Understanding White Privilege: 4 Things to Know

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If you are living in the United States, you have more than likely heard the words “white privilege”. You might, at first, react to these words in either one or two ways. You could think, “Yes, having white skin is an advantage in the United States.” Or you could think, “Today, skin color has very little to do with success in the world.” 

No matter what your initial response is, we invite you to read on. As you will see in this article, the color of one’s skin can impact a lot more than might, at first, reach the eye. 

Here are the top four things you need to know about understanding white privilege. 

1. Understanding the Types of Privilege

Yes, within white privilege, there are multiple categories. The first is overt privilege. Being rich, educated, or able-bodied in the United States are overt privileges because they are apparent but often get taken for granted. 

Merely having food to eat every day is an example of overt privilege. When you eat dinner, do you take the time to think of all the people who are not able to?

Next is conscious privilege. This is privilege that you understand and take account of. Any privilege you have can become conscious privilege with the proper education. If you are a white man and you understand the implications of how that does not make your race or sex a challenge for you, then you have conscious privilege!

Last is unconscious privilege, which is just privilege that you possess but are not aware of. Read more now about the types of privilege. 

2. Being White Does Not Mean Your Life is Easy

A common misconception about white privilege is that it means your life is automatically a cake-walk. This is obviously untrue. Factors like access to education, family life, and sex or sexual orientation all have an effect on your success. 

Educating yourself about white privilege is all about understanding and dismantling privilege. It isn’t meant to undermine any struggles a white person has gone through. All it means is that one’s white skin never made their life more difficult. 

3. Dismantling White Privilege is Simple

What is the best way to dismantle white privilege? Simple. Accepting one’s white privilege is the best way to suppress it. 

But how does understanding your white privilege help anybody? If you understand your white privilege, you are more likely to take action to level the racial playing field. Whether by supporting non-white businesses, voting on behalf of the needs of minorities, or simply being more empathetic, you are helping. 

4. Understanding White Privilege Will Make You a Better Citizen

Understanding race and privilege will do more than just make you more empathetic. It will allow you to be a more responsible member of your community.

By acknowledging the divide in fairness between whites and persons of color, you acknowledge the steps that can be taken to make your community a better place for everyone. And isn’t that a beautiful thing? Understanding white privilege is vital. 

What Now?

Congrats! You’ve read this article, thus taking a step to understanding white privilege. All that’s left to do is make a difference in your community!

Check out more of our blogs on social justice today!

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