It dominated our past. It encouraged the colonization of countries, the enslavement of people, and enforced restrictions on people of color. With the inclusion of rights and loosening of restrictions, people believe that white privilege is in the past. These current social movements prove otherwise.
The gun reform movement exhibits this.
There are no stories of inner city school shootings. These schools have cameras, police officers, reinforced windows, and identification requirements to enter the building. About 20% of white kids attend inner city schools — suggesting that students of color will commit violent crimes. Public and private schools located in the suburbs don’t do this. In some states, schools don’t even lock their doors and aren’t required to by law. This form of racism isn’t only demeaning, but killer. Black Americans residing in cities are eight times more likely to be killed due to gun violence than white Americans. Lacking media attention and aid, residents in cities face a serious threat.
The sexual assault movement proves this.
Despite white women running #MeToo, a recent poll shows that more men of color than white women believe that sexual harassment at work is an issue. This could be relative to the racist history men of color have as sexual predators. 16 out of 100 reported victims of sexual harassment or assault are men. This number is so disproportionate that the number of male people of color victims may be higher but is unreported. Only recently have powerful white men been perpetrators accused of sexual harassment or assault and removed from their positions of power. This doesn’t mean that white men are sexual predators, because men of all colors can be this.
Other movements like Black Lives Matter; the fight to protect DACA recipients; and other social movements uplifting minorities and speaking against the majority receive little attention. Yet if white lives are at stake, white privilege validates these movements and disregards the progress achieved by minorities. Those movements receive more media attention and quickly prompt the government than when only minority lives were at stake. As a white person, I understand my privilege and I am not trying to bash those who also have it. I believe that we can change. We can recognize our privilege, apologize to those abused by it, and try to be better allies. People claim that these movements are revolutionary, but these movements are actually reinforcing white privilege. We need to stop preaching about intersectionality and practice it instead.
Photo: Sarah Loetscher