White Privilege From A White Dude’s Perspective

Recently, I have seen a lot of posts from Facebook friends about examples of white privilege and blatant discrimination against people of color. Many of those posts have been littered with comments from defensive white folks trying to mitigate these clear examples of racism. It can be difficult for white people (myself included) to fully grasp the scope of white privilege, particularly when the lived experiences of non-white people are so foreign to us. I don’t know jack shit about being a dark-skinned person, so it’s difficult to put myself in the shoes of one. So, instead I would like to share some of my own lived experiences as a white person, and how they illustrate the phenomenon of white privilege. Maybe my fellow melanin-challenged folks can relate to some of these. Enjoy.

  • In high school, I was a mediocre-at-best student with no athletic talent who often did the bare minimum amount of work required to get by. I was still offered admission to an elite private university, from which I graduated with a college degree in 3.5 years.
  • Numerous times in my life, I have walked down the sidewalk at night in a hoodie or a big jacket. On exactly none of those occasions has a person walking towards me on the aforementioned sidewalk crossed the street out of fear that I would knife them in the kidney and take their wallet.
  • Despite having a “foreign” sounding name, when I tell people my name, they typically don’t ask where I’m from. When people do ask where I’m from, and I tell them “Southern California,” they don’t then ask, “No, where are you REALLY from?”
  • One time I was pulled over doing 86 in a 70 zone in Bakersfield coming back from a camping trip. Despite the fact that there were open alcohol containers, drugs, and drug paraphernalia in the car, the car was not searched and I was not arrested. Later, I was able to successfully talk the white judge down on the speeding ticket.
  • I attended a predominantly white public high school in an affluent suburb, which allowed me to compete on the debate team. As a pale-skinned, nerdy white kid, I fit the mold of what a debater was “supposed” to look like, which probably made judges more likely to vote for me.
  • Countless times, I have gotten onto an elevator and the other person has not grabbed their purse or gotten off on a different floor than the one they were actually intending to reach.
  • The most difficult part of going through airport security for me is having to take my shoes off and then put them back on.
  • I have always had the freedom to move freely around a department store without being followed like I’m on a reality TV show or something.
  • One time I was going through security at LAX. There were scissors in my backpack. In the ensuing TSA freakout, I explained that I forgot the scissors were in there, and that they could take them. They let me keep the damn scissors.
  • I have never seen the inside of a prison.
  • When I send my resume in to employers, the presumed ethnicity of my name does not discourage them from hiring me. Instead, my utter lack of qualifications and relevant work experience discourages them from hiring me.
  • I can jaywalk in front of a cop and even smile and wave at them and they won’t do shit about it.
  • I can travel anywhere in the country, and people will treat me with respect (except for that time I wore a USC shirt in Alabama). Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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