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Tim Wise – Antiracist Essayist F.A.Q’s
1. In this country American means White. Everybody else has to hyphenate. ~Toni Morrison
2. When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression… When people say you have privilege they aren’t saying you don’t have and problems. They are saying you do not have the specific problems which come from oppression. This is not a difficult concept.
3. Affirmative Action isn’t black privilege … Affirmative Action was an attempt to give “an opportunity” to women and people of color because our institutions created an uneven playing field. It was an attempt to correct white privilege.
4. One or two instances of discrimination do not add up to a lifetime of Institutionalized Racism.
5. Reverse racism is a myth because racism has, as part of its underpinnings, the core of systemic oppression of a minority by a majority benefiting from such oppression.
6. There is no such thing as ‘reverse racism’. There is only racism. Racism is the promotion of one racial group, or the derision of other racial groups. Racism can be engaged in by any race toward any other
7. Black people fighting for equality and an end to prejudice and bigotry do not make them racists because they are not in a position to dominate white people in the US.
8. White people have not been enslaved, colonized, or forced to segregate
9. White people do not face housing or job discrimination, police brutality, poverty, or incarceration at the level that black people do. This is not to say that they do not experience things like poverty and police brutality at all. But again, not on the same scale — not even close. That is the reality of racism.
10. If you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.
11. Black people and other POC must necessarily navigate traditionally white spaces or they can’t function. You don’t have to go to the hip-hop club if you don’t feel welcome there, but Black people can’t avoid: The DMV and other government agencies, Banks and the loan application process, The admission process for schools, the white-dominated private sector, and trigger-happy cops.
12. Racism is racism no matter the color or ethnicity it is directed at.
13. The term suggests Blacks can’t be racist only merely “reverse racists” as if to say you Whites own everything including racism itself. Your privilege is showing.
14. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it,” that is white privilege.
15. If no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, that is white privilege.
16. So if you have never experienced or considered how damaging it is/was/could be to grow up without myriad role models and images in school that reflect you in your required reading material or in the mainstream media, that is white privilege.
17. If you’ve never been blindsided when you are just trying to enjoy a meal by a well-paid faculty member’s patronizing and racist assumptions about how grateful black people must feel to be in their presence, you have white privilege.
18. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of a boss’s prejudiced, uninformed “how dare she question my ideas” badmouthing based solely on his ego and your race, you have white privilege.
19. If you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success with a floppy-eared, stuffed bunny rabbit so you won’t get harassed by the cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), you have white privilege.
20. If everything Black people say is either a lie, made up, blown out of proportion or something Black people should just “get over”, then you have White privilege.
21. Black people have problems White people don’t even have to think about simply because they are white.
22. If you’re White, it’s not the defining moment in your life. It’s not a continued experience. It’s a one off in your life more than likely which is why it stands out.
23. Your White horror examples don’t work. Many tried to turn it all around and talk about the things that happened to them. Try just thinking about Black people here. It’s not a competition to tell the most horrible story or to not accept that white privilege exists because you had a horrible experience as a white person.
24. Why is it every time articles like this are written, White people start talking about THEIR experiences?
25. There always seems to be a need to negate Black peoples experiences with racism. A large part of White America is, and always will be, tone deaf to the racism experienced by Black and Latinx people. For some reason, it’s like most White people don’t WANT to hear our experiences with racism. It is an unwillingness to honestly empathize.
26. Telling Black people about the experiences that you have had as a White person being harassed by Blacks is like going to a third world country and telling them about the time that the water in your house was cut off for a month…
27. Being the one black person in class and having to voice the feelings of all black people “the black perspective”
28. Being told that you talk “white” or you act “white” or that you have a “white” name.
29. Not being able to voice your opinion because society thinks you’re complaining but you’re really stating facts
30. White people have the complexion for protection
31. White privilege, as a whole still offers better opportunity and treatment to poor Whites than to people of color
32.One reason White Privilege is hard for White people to see is that so much of White Privilege is the absence of bad things happening rather than the presence of good things happening.
33. White privilege is the freedom to coast through life believing that everyone is treated like you.
34. White privilege means when you cut your finger and grab a band-aid from the first aid kit, it matches your skin color. It means most hair salons will know how to style your hair. It means when people describe you as an individual, they don’t begin with the color of your skin.
35. When a White person responds to the statement “Black Lives Matter” by countering with “All Lives Matter” they exhibit blindness to the privilege of living outside of a painful and marginalizing lens highlighting their race; a privilege not enjoyed by Black, Red and Brown people.
