Have you recently woken up to the unexpected news that you have privilege?
The current political climate has led to a flood of privilege, popping up all over the Internet.
Many white people can’t even believe the good news.
They have privilege? They weren’t even trying!
As a white woman who was once caught off-guard by her own unexpected privilege, I wanted to share what I learned and guide you through this new phase in your life.
Step 1: Acceptance.
Accepting this sort of power feels like a responsibility, and it is. But if you don’t accept your white privilege, your energy gets wasted calling the cops on harmless birders. You’ve been yielding your privilege all over Yelp for years. You didn’t know that you could affect the actual world and not just ruin Amber’s last shift at Starbucks. It’s okay. You have privilege now. And you know it. Let’s figure out what to do with it, shall we?
Step 2: Don’t yammer on about your privilege to your black friends.
This is a very important part of white privilege. Your non-white friends already know you have it. They have literally been begging you to see it. Odds are, they have forgiven your fuck-ups repeatedly because they could see how ignorant you were. You do not need, and you should NOT try to make them listen to this epiphany, Tiffany. Just say you’re sorry and get to work.
Step 3: Tell your WHITE friends about your privilege. Constantly.
Coming out “white privileged” can be uncomfortable for a lot of middle class Americans. A lot of my friends were shocked when I told them about my privilege.
“YOU?? You don’t own anything!” they said. It’s a common misconception that privilege is about money. It is, but it’s not JUST about money.
Your white friends who have done okay for themselves will resist the most. They worked hard and made sacrifices to start their business. It didn’t feel like privilege.They will say they got no handouts. How do we make them believe in a privilege they can’t see? You show them their privilege. You use your white skin as witness to their experience and then show them what you have learned.
Remind Chad how many times he has mouthed off. How he doesn’t shy away from “giving that guy a piece of his mind” because he knows when the cops show up, his word will be trusted. He doesn’t live in fear of an anxious cop with a trigger finger. It will take time and patience, but I know with the power of white privilege by your side, you can get through to him.
Step 4: Use it Wisely
Your friends and family know. Your partner(s) know. What next?
Bearing witness to a system of oppression is a hell of a perspective shift, and takes some time to acclimate.
The best move is to make yourself available as support to people of color right now. This doesn’t mean throwing a march to hear yourself speak. It means you support the people of color in your area. Amplify their voices. Defend those voices when your other white friends try to tell people of color how to protest the “right way.”
Go to protests if you can. Write politicians if you can. Do your best to stay present.
Recognize your power in any situation where a white person of “authority” might abuse their power, then go Karen all over their asses.