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Understanding My White Privilege As a White-Passing Mixed Girl

Written by Mikayla Baldwin 

White Privilege exists among cultures world-wide, as many groups favor those with lighter skin.

What is White Privilege?

To some of the white people living in poverty, and even those dwelling in the 1%, this may seem like fantasy. Some think that since there is white people living in poor conditions that the concept is a myth but this privilege spans along all socioeconomic statuses. As explained by Wikipedia,White Privilege or White Skin Privilege is the “…societal privileges that benefit white people in western countries beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.”

Examples of White Privilege:

  • Going into a store and not get followed around by employees who assume you’re stealing.

  • Shooting nine black people while they’re in church, and when the cops finally get find you, they take you out to Burger King.

  • Walking down the street and not have to worry about being called racial slurs.

  • Google searching “beautiful woman” spits out pictures of white women.

In a way White Privilege is like getting benefit of the doubt. In this society people with darker skin and kinky hair aren’t given a chance, at all. White people are given the opportunity to mess up, but when anybody, regardless of race, looks at a colored person, it is assumed that they’re going to do something wrong.

Being Mixed and Benefiting From White Privilege

Growing up with euro-centric features but having such a mixed background has been a living contradiction. My dad has a black dad and a white mom and my mom is Colombian. Regardless of my racial/ethnic make up, to society I look like an average white girl so I benefit from White Privilege.To think that my dad is initially treated like a time bomb rather than a person is agonizing. I’ll never experience what he has in regards to racial stereotyping or profiling.

Being white-passing also means that my features are favored by society and the media. I could easily identify with Disney Princesses like Belle and Snow White, while my cousins had to wait until The Princess and The Frog came out so they could look to Princess Tiana as a character they look more like. White girls will never have to search and wait. Black girls had to wait 18 years after the first Barbie came out to have a doll that wasn’t fair-skinned and had blonde hair. When colored kids see images of the same white character over and over they feel like the way they look is wrong, considering every time a colored character comes out it is a special edition rather than being as normal as the rest.

One of the Disadvantages

Being white-passing, I get to hear racist comments from white people who think no colored people are around. Since I am white-passing some white people forget, ignore or completely not realize that I am mixed. This means I get to hear all of the racist conversations they have while nobody colored is around. I never felt like I owed it to anyone to explain my racial makeup, but when they continue to make racist jokes around me, they have to understand why I am so angry.

When they talk about how all black people are thugs and how all Colombians are drug dealers, they’re talking about my parents, my brother, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents; they’re talking about me.

It is important that those who benefit from White Privilege understand it. It really shows you how poorly our society is structured.

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