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White Privelage

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White Privilege:

Injustice in the United States

Paul M. Moran

EFN 205, Sec. 21

"Most White people, if they are really being honest with themselves, can see that there are advantages to being white in the United States...These systematic advantages of being White are often referred to as White Privilege" (Rothenberg, 2003, p.127). White privilege is as strong today as it was over fifty years ago. Today in the United States White Privilege remains on the top of the list when you look at other factors such as; "...socioeconomic status, gender, age, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and mental and physical abilities..." (Rothenberg, 2003). All of which can interfere with ones goals to achieve: "...Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness..." These three things are qualities which every man is entitled to; yet why today does America still endow the white man with unquestioned and unlimited resources to achieve this goal while others are left striving for what remains. White Privilege can be seen in every aspect of American Life ranging from the workplace to everyday life.

Throughout history White Privilege also played a major role in the lives of people within the community. "...Whites alone could bear arms; Whites alone had the right of self-defense. White servants could own livestock; Africans couldn't...Whites were given the right to beat any blacks..." (Rothenberg, 2003, p.33). Although these rights do not exist today the advantages of whites over people of color can still be seen. As I walked through Best Buy on a normal Saturday afternoon I could see the advantages of my skin color through the actions of the employees. As I was browsing throughout the CD selections I noticed an older African American man also looking through the CD's. As we continued to browse I noticed an employee watching. I suspected that he was watching me, a teenager with baggy jeans and a large jacket, to make sure that I was not slipping CD's into my coat. As I walked along towards the DVD's to avoid suspicion I noticed that it was not I that the employee was watching. I watched as the employee continued to watch from a distance as the African American man was fingering through the CD collection. Seeing this not only appalled me but made me realize that it was not his age but his skin color that was catching the eye of the employee. This example of White Privilege shows how it frequently occurs in everyday life.

White Privilege, although slightly modified has remained basically unchanged throughout society's history because the power has forever remained in the hands of the white man. "...White power nonetheless reproduces itself regardless of intention, power differences and goodwill, and overwhelmingly because it is not seen as whiteness, but as normal..." (Rothenberg, 2002, p.12). Many see whiteness as normal because of the fact that most people in power are themselves white; being based through an entirely white governing nation the norms and guidelines have always been seen through the white mans eyes. Many other countries might view the United States in a contradicting light as we see it in our own eyes; having a different perspective on things, like us viewing them, might have different opinions on what is right. Throughout my families vacations we managed to get out of the country twice. One of these trips was to Mexico. The contrasting feelings of White Privilege and White Discrimination were both felt on that particular trip. At the resort we were staying at we were treated as royalty and every little thing that we could possibly need was handed to us without question. However, when we left the resort and ventured into the town a much different attitude was present. We were no longer the norm; being the minority in the city did not feel as it should. The culture and way of life was so different from that of the United States. There was not a system of buying, yet the custom was to bargain; being white the sellers knew we did not know this custom and this was realized as things we bought were sold for almost half of what we had bought them for to someone of their own race. The looks I got and the way that my family and I were treated outside of the resort put me right into the shoes of those that are discriminated against in America.

White people often overlook this privilege and tend to see the negative aspects of the other cultures present instead of the positive aspects of our own culture. "...When we hear about things like racial profiling, we think of it in terms of what people of color go through, never contemplating what it means for whites and what we don't have to put up with..." (Rothenberg, 2002, p.107). There are endless advantages that we as a white race have yet we often overlook them and only see the problems that people of color go through. In lecture, Professor Koppelman talked about Blockbusting. Blockbusting as defined by Koppelman, " a naturally integrated black or white neighborhood..." (Koppelman, 2005). Many people that own apartment complexes or lease out homes will discriminate against blacks and other races and refused to lease out housing to them. Often in these situations whites and people of color will be separated into their own separate neighborhoods. In my high school I was friends with a boy on my cross country team whose dad owned an apartment complex. One Saturday he asked me if I would be willing to help him repaint one of his apartments that had been damaged. Upon entering the apartment I noticed that it smelled and that the paint on the walls was faded and stained. I asked, "How did this apartment get like this?" He replied, "A bunch of niggers lived here and they stunk it up with their nigger smell and destroyed the place. Those people are all the same, I am never leasing to a nigger again." At first I did not know what to say but then decided to keep my mouth shut and leave it alone. This man like many others categorized the African American race because of what one member did to his apartment. Many apartment owners do the same things to people of color and show an example of how White Privilege plays a part; in this case ones discrimination is the cause.

The implementation of White Privilege throughout the workplace and housing still continues today not only because of many cases of discrimination but because of interracial assistance. This means that white males are continually getting better job and housing opportunities



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