10 Ways I Benefit From Privilege

What is White Privilege?

February is Black History Month. As a way of honoring this time (which should actually be ALL the time), I thought it might be good to do some self-evaluation and reflection.

Talking about privilege with other white folks can be messy. The frustrated, knee-jerk reaction often come from the idea that by saying someone is “privileged” means that they haven’t worked hard. I understand this reaction as I have had it too. But this isn’t necessarily the case. White privilege really boils down to the a vast array of benefits and advantages not shared by many people of color (POC).  It doesn’t mean that I, as a white person, don’t work hard or that I haven’t suffered, but simply that I receive help, or often unacknowledged assistance because I am white.

As a way to reflect and acknowledge the lived experience of people of color, I want to publicly confess 10 ways in which I benefit from White Privilege. I challenge you to do the same (either in the comments here or on my Instagram post).

10 Ways I Benefit From Privilege

  1. I spent most of my life never having to think about or discuss the idea of privilege.
  2. I have the privilege of having a (generally) positive relationship with the police.
  3. I had to learn about race in school (versus a lived experience).
  4. All the books, movies, and even church flannel-graphs I experienced as a child overwhelmingly representative of my race.
  5. I have the privilege of attending or sending my child to a segregated school of affluence.
  6. I have often used the line “I’m not really into politics” – demonstrating an innate realization that the system is ultimately working for me so I have the luxury of ignoring the details.
  7. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time (work, neighborhood, church).
  8. All of the history I was taught in school was the history of my own race. White Europeans and eventually white Americans were always the main character.
  9. I do not have to train my children to always be aware of their surroundings and activities because of their skin color and the perception of people around them.
  10. I can go (pretty much) wherever I want and whenever I want.

So What Can We Do?

Here are some suggestions (most of which I found here) on ways to celebrate black history month instead of posting a quote by MLK on Facebook.

  1. Buy books by black authors and read them.
  2. Diversify your social media feed.
  3. Make your own list of ways you benefit from white privilege. Share it publicly.
  4. Watch 5 movies or TV series in which a white person is not the hero.
  5. Download Layla F. Saad’s “White Privilege + Me” workbook. Pay for it.
  6. Ask your faith organization how they plan to talk about race.
  7. Educate yourself on the Black Lives Matter movement and separate fact from fiction.
  8. When talking to people of color, do more listening than speaking.
  9. Shop and spend money at business owned by people of color.
  10. Make a commitment to “show up” for racial justice in one way this month.

Leave a Reply

  • I love this bro! I wrote a piece titled, “Whiteness,” and it highlights when and how white privilege came to be. Thank you for discussing these things inside your own community and challenging others in your community to “check their privilege.”