I Do Suffer from White Privilege

I haven’t written in awhile–just have been too lazy to bring the laptop in, but I watched a documentary with my kids last week that got me thinking.

My college students are studying equality right now.  We watched a documentary called White Like Me.  The premise is that most whites are racist, not because they necessarily judge people by their skin color, but because they are simply not aware of what their racial biases are.  Most white people are simply not aware of what their “whitenss” gets them.  Here’s some things I learned from this documentary that I had never realized/thought off/acknowledged.

  • Welfare and social programs that many of us rail against are more often utilized my poor whites
  • There are far more poor whites in the U.S. than poor blacks, but poor blacks are the face of poverty in this country
  • When asked to match faces to negative or positive words, such as intelligent, heroic, or excellent, both whites and blacks tend to choose white or light-skinned faces over dark.
  • People are always calling for lower taxes, and many call for a return to simpler times, a.ka., the 1950s.  However, tax rate in the 1950s was 91%.
  • We never hear stories of those whites who went against the status quo to help during the Civil Rights movement; we only focus on those who did the oppressing

These are just a few, but these are the ones that stood out to me.  Having grown up in California, I did live in a predominately white world.  I went to a college that was 99% white–we had two black students in the whole school.   As a teacher in a predominately black school, I realize that I really have no idea what my students are up against–and that I need to be more aware of my own personal bias.




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