36.The All Lives Matter retort comes specifically and uniquely to Black folk raising their voices. This is part of White denial about racism and privilege.
37. When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feel like oppression
38. The privilege of even speaking up about White privilege and being heard, and not ignored because of your skin color, is privilege itself.
39. Stop referring to People of Color as “minorities!” You scream white-privilege!
40. White people do not see their own privilege, even though it does exist. They can only see White privilege when it is underlined and contrasted against the same situations where the people do not have the same privilege(s).
41. “White Privilege” is often unrelated to wealth. It’s constant cultural affirmation everywhere you look; few if any social, professional or educational barriers. White privilege is being able to get a taxi any time and place you want one.
42. It’s possible to be poor and benefit from White Privilege. In fact it is guaranteed that if you are White you will enjoy certain privileges in the world and money has nothing to do with it.
43. It goes beyond a sense of entitlement or an intentional or unconscious expression of “White Privilege”…it has more to do with an unwillingness to acknowledge the existence of racism. It’s about White people wanting to feel good about themselves and not wanting to think about things which might make them uncomfortable.
44. The key element of white privilege theory is that it requires no racist intent, or overt racism. Though hardly a new concept, white privilege (along with its cousins “male privilege” and “straight privilege”)
45. Black people in America are more prone to oppression. Systemic, home grown, calculated, wholesale oppression. Oppression may take the person who could’ve have been a great legal businessperson and turns him into a drug dealer. Takes the person who could’ve been a great salesperson and turns him into a con-man. Takes the person who could’ve been a lawyer and turns him into a hustler. Not to say that there aren’t black people who overcome their circumstances to make a legal way in this society but you lose 10 for every 1 that makes it to the promised land. Remove the oppression and the people will take advantage of the opportunity. The problem is, many white people are okay with oppression as long as you aren’t doing it to them. As long as they don’t get pulled over for nothing every other week, they are just fine with it. That’s white privilege. The things that don’t happen to you because you’re white and you don’t even know it.
46. Over the course of U.S. history only White people enjoyed and possessed the rights which they loudly proclaimed were fundamentally human rights.
47. Members of the dominant group, the one which has the privilege, to deny that it exists or that it could exist. Which is precisely what we white folks do (for the most part) when faced with claims by people of color that we enjoy social privilege by virtue of the social fact that we are taken to be white.
48. “White Privilege” isn’t a term meant to diminish individuality, it’s not a personal attack. White privilege is a systemic cultural reality.
49. “White Privilege” is simply an interchangeable term for racial privilege, and refers only to race, not to other privileges a person may have been born into.
50. If what you are hearing in conversations centering around privilege, it’s your own bias and unwillingness to examine yourself, and create a straw-man argument to avoid seeing racial inequality for exactly what White Privilege is.
51. White privilege refers to any advantage, opportunity, benefit, head start, or general protection from negative societal mistreatment, which persons deemed white will typically enjoy, but which others will generally not enjoy.
52. White privilege is not the equivalent of nor is it interchangeable with class privilege or economic privilege
53. White people are 61.8 percent of the student population but receive 69.3 percent of scholarships. Less than 5 percent of all scholarship programs consider a students race. White people are 46.5 percent of the student population financially eligible for Pell Grants and receive about 48 percent of Pell Grants. Look at the data: http://www.finaid.org/schola…/20110902racescholarships.pdf . Please stop perpetuating this myth that you don’t have something because black people took it away from you.
54. To claim minorities focus on their differences is in itself White Privilege. Different from what, the majority? If those differences did not come with consequences there would be no problem. Perception is indeed reality, and everyone is viewing life from a difference lens, but to say it doesn’t exist because you don’t see it is in itself the epitome of White Privilege and refusing to talk about a problem is dysfunctional.
55. To say White Privilege in this country exists, is not the same as blaming White people for it.
56. Remember, even in privilege, Black people are oppressed.
57. If white people are not to blame because they “inherited” it, that would give them more reason to openly talk about this “inheritance” and do NOT accept it.
58. To stop talking about White Privilege awfully convenient for the majority.
59. Easy to say when you’re on the “right” side of privilege
60. The fact is until you can jump to your feet when asked to “stand up if you’d like to be treated like a Black man”, you still have White Privilege!
61. YOUR experiences do NOT in any shape, form or fashion invalidate anyone else’s pain and suffering. And, your perspective does NOT define the truth regarding the actual issue discussed
62. One of the perks of White Privilege is thinking you get to decide how we talk about atrocities committed against people of color.
