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White Privilege 101
Note: After this comment in MetaTalk that followed many similar requests in several recent MetaTalk threads, this page is for Mefites to gather links and accessible resources to help other Mefites understand white privilege better, and to then understand themselves and others better, and then to do better.
General advice for having a better discussion:
- “Believe people when they tell you about things in their own lives.”
- “Don’t make abstract theoretical statements about classes of people. They’re right here and they can speak for themselves.”
- “If you’re about to ask ‘Why don’t they just...’ you are probably about to offend.” source
"Francis E. Kendall, author of Diversity in the Classroom and Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race, comes close to giving us an encompassing definition: “having greater access to power and resources than people of color [in the same situation] do.”" from Tolerance.org.
Relevant Mefi Posts and Comments
pjenks, July 11, 2019: At a roundtable event in Youngstown, OH today, Sen. Gillibrand was asked by a white woman holding a baby (via Amanda Golden, NBC): "QUESTION: [...] the Democratic Party loves to throw around terms like "white privilege." Now this is an area that across all demographics has been depressed because of the loss of its industry and the opioid crisis. So what do you have to say to people in this area about so-called white privilege?" She responded (NBC video) [partially edited transcript included with comment]
• An Antiracist Reading List (Ibram X. Kendi, NYT), A Reading List for Ralph Northam (Ibram X. Kendi, Atlantic) via Won’t You Be My Neighbor: An Anti-Hate Pop Culture Syllabus (Soraya Roberts, Longreads)
• White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Robin DiAngelo) "In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’” (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively."
- Download the Reading Guide (PDF) • Download the Discussion Guide for Educators (PDF) • Download the Discussion Guide for UU Communities (PDF) • Take our quiz to find out if you exhibit “white fragility” traits.
- Video (23 minutes) Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr. Robin DiAngelo. SLYT
- Journal article: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, Vol 3 (3) (2011) pp 54-70. PDF