White Privilege​

What does privilege mean to you? When one hears the word privilege, it almost sounds offensive. It is as if you worked really hard for something, you earned it, and then all of a sudden, the obstacles that you’ve gone through didn’t matter. However, that is not what it is. This simple comic clearly explains privilege. The environment in which you live in affects what kind of jobs you get, what kind of education you get, and how people view you. Richard is saying that he was never handed anything, but because of the environment he was brought up in he was privileged. Ever since the beginning of time, people have had different starting points. Like how Richard had a different starting point from Paula. For example, immigrants and African Americans have been discriminated against due to their way of life and their physical features. This has led to poor job opportunities, educational disadvantages, and prejudice in the criminal justice system. Those that have had the privilege, the white privilege, to be accepted in society, do not face the obstacles that African Americans do. Therefore, race is a social construct, meaning society has given definition to skin color by creating laws, policies, and predetermined notions to discriminate against them. 

The first concept, jobs. It was difficult for the African American community to get a job. They were perceived as uneducated and lazy. It is said that the black community is the last to get hired and the first to get fired. Ever since time, unemployment has increased, the rate has doubled for the past six decades among African Americans. In 1979, the wage rate for the colored was at 18.1% but in 2015, it was found that the rate is now 26.7%. The unemployment rate between whites and blacks is 4.3% to 8.1%, which is almost double. People who are looking for jobs with names that sound white are 50% more likely to get a callback for an interview. It was found in 2015 by the Center for Economic and Policy Research that white people that had the exact same resume than black counterparts got hired at double the rate. From these statistics, it is clearly shown that white people have an advantage over black people when it comes to jobs. Black people are facing a job crisis across America because they have to work twice as hard. 

Some say there are clubs and organizations for the colored community, but there aren’t any for the white community because it would be viewed as racist. However, there are clubs created for African Americans because their hard work was never appreciated in the past years. CNN writer John Blake interviewed a white retiree who said, “‘If you try to embrace being white, you are portrayed as being racist. If we had White History Month, that would be viewed as a racist holiday’”. Black History Month was created to honor the under-appreciated black Americans. It is found in research that white children do get a better education. The U.S Department of Education researched that 6% of all white students attend high-poverty schools and 33% attend low-poverty schools. One the other hand, more than 40% of black students attend high-poverty schools while 10% attend low-poverty schools. This statistic reveals that black students are six times more likely to go to high-poverty schools. This is a true fact because the environment that African Americans were brought up in was very different than how white families were brought up. Historically, people of color were pushed to live into cramped and diseased places. To further explain, a 2015 study showed that 500 school districts in Pennsylvania received less money with more black students attending. To finalize, white students do get a better education because the property tax decreases in areas where more blacks live, meaning that there is a decrease in funding. This is outright discrimination. Certain scholarships and programs have been created for the people of color because, in the past, they have been extremely oppressed, and haven’t been given a fair chance. 

You may have seen on social media how a news source labels the person who committed a crime based on their race. On Twitter, there have been many issues regarding this conflict. For example, Michael Brown and Darren Wilson. Michael Brown is an African American teen, he was labeled as ‘no angel’ in a New YorkTimes paper, which means that the newspaper was trying to justify his attack. But the reality is that Michael Brown was an eighteen-year-old living in Ferguson, Mississippi who was shot to the ground by police officer Darren Wilson. He was unarmed walking on the street with his friend when a police officer approached him and asked him to step onto the sidewalk. Within three minutes he was shot six times. From his autopsy reports, it suggests that he may have been standing with his arms up in surrender. The story makes sense because it is statistically shown that black people are three times more likely to be killed by the police–and thirty percent of the black victims are unarmed. Only one in three black people in the US were killed by the police because they were suspected of a violent act and allegedly armed. A few seem to believe the term is protesting against the white community, but really it is protesting against the injustice brutality among African Americans. The term is often misguided, and people are arguing saying “All Lives Matter”, although right now black lives are worthless so the term really means that black lives should matter the same as all lives but they are not. Officer Wilson claims that Michael Brown attacked him but does his punishment fit the–alleged–crime? Should he have been shot six times?

Through jobs, education, and crime, white people are at an advantage to this day. It is 2019. White privilege is evident across America and has been for many years now. Historically, the white community has been at a higher starting point than the black community. We already have in mind how an African American should act and think. That, right there, is a social construct. Social construct leads to racism. Racism leads to white privilege. White privilege leads to societal inequality. We say “don’t discriminate” or  “don’t assume”. We want all ethnicities to join together and unite but how can we do that if white privilege is holding us back? 

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