63. The Fair Housing Act made discrimination in housing illegal in 1968, people of color had missed out on decades of robust growth in the housing markets (and much of the next generation missed out on that wealth building in the 20 years it took to fully implement the law).
64. When Black folks have several children they’re called irresponsible. When White people do, it’s called “19 Kids and Counting”. When Muslims are accosted for having the ABILITY to marry more than one wife, they’re called misogynistic. When White people do it, it’s called “Sister Wives”. When various cultures or Brown folks around the world have arranged marriages, they are shamed for it. When White people do it, it’s called “Marriage at First Sight”… Want to know what White Privilege is? Watch TLC
65. You cannot have an honest and real conversation about race in the USA. if you refuse to talk about what being White in the USA means.
66. We all have skin in the game, everyone needs to be involved and stop the semi-coherent rationalizations for their racist views.
67. White Privilege is like a virus which never will get cured… They get to break all types of rules but the White Privilege virus continues to spread.
68. Over the course of U.S. history only White people enjoyed and possessed the rights which they loudly proclaimed were fundamentally human rights.
69. “White Privilege” isn’t a term meant to diminish individuality, it’s not a personal attack. White privilege is a systemic cultural reality.
70. “White Privilege” is simply an interchangeable term for racial privilege, and refers only to race, not to other privileges a person may have been born into.
71. Let me get this straight. You terrorize and enslave an entire race for over 300 years. Ban them from your privileges for the next 100 years. Fill two thirds of your prisons with them until today and now you’re angry they don’t applaud your history.
72. The Obama administration decision affecting thousands of federal inmates does not alter states, which have increasingly come to rely on private firms to manage prison populations
73. White privilege refers to any advantage, opportunity, benefit, head start, or general protection from negative societal mistreatment, which persons deemed White will typically enjoy, but which others will generally not enjoy.
74. White people have prejudices about people of color because American culture has normalized whiteness, but the fact that people of color act “differently” further entrenches the “obvious correctness” of a white cultural norm. Why is it normal to eat with a fork instead of chopsticks? Why is it normal for a man to wear a suit to a business meeting instead of a loose, colorfully printed robe? Why is it normal to sit in a chair instead of on the floor? Why is a woman in a long gown and a bonnet accepted — archaic, perhaps, but accepted? Why is a nun wearing a black gown and habit accepted? Why is a woman in a burka and hijab somehow threatening? Why do we teach the way we do? Write our laws the way we do? In short, why is our society the way it is? All of these questions have the same answer: Because we live in a Western European society that was built by Western Europeans for Western Europeans to live in. This culture is so normative that most white people never have to think about it or even know it exists, because everything they do naturally fits the norm.
75. When some of us refer to Europeans its easier us to replace that word with White people and not always meant in a bad way.
76. Your attempt to spotlight bigotry was within itself a bigoted remark. Let me give you a history lesson. Any time you remove the individual from the equation and lump everyone from a demographic into one myopic assumption you are embracing a prejudicial stereotype. Such as it’s wrong to say all Hispanic people are illegal as it is not true. It’s wrong to say all Blacks are on welfare as it is not true. And it is wrong to blame all White people for the ignorance and intolerance in society, as it is not true.
77. Tell me about the time someone in your family or community was lynched because of the color of their skin. Tell me about the time when the KKK terrorized your family because of the color of their skin. Tell me about the time when you were forced to sit in the back of the bus because of the color of your skin. Tell me about the time when the National Guard had to be called in so you could go to school because people didn’t want you there because of the color of your skin. Tell me about the time you were not allowed to vote, get the housing you wanted, go school because of the color of your skin. Tell me about the time you were racially profiled by a shop owner or the police because of the color of your skin. Tell me about the time when your ancestors were enslaved because of the color of their skin. Tell me about the time when you rejoiced because FINALLY someone who looks like you won the presidency.
78. Most of the wealth of the White middle class was built on home equity – homes Black people were not allowed to buy.
79. Were any of your people on the slave ships? Did your great-grandmother walk the trail of tears, you’re just talking about how it was for poor Whites, you got to stay together 7 in a room while my ancestors had their babies ripped from their wombs! White’s weren’t lynched and burned or their genitals cut off at town picnics. Police didn’t shoot White men, didn’t breed you, Whites were never ripped from their homes and sold like dogs your families destroyed. Drugs and alcohol weren’t spread in your community. You are not subject to a justice system where you face harsher sentences for the same crime. You had it good. God save me from folks like you. Your ancestors were free.
