Thursday, September 18, 2008

More on White Privilege

When last I posted here, my post was little more than a glorified cut-and-paste of someone else's thoughts. I'm comfortable with that, because the someone in question is Tim Wise, and he's far more competent than I am at understanding white privilege.

The article of his I quoted (in it's entirety) was focused on white privilege as it concerns the presidential election. The article is good and poignant, but it assumes some basic understanding of the mechanics of privilege. That's tricky stuff, so his follow-up is an incredibly helpful rundown of what white privilege is. His whole post can be found here.

In addition, there are two points worth highlighting:
That's the point: privilege is the flipside of discrimination. If people of color face discrimination, in housing, employment and elsewhere, then the rest of us are receiving a de facto subsidy, a privilege, an advantage in those realms of daily life. There can be no down without an up, in other words.
The above is white privilege in three sentences, which I don't think I've seen done anywhere as effectively or concise.

The below is the requisite call to action:
One way is by fighting for a society in which those privileges will no longer exist, and in which we will be able to stand on our own two feet, without the artificial crutch of racial advantage to prop us up. We need to commit to fighting for racial equity and challenging injustice at every turn, not only because it harms others, but because it diminishes us as well (even as it pays dividends), and because it squanders the promise of fairness and equity to which we claim to adhere as Americans.

It's about responsibility, not guilt.

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