concept of white culture, identity, and entitlement as they were discussed? What are your thoughts about the concept of white privilege? You can share dialogue with other participants about these questions, or any other thoughts or experiences during this section of the module.
A friend recently asked for examples of white privilege in our lives; she was struggling to see it herself and was asking for friends' insights. I threw out a few things: the white people who had lent my family money as a couple which enabled them to move into a nicer zip code, the constant reinforcement of myself in everyone I saw around me which served as a primer for growing up to demand and expect that I be taken seriously and given voice and space, etc. I found so many, many more in Peggy McKintosh's essay. Something that Mercedes Peters said in her TED talk struck me. She talked about how she doesn't look native and doesn't look like she should know about inequity. Looking white, she said that she can choose to connect to or ignore the racial inequities she sees every day. It made me think about my own heritage. I am Scottish, and my people have been systematically murdered, discriminated against, and treated as second-class citizens for centuries. However, because Scots are white like the English, this was based on culture, not color. Thus, Americans of Scottish descent, since we don't wear our tartans or speak Gaelic, are indiscernable from white Americans or white English, and third-generation folks like myself blend into the "default" of white. I choose to connect to my heritage and culture, but I could just as easily choose to ignore it. I have the privilege of living my life under my own whiteness and not having to be discriminated against at all. POC don't have that luxury. White privilege is the luxury of not having to risk losing self, status, identity, rights, or safety simply because you don't fit into the default idea of rightful and normal. It means never being second-guessed if you apply for a loan, or expound on an intellectual topic that you know about, or fail to perform at 110% one day. I can show up late to an appointment and not have it reflect on my morals or attributed to my race. I can enter an elevator and not cause people to clutch their purses or exit for not wanting to ride it with me. White privilege is never having to be aware of your race at all because you rest in the knowledge that you are for whom the whole thing was designed. And it's unfair. I should not have this luxury based on the color of my skin.