White Privilege 101.
Do you assume that your standing in society is entirely because of your hard work, your intelligence, your ability to navigate the ups and downs of life while others who have difficulty aren’t up to par? Or would you consider the fact that there is something called “white privilege” and that white folk believe the benefits of that privilege are an entitlement? Here’s a different, well-reasoned perspective for you.
by Chuck Ramsay
Our United States has a history. For many of us, growing up with public school educations, we were given a rather sanitized version, a more idealized version of the reality of the birth and growth of our nation. Even lessons on the Civil War, though they mentioned slavery, were centered more on the “economic” reasons for the secession of the South from the Union. The cruel, hard facts of our society were simply glossed over to make us feel better about ourselves.
Throughout the 1960s, during the Civil Rights Movement era, our country and many folks who make up our citizenry, came closer to the realization that everything in our society was not right. Prejudice, hatred, bigotry, unfair laws, and even good laws enforced unfairly, were exposed. Yet it wasn’t very long after Martin Luther King was assassinated and President Lyndon Baines Johnson was out of office, and our attention was diverted to Viet Name, that we as a country settled back into that comfortably good feeling of life as it had been before others pointed out the error of our ways.
Today, BlackLivesMatter is a call to re-awaken the challenge to see that our society continues to be built on white privilege and to rationalize that it's okay to dilute the promise of equality in our Constitution. It doesn’t ask black folk to change. It requires white folk change...to acknowledge that this privilege is a problem, that it is in many ways un-American, and that it harms more than it helps anyone.
Tim Wise is an internationally known activist and writer. Since 1995, he has given speeches at over 600 college campuses across the U.S. He has trained teachers, corporate employees, non-profit organizations and law enforcement officers in methods for addressing and dismantling White racism in their institutions. His bio is HERE.
The video here is long (57 minutes). But if you truly believe you do not possess any implicit bias, enjoy white privilege, or blame your ability to excel or just get by on the laziness of others, then take my challenge to listen to his talk in its entirety. It is quite telling.
You can read his regularly-updated blog HERE.
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