Thursday, April 14, 2011

The subtleties of White Privilege

At The Cap Times of Madison, Margaret Krome considers the subject of racism:

Last week I attended a workshop entitled “Dismantling Racism” put on by the nonprofit group Growing Power in Milwaukee.

We did an exercise where white people in the room read statements about white privilege.  ....

But I was amazed by how few of the statements I, as a person of white privilege, had previously considered. I hadn’t noticed that “I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.” Nor had I previously recognized as a privilege never being asked to speak for all the people of my racial group. Or that I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race. These and many other statements were written by Peggy McIntosh in a 1990 article that described such unearned assets as “like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions ... tools, and blank checks.”

As the statements continued, people of color nodded knowingly.

Who would make such statements?  The first two somewhat similar examples that came to my mind were both made about candidate Barack Obama:
"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." --Sen. Biden [D-DE]

"light-skinned" and having "no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one." --Sen. Reid [D-NV]
PREVIOUSLY on racism:
Racist cupcakes
Is witch doctor image racist?
Obama ally: "I hate white people...."
“You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”
"The city wasn't ready to hire a white police chief."
A prominent black politician says the white incumbent cannot properly represent black voters.
San Franciscans discriminate against blacks.
"He's not black and he can't represent me, that's just the bottom line."

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