Yes, White ‘Privilege’ Is Still the Problem

Dahleen Glanton, Chicago Tribune, March 29, 2018


If you are a white person in America, you were born privileged. That’s just a fact.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not anybody’s fault. There’s no need to get defensive about it.

The best thing to do is just acknowledge it.

Being privileged does not necessarily mean that you have a perfect life. It does not mean that you come from wealth or that you always obtain everything you want — or deserve.


It just means that you have a head start over the rest of us.

White privilege means that you were born with an inherent advantage over every other race of people. The whiteness of your skin alone allows you to leave the starting gate quicker and to run the race with fewer obstacles. White skin comes with certain other perks, too, many of which are taken for granted.

American culture itself is white-centric. For example, as an African-American woman, I can rarely find makeup that matches my exact skin tone. Though cosmetics companies have gotten a lot better at adding more diverse colors to their lines, I still most often have to buy two shades and mix them together to get a match.


If you were born white, you are likely to earn more money than an African-American or Hispanic co-worker who does the same work. You are more likely to be considered for a promotion than a racial minority who is just as qualified. Numerous studies back this up.


But the perception many white people have about other white people — whether it is conscious or subconscious — is that they are smarter, more ambitious, more dependable and harder working than African-Americans.


Black and brown people have no reason to be angry with white people for being born white. We don’t buy into the adage that because someone happened to be white, they are smarter than the rest of us. Nor do we believe that every white person seated at the head table deserves a space there.

What we do understand is that white skin opens doors that often slam shut in the faces of dark skin. That’s what we have a problem with.


The reality is that blacks and Latinos have never gotten an equal shake. When affirmative action sought to level the playing field, white people got mad and put an end to it.

As a result, hiring discrimination based on race remains alive and well, meaning blacks and Hispanics have to work twice as hard just to get a foot in the door.

Last year, researchers at Northwestern University, Harvard University and the Institute of Social Research in Oslo, Norway, reviewed multiple studies and concluded that the level of hiring discrimination against African-Americans had not changed in 25 years.


Until the country reverses itself and African-Americans are sitting in all those glass offices at businesses and major corporations, white people will never have to worry about being discriminated against because of their race.


Research shows that black boys are much more likely to be labeled as troublemakers than white boys. According to a U.S. Department of Education report, black children — particularly boys — are nearly four times more likely to be suspended from school than white children.

When young white people get into trouble, adults are much more empathetic than they are to African-Americans who experience similar problems.


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