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10/15/2011

Marita Isabel on white privilege:

When I think of privilege, I think of choice. White folks have so many choices. Systems have been built in the U.S.A. around the dominant and normative white culture. Everything from public and private education to hiring procedures at corporate and even non-profit offices are built around customs of white communities. Success in the U.S.A. is most often based on individual wealth, climbing the corporate ladder, becoming good at what you do as an individual. And because the systems favor white folks and the culture and practices they are accustomed to, white folks have the advantage in becoming “successful”. Some may argue that there is Affirmative Action, specific scholarships and grants for people of color and that those policies actually benefit POCs. But why were those measures even necessary? Because there was a disparity in the numbers of white folks and POCs who were able to naturally access academic institutions and jobs.

[…]

So if you’re white and reading this, you might ask: What do I do about this? My response is simple. Be aware of it. Educate yourself. Talk to other white folks about how they are responsible with their white privilege. Read articles. Books. Write your own experiences down. Be accountable and take ownership of unearned privilege. Try your hardest not to take for granted all the ways in which society reflects you, all the choices you have laid out in front of you because of your skin color. Try to remember that the way you know how to achieve success is not the only way. And that the path to “success” is not so clear and obstacle-free for your POC coworkers and classmates.

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