Talking About White Privilege Doesn’t Help Race Relations

Nicki Varkevisser
Nicki Varkevisser

I sat down behind my laptop and went through my Facebook feed to see what people had been up to. As I opened my beer, I saw an article pop up from an acquaintance of mine. An article on Slate about a woman whom recently moved with her family from Brooklyn, to a predominately white neighborhood. Granted, this woman is white herself, but was concerned about how her children might react with PoC (People of Color) in the future now that they are no longer around so many PoC.

Her research lead to to many prominent black researchers, and academic literature by PoC on the issue of race. According to the article, while many PoC are openly discussing race with each other, it seems that white people don’t talk about it all that much anymore. What’s more, it’s suggested that in order to have a better conversation on race, people of all colors must be willing to openly talk about it. But whites need to recognize the privilege they have while they partake in the conversation.

But what if it’s not that easy? What if whites aren’t exactly the ones with a problem anymore?

Let me start off with something personal. I am no longer going to be using the term “PoC” or “People of Color”. Instead, I’m white, and some of the readers here will be Black, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, or of a different race. I’ll keep this easier for some by saying “white” and “non-white”. Does this bother you? That I as a white person, do not want to use the term “PoC” anymore? If it does, not only is it idiotic to claim that white isn’t a color, but it also shows that some people still don’t want to talk about race in the terms of logic and reasoning.

Many non-white people are more than happy to point out racism, like with the Tumblr ‘This is White Privilege‘, but I rarely see a serious discussion about race there. Why? Because it’s not a site to discuss race, it’s a site dedicated to pointing out white privilege. Go ahead into the FAQ section. The site’s very existence is to only point out white privilege. And according to the creator, “race is a social construct”. Ask any biologist worth their weight in salt, and they will tell you that race is biological. So, I’m pretty sure we’re not gonna get a serious discussion from any non-white on that site.


This site is doing is nothing different than what people at (white pride website) Stormfront.org do when they make fun of black, latino, asian and other non-white people. Whether it be from a white person or a black person, bigotry is bigotry. From a modern societal standpoint, people at Stormfront are viewed as the scum of society, while any non-white over at TIWP is viewed as “brave”. However, both are completely illogical. Pointing out racism does nothing to solve race relations and only adds fuel to the fire of racial separatism.

But wait. Here I am, the arrogant white male using racial terms of black, asian, latino and so on and so forth. Having the audacity of calling non-whites racists for making fun of white people. What about their marginalization?

Have you ever looked up the definition of marginalization? It means to make some feel unimportant and worthless. Sure, many non-whites will feel unimportant and worthless in predominately white societies. But so do many whites. Why? Because a sense of self-worth comes from a reflection of your merits and achievements. Being white is a trivial consequence of many different variables. It’s genetics, not a merit or achievement.

I’m not getting a job or a diploma by simply walking up and saying “I’m white, gimme what I want”. But what about my white privilege? Some will argue that there are certainly some economical and social benefits to being white. I argue that in our ever globalizing world, this is false.

In an ever globalizing world, there are many pieces of literature about how within our lifetimes, the predominately white US and European countries will not be predominately white.

It’s also shown that these places will not be the main political super powers for much longer.

We have to take into consideration that western white culture will not be the dominate culture if western white countries are no longer the main geopolitical super powers. In fact, if China does become more powerful than the US economically by 2030 as predicted, then what’s to say that Chinese culture will not become the dominate culture? People are attracted to power and will emulate it. This is a natural fact.

In the statistics of global population, whites only make up 15% of the global population. This includes all whites from the Slavs of Eastern Russia, to the hippy white liberal of San Francisco. Keep in mind, the Chinese by themselves take up close to 30% of the global population. If we were to add in all asians (Japanese, Thai, Malay, Filipino, Indian, etc etc) asians would make up 60%+ of the global population.

In a heavily globalized community with cultural borders mixing and disappearing, how exactly are whites privileged? Simply put; we aren’t. On the global scale, we are a minority, and when the time comes that western white culture is no longer the dominate culture, are people gonna start attacking the Han-Chinese and Eastern Asians for not realizing their privilege? If you think whites are bad with our “unconscious racism”, oh boy are you in for a treat.

Many asian countries to this day still have strong racial tensions towards each other. And don’t assume this is just some “South Korea vs Best Korea” sort of thing either. Just a little over 10 years ago, Chinese people born in Malaysia were only given limited access to certain areas of university education. Why? Because the government wanted natural Malays to be the only ones able hold power in their country. To put it bluntly: Some asian countries are just getting over, or even still enforcing their own forms of Jim Crow laws. Now, I’m not saying we should beware of our future asian rulers. I’m hoping to point out to you that this “white racism” isn’t just a “white” problem. It’s a problem all races have. These are all just facts, and not something empathetical.


Racism has been used since the dawn of man. Generalization and racism are traits we are all naturally born with. It’s not that we’re all just evil racists on the inside. This is something we inherit from our early tribal ancestors. They needed to be wary of any possible predators. These predators could have easily been different people. If you didn’t look like anyone in the tribe, then you were not to be trusted.

Intellectually, we have grown past this barbaric pattern of thinking(some of us at least), and have been able to intellectually reason the issue of race and that racism is barbaric and unreasonable. For example, Jim Crow laws are no longer in effect. America understood that all people born in the US have natural birth rights, and all had been given a right of equality. This is turn makes Jim Crow laws completely unreasonable and barbaric. This makes sense. But here’s where my argument on current race relations stands. Believing that only white people are racist, and that we some how have white privilege, is not only unreasonable, it’s illogical and hypocritical. 


As I’ve pointed out, the idea that only white people can solve the issue of race because we are the ones with power is farce. As globalization becomes more of a reality, we can see that whites are not a privileged majority. Looking at other cultures, white people are not the only racist people on this planet. So, if we wish to have a realistic and productive conversation on race, then we need to start using our logical reasoning skills, and realize that all people need to be involved. That all people are needed to fix it. Not just whites. TC mark

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://4951north7th.wordpress.com 4951north7th

    What is your definition of racism?

  • http://staygolden21.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/re-talking-about-white-privilege-doesnt-help-race-relations/ RE: “Talking About White Privilege Doesn’t Help Race Relations.” | Stay Golden

    […] took me a while before sitting down and writing a response to this recent post on Thought Catalog (https://thoughtcatalog.com/dave-nappi/2014/04/talking-about-white-privilege-doesnt-help-race-relation…). In fact, I had to stop and take a breather just to ensure that my frustration will not sway me […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/james-b-barnes/2014/04/heres-how-the-supreme-court-decision-on-affirmative-action-is-exactly-like-a-web-comments-section/ Here’s How The Supreme Court Decision On Affirmative Action Is Exactly Like A Web Comments Section | Thought Catalog

    […] here and on Gawker minus the smattering of “Guests” dropping the N bomb for lulz. Look here, here, and here. One side believes diversity is important insomuch as allows minorities, […]

blog comments powered by Disqus