This comment by RyanH on the post Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person
I’m a Straight White Middle Class Able-Bodied Male, but I grew up right on the poverty line, especially after my parents divorced. Not as poor as you’ve described, but we were on food stamps for a long time and scraped by for everything. I was lucky to be a highly gifted student, so I went to a good college for free and got a good degree; now I’m solidly middle class. All that being said, I try to be conscious of white (male, straight, able) privilege every day and not take it for granted. I try not to invoke it at all, especially to the detriment of other people. But I do recognize I’ve enjoyed advantages because of it. It’s difficult to acknowledge white privilege because it’s admitting you’ve got cheat codes the rest of society doesn’t. I don’t like it, to be honest. It disturbs me that I’m afforded privileges not afforded to others. However, acknowledging it is the first step towards affording those same privileges to the rest of society. People who enjoy white privilege have to -actively assert- that others deserve those same privileges, and call out those who attempt to deny them to non-white (straight, male, able) individuals.
People who share my demographic and location (hyper-conservative South Carolina) generally refuse to acknowledge white privilege, whether passively or actively. These people feel threatened when other groups ask for the same privileges they’ve enjoyed for centuries, institutionalized into the very fabric of society. I think that’s a natural, but negative reaction…it’s visceral, animalistic, Darwinian. It has to be consciously overcome.
So yes, white privilege makes me uncomfortable but I think in a way opposite from what you’re asking.
Let’s Start a Conversation:
Is White privilege different from economic & education opportunities, family wealth, beauty, talent, loving support or any other kind of privilege?
See more posts in our Editors’ Favorite Section
Like The Good Men Project on Facebook
Photo: David Wraith /Flicker