On December 19, 2014, I read this article about white privilege. For those of you who don’t know what white privilege is, you should read the article entitled, “The thing about white privilege,” on LinkedIn at http://linkd.in/1v996HQ. However, just in case you don’t want to read the article right now, here’s a definition.
In brief, white privilege is what rules our country today. It’s what allows a young white person living in New York City not to understand what stop and frisk is because he or she will never experience being stopped by a police officer and searched (that is fondled) looking for drugs simply because he or she is white. It’s what allows a young white person to shop in an exclusive or brand name store and not worry about salespeople following them around because they might steal something even though they have more than enough money to pay for anything they want. It’s what allows an applicant with a white sounding to get a call back for the job over all other applicants with Black or Hispanic sounding names when everybody has the same qualifications. It’s allows a white couple to receive a lower mortgage rate or refinance at a lower rate than a Black or Brown couple with the same financial background from the same bank. I could continue citing more examples but I won’t. Instead, read what I wrote to Melanie.
I found your article most interesting. It’s rare to hear a young white person admit there is such a thing as white privilege. Most of your generation don’t see it or admit it exists so I have to see kudos to you. I’m writing to ask you where you got the quote. “If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us work together.”
I really love the quote. It speaks volumes to me about the do-gooder whites volunteering in poor Black and Brown neighborhoods rather than confronting the racism and other issues in their own neighborhoods. I say this because I’ve recently had the experience of volunteering for some well-known mentoring and volunteer groups. The one thing that sticks out in my mind was how white the groups of volunteers were compared to the people they were assigned to deliver things to or to mentor who were all people of color.
I tried hard not to get pissed but I wasn’t successful. Those white volunteers I met reminded me of the white missionaries of the late 19th and early 20th century going to Africa to rescue the poor savages from their ‘horrid little lives’ by bringing the goodness and mercy of a white God to them. Yeah, I know it sounds ungrateful and mean but that’s how I felt and still feel.
Anyway just thought I’d send you this email.