White Privilege and Doing Better

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I finished reading “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” last night, by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

I’d borrowed it from a friend, and donated what I would have spent to Black Lives Matter. I have been trying to diversify what I read for a good while now, but I know I don’t read enough non-fiction, which reminds us of reality instead of letting us escape into whimsical narratives. I need to do better.

Growing up, I’ve always been taught to treat people the way you want to be treated. However, I also grew up as a white girl in a predominantly white community. These are not excuses, these are just facts. This also meant that I was blind to how much of an issue racism is. I dismissed extremist views as people who were “clearly crazy” instead of thinking about what the repercussions of these people sharing their views were.

Eddo-Lodge brings up a point about how we as white people “don’t see” race, and how that in itself is an issue. This struck a chord with me, as when I talk to my white friends we all just end conversations with “Well it doesn’t matter what colour someone’s skin is”. It’s dismissive. Just because you are not a racist, it doesn’t mean that there is not something fundamentally wrong with the way the world treats people based on what they look like. Just because you are not racist, it doesn’t mean you can sit back, relax, and ignore what is going on around you.

We are taught often to treat people as equal, but there is a difference between treating people as equal and seeing people as equal. Often people will treat someone the way they want to be treated but still consider themselves as separate. We need to identify racial discrimination as more than just an issue that pops up when another person of colour is killed by the police. We need to do better.

Saying that, am I in a position to argue how POCs feel? Absolutely not. White privilege is the absence of consequences of racism. White privilege is the luxury of being able to simply learn about racism instead of experiencing it. You’ve declared that you’re not a racist, and that you’ve put a black square on your Instagram grid which proves it. Is that the only thing you can do?

  • Rachel, a fellow University of Chester alumni, is documenting her experiences online with her first blog post: We Are Enough
  • You can watch this Youtube video and leave the ads running, and the revenue is forwarded towards associations that offer protester bail funds and more: click on this link
  • Sign petitions, and make sure you confirm your email address at the end.
  • Here is a document which is an excellent starting point to understanding white privilege, with direction towards resources so you can have those difficult conversations with family and friends, and continue to educate yourself: Anti-Racism for Beginners
  • The kindle edition of Angela Saini’s book Superior: The Return of Race Science is free to download. Donate what you would have spent to organisations that can help POCs: Superior: The Return of Race Science

We can always do better. We can always afford to check our privilege. We can always continue to educate ourselves.

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