80. The acute trauma endured by the incarcerated, the abused, the raped, the trafficked, the starved, the murdered, and the dispossessed does not exempt the perpetrators.
81. Never trust anyone who says they do not see color. This means to them, you are invisible. ~ Nayyirah Waheed
82. Would you tell a veteran to get over it? How about a mother who lost her child to a drunk driver? If not, why are you telling Black/Indigenous people to get over it? We’re being told we don’t have rights over how we’re represented in mainstream America. We’re being told we should ‘just get over it’ – but people who say this don’t comprehend what the issues are, and most don’t even care enough to do the research. When people know of us only as a ‘costume,’ something you dress up as for Halloween or for music videos, then you’ve stop thinking of us as people. This is incredibly dangerous because every day we fight for the basic human right to live our own lives without outsiders thinking it’s their job to determine our fate or define our identities. This is a privilege White people such as yourself take for granted.
83. To acquiesce to racism, bigotry, and misogyny is to condone and thus spread those evils. Getting over it is for people who don’t care. Did your great-grandmother walk the trail of tears? Were any of your people on the slave ships? Yes, 1st Nations people were traded for African’s so ships didn’t return to Europe empty. You’re talking about how it was for poor Whites, but your families got to stay together while my ancestors had their babies ripped from their wombs! Children forcefully taken from their parents and placed in boarding schools were raped, abused and many killed because there wasn’t enough room. Were any of your relatives beaten for speaking their native language? White’s weren’t lynched and burned or their genitals cut off at town picnics. Police didn’t shoot White men, didn’t breed you; Whites were never torn from their homes and sold like dogs your families destroyed. Drugs, alcohol, poison blankets weren’t spread in your community. Experimental vaccines weren’t tested on your ancestors. You are not subject to a justice system where you face harsher sentences for the same crime as a White person. You had it good. Your ancestors were free.
84. THE LAND IS NON- NEGOTIABLE, IT HAS NO PRICE TAG.
This is treaty land; land and water are the only things left to us other than stories passed down the ancestors. We had our languages taken away, many tongues are now extinct because Euro Christian’s killed the ancients; murdered our fathers and mothers, raped our sisters, brothers traded for African slaves so ships didn’t return to Europe empty.
Children were forcefully taken from their parents, placed in boarding schools where they were raped, abused and thousands killed because there wasn’t enough room to house them. White’s weren’t lynched and burned or their genitals cut off and shoved in their mouths at town picnics. Police didn’t shoot White men, didn’t breed them; Whites were never torn from their homes and sold like dogs or had families destroyed. Drugs, alcohol or smallpox infected blankets weren’t spread through their communities. Experimental vaccines weren’t tested on their ancestors. Euro Christian’s are not subject to a justice system where they face harsher sentences for the same crime as a White person.
So not only was our land stolen but they killed our food supply, and are continuing to kill almost all wildlife with chemicals., They’ve polluted our water looking for gold, fracking and pipelines, shoved bibles down our throats and refused to consider us until June 2, 1924 when Congress granted us citizenship to OUR OWN LAND. Yet they name their sports teams and streets after us, appropriate our regalia as *Halloween costumes* and claim to love nature despite what they’ve done to it.
Again; THE LAND IS NON- NEGOTIABLE, IT HAS NO PRICE TAG
85. Racism is the only invention White people won’t take credit for.
86. Chattel slavery is what most people have in mind when they think of the kind of slavery which existed in the United States before the Civil War. Slaves were actual property who could be bought, sold, traded or inherited.
87. Slavery in America began when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco.
88. Slavery existed in North America for 245 years.
89. History should be taught and not forgotten; you can’t whitewash it then call it legitimate history.
90. The transatlantic slave trade began during the 15th century when Portugal, and subsequently other European kingdoms, were finally able to expand overseas and reach Africa. The Portuguese first began to kidnap people from the west coast of Africa and to take those they enslaved back to Europe and took place across the Atlantic Ocean from the 15th through 19th centuries.
91. Start a bucket list with “whine incessantly” on it, and you can immediately mark it off as “accomplished”. Five + billion people on this planet would look at your standard of living with disbelief that you could possibly complain about not having “enough”. You’re white and you were born in this country which means (except for being female) you “hit the jackpot” in life. And, yet, you’re full of resentment that you don’t have “more”?
