Are you privileged?
Are you white?
If you answered no to the first question, but yes to the second, you are a participant in a damaged culture. Whether you consider yourself racist or not, rich or poor, male or female, if you are white you ARE privileged.
Growing up we were taught that hard work is what moves you up in society. Is that really true? Did you get where you are today all on your own? Or did society LET you have an advantage over others who are not white?
Privilege is granting dominance based on ones sex or race. You might have been taught that racism puts others at a disadvantage, but did you ever think that white privilege is putting you at an advantage? Many people are oblivious that these invisible systems of racial dominance exist.
If you are white: you grow up learning about white people that made our country great, you don’t look threatening to others when looking for a job or a house, you are interviewed by mostly other white people, if you get pulled over you know it is not because of your race, you can buy music, toys, books, posters that all reflect white values and people of your race, etc.
White people are made to feel confident and comfortable while others are being made unconfident and uncomfortable. You are oblivious and welcomed while they are alienated. When working to benefit others you see it as “us” helping “them” and “equal opportunity” is really just helping people of color get to a position of dominance, without acknowledging that these systems of dominance exist.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you are a hardworking individual who has earned much of your success; however, if you are white then privilege has a lot more to do with it then you realize. Try to think of some ways that the system has given you an advantage over others and in turn, unearned power.
The only way to break this cycle is to acknowledge the privilege you have been granted and recognize that it is unjustified to have this advantage just because you are white! Help others be aware of these unseen dimensions and put this systematically conferred dominance to rest. People should not have to fight to get into a dominant position, but an equal one.
Don’t be oblivious to white privilege or systematic dominance any longer.