Some believe “white privilege” is at the crux of race relations in the United States. But what is it? By definition, it is the term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries; beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political or economic circumstances. Simply put – it means people of colour are not afforded the same opportunities, or given the same credit as white people.
The issue was first brought into the classroom by renowned educator Jane Elliot with her blue eyes/brown eyes experiment in the 1970’s. She forced young white students to discuss their whiteness, and the benefits it affords them, a concept that even adults find difficult to address. The conversation is ongoing on social media. In response to recent police shootings in the US of black men, Twitter user Matt Edelstein revived the hashtag #WhitePrivilegeMeans. It’s a challenging concept to put into 140 characters, so some are demonstrating it with images like this:
On Monday we’ll discuss what white privilege means and how it impacts race relations in the US.
In this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Terri Coleman @TFSColeman
Instructor, Dillard University
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.