92. MISSING WHITE WOMAN SYNDROME is a phrase used by social scientists and media commentators to describe the extensive media coverage, especially in television, of missing person cases involving young, white, upper middle class women or girls. The phenomenon is defined as the media’s undue focus on upper-middle-class white women who disappear, with the disproportionate degree of coverage they receive being compared to cases of missing men, or women of color and of lower social classes i.e. a division of a society based on social and economic status.
93. It’s true for those who don’t see color as an issue. But when they walk out their front door and step into the real world, BECAUSE color isn’t an issue for them, they are blind to what’s happening around them…. They always make excuses “they had a weapon”, “they were acting in a threatening manner”, “they were running which made them look guilty” etc. and assume the dead must have some modicum of criminality, present some reasonable threat to the public, right, all because THEY don’t see color. Hello, You SHOULD see color, not be color blind. So get off your high color-blind horse and stand up and draw attention to the injustice! Your words are nothing but a cop-out to absolve you from having to get involved.
94. It’s much easier to say the Civil War was about money when your ancestors weren’t the currency.
95. TO IMMIGRANT: It’s interesting to see how even immigrants feel they have the right to dictate to blacks how they should feel about racism in their own country.
96. Part of racism is who is included and who is excluded, socially, economically and historically.
97. You’ve been taught the standard world view, but understanding issues of colonization is important to thinking critically. If you don’t understand what colonization is, and where it came from, how can you decolonize your own mind?”
I HAVE A BLACK FRIEND
1. White people, need to stop saying “I have a black friend” when they’re in race discussions because it’s all too commonly used to clear and absolve oneself from suspicion of racism. The complex ideology of racism creates an inferiority-superiority conjunction between races, something people have been conditioned into it because society either passively or aggressively says so.
2. Your comment “I’ve had some of my black friends _______” argument is one of the laziest ways to try to worm out of accepting responsibility for endorsing prejudice. It means you feel you can’t be racist because you have a friend whose pigmentation is darker than your own. It’s like claiming you can’t be sexist because you have a sister, mother, girlfriend or wife or insisting you’re not violent because you have a pacifist friend. You do understand it’s possible for a person to totally throw shade on a general population while culling favorites to save.
3. “Most black people suck, but not Bob, he’s cool”, which is often because or implies Bob is cool because he “acts white” in some way. It’s still racist, even if your racism has exceptions.
4. It’s perfectly possible for someone to be friends with another person while viewing them as “inferior”. E.g., “He’s my good friend, I like hanging out with him, but he’s an underachiever because he’s black.”
5. You’re excusing racism by saying “I have a black friend”
6. Knowing a black person, smiling at a black person and even hiring a black person are not reasons to ignore the problematic things that happen to black people on a daily basis.
7. Racism is a systemic issue; it is deeper than your personal relationships with Black people.
8. You’re impression that you can’t possibly be racist if you have black friends (or friends of color). “I’m not racist; I have black friends” is a statement which usually comes about when race is being discussed, often when a White person says something problematic and they’re are called out on it. They quickly consider the racial makeup of their friends and think that since Black people are in the mix, they can’t possibly be racist.
9. Contrary to popular belief, being racist and befriending Black people are not mutually exclusive.
Being racist and befriending Black people requires you to view Black people as inherently violent, lazy, stupid, and illiterate while you view your Black friend as the surprising exception to those qualities. Your Black friend has got the stamp of you White approval! Yay friendship!
10. Black people are not magical beings whose presence as friends or lovers in your lives erases you of all your racist ideologies.
11. Offering up one of your best friends in order to defend your virtue.
12. You can have a black friend and still hold ugly prejudices toward Black people. You can love your wife and still think women are just dumber than men. Racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. are not just about hatred.
13. People talk about “The Race Card” you’re attempting to hold up the “My Black Friend is ___ card “
14. Because you have a few token Black friends who haven’t expressed a problem with your bigoted opinions is not proof of anything.
15. Perhaps you’re simply out to find the meekest people who won’t call you out on anything.
16. During World War II, Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s head of the SS, complained that every German “…has his decent Jew. Of course the others are swine, but this one is a first-class Jew.”
17. This is a disclaimer used as an attempt to present a fig leaf, a deflection; because you’re saying it you can’t possibly hold truly offensive views, because, well, I’m friends with the group
18. Stop pretending your racism is patriotism
19. Never trust anyone who says they do not see color. this means to them, you are invisible. ~ Nayyirah Waheed