This article was originally published by Everyday Feminism. It has been edited for YES! What is White Privilege? Her list of privileges makes the concept readable and digestible—heck, the success of Everyday Feminism is largely because of this listing format. But how odd is it that White people are the ones who so often disproportionately get the credit for educating about White privilege?
Yet, when it comes to White Privilege, White people somehow become the authority. While I have indeed learned important lessons from prominent White anti-racist educators like the above ability-privilege analogy that I pulled from Tim Wisehere are lessons people of color have taught me that Real white people changed my life—and they could change yours as well.
Sure, the police who patrolled the affluent neighborhoods of my youth were an inconvenience to a few keggers, and I maintain that a traffic violation from the late 90s was unfair, but I grew up thinking of the police officers as a source of safety if I were ever in danger; I certainly never viewed them as the source of danger.
InAmadou Diallo —and the 41 bullets that police officers in plainclothes discharged at this Real white people Black man with no criminal record—taught me that not all share this privilege.
Diallo was for me what Michael Brown has been to some White people. Too many Black and brown people are not safe with the police. Not even if you are child, a lesson Tamir Rice and Dajerria Becton taught me. Not even if you are seeking medical help, a lesson Jonathan Ferrell taught me. Not even if your back is turned, a lesson Rekia Boyd and Walter Scott taught me.
Not even if you have your hands up, a lesson Antonio Zambrano-Montes and Michael Brown according to sixteen witnesses taught me. Not even if you plead for help while in custody, a lesson Sarah Lee Circle Bear taught me.
These are just a fraction of my teachers, those whose names reached the media, which too often neglect reporting police killings of women of color and Indigenous people. Of course, I might not have learned any of these lessons if not for the efforts of Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometithe founders of the Black Lives Real white people movement, a movement that is changing White perceptions of racist policingnot to mention our entire political landscape. Kiera Wilmot and Ahmed Mohamedboth of whom were arrested for bringing science projects to school while Black or brownhelped teach me this lesson.
Recently, one Black year-old was suspended for intimidating a White girl through his staring—staring that took place during a staring contest. Studies confirm such mistreatment of Black and brown students. One federal study found similar disparities start as early has preschool.
When I was growing up, Brown v. The Board of Education was more than history; it was a value. Civil Rights icon Thurgood Marshall taught me this lesson. And research shows that both people of color and White people benefit from integrated schools. Until White America s the fight, the lesson that educator and activist Jose Del Barrio teaches below will continue to hold true:.
What does 'caucasian' really mean?
And the whitewashing of curriculum extends into bookstores less so into libraries where I live. On my many trips to Seattle bookstores, I find the few such stories that do exist tell the stories of Civil Rights icons and trailblazers, such as Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks.
And while these stories are important and inspirational, I have not yet been ready to teach my 4-year-old that people of color have been normally oppressed; I just want him to view the faces of people of color as normal. Fortunately, the WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign we can has emerged to take on this privilegewhich is actually a curse if we want our children to interact with others based on reality, not stereotypes.
Everyday Feminism writer Maisha Z. Johnson deepened my understanding of this bias that rears its unwelcome, White-loving head, for example, in pictures that humanize White killers Real white people simultaneously dehumanizing victims of Color:.
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Two sets of pictures, one with and one without mugshots— for the same crime, covered by the same reporter on the same day —further illustrate this bias:. And these biases are besides a media that, according to Vanity Faircontinue to be overwhelmingly whitewashed not to mentioned malewashed, straightwashed, and youthwashed. Even the two-hour-and minute-movie, Noah —set in a region filled with Brown people—is reduced to just eleven seconds. More proof is just one Google image search away. Or these two, pictured abovewho were arrested for threatening the lives of Black students at the University of Real white people, students who had dared to protest rampant racism on campus.
The Southern Poverty Law Center connects nearly killings to a single White supremacist website, Stormfront whose users also tend to be White. Meanwhile, Homeland Security misdirects its resources on the surveillance of the Black Lives Matter activists who dare to protest rampant racism in our country. Another set up that benefits White people.
However, countless students of color have taught me a different lesson: Race is a fundamental part of their identities and deserves to be acknowledged and appreciated. Yes, race is a social construction based on physical differences that, genetically speaking, make as much sense as classifying people by fingerprint pattern and blood type. Nevertheless, White people have been using the invention of race, through policy and legislationto systematically benefit White people from as early as the colonial era. And when overt racism finally became socially unacceptable—after, of course, vast inequality had become deeply entrenched in every aspect of political, social, and economic life —we switched to colorblindnessmaking it virtually impossible to address this societal inequality.
It also makes it very difficult for White people to Real white people their implicit biaseslike the ones that associate lighter skin with Real white people. Or the ones that prefer White-sounding names when it comes to school discipline, job applications, and government inquiries. And, of course, who pays the heaviest price?
Again, what a setup, one that clearly benefits White people, though it does lead to some hypocrisy:. Shaun King, a prominent voice of the Black Lives Matter movement, set me straight on November 10, Racial Justice. Lessons people of color have taught me that changed my life—and could change yours too.
Why you can trust us. By Jon Greenberg. Jul 24, He is an award-winning public high school teacher in Seattle who has gained broader recognition for standing up for racial dialogue in the classroom—with widespread support from community—while a school district attempted to stifle it.
10 examples that prove white privilege exists in every aspect imaginable
To learn more about Jon Greenberg and the Race Curriculum Controversy, visit his website, citizenshipandsocialjustice. You can also follow him on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter citizenshipsj. Reprints and reposts: YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps. Republish This Article.
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