Wednesday, February 16, 2011

White Privilege?

My professor from my African American Religious History class just posted a list of everything she gets because she is white (her white privilege). I thought I would post my response. Many of the items/events on the list were things that I have just gotten used to some of them like getting a card with a person on it that looks like me is one of the most exciting events that can happen. I will see if I can get permission and post some quotes from her post in class.

Here is the essay her post was based on. If you scroll about halfway down you will see the list.
Anyways here is my response.

That list is fascinating, sad, and true. I didn’t really think about it but many of the examples on that list are significant. Getting a card with people who look like you is an exciting feeling for a little girl. Not being able to find a wedding topper with an interracial couple is nearly impossible (we used Black Barbie and Ken instead).

I also have many of those advantages when I am with white people, with the exception of the last twenty. : ) Ok so I also have the economic advantages, not the others. (I typed the first sentence before I finished reading the list, but it made me think so I left it.) I only get followed around Sheels in RC when with others who are Native or black. By myself I am fine. : )

As of the last few years, I have realized that a lot of my economic advantage has come from the fact that I was raised by white parents (my biological mom and adoptive father) and not my biological father or with my half siblings. I grew up on the nice side of town and went to the good/rich/white school, not the “poor little school” (as the previous superintendent referred to the other school.  I’m not sure that I am allowed to tell people that).

If you look at my biological siblings, none of them went to college or even managed to make it as a “productive member of society,” as my parents would say. (They were both in gangs; my sister is dead and my brother in jail). They both had to deal with a lot of racism. They are the two kids that were living with our biological father (Anthony Dye) in this newspaper article.

People (close white family members again, I love them all) tell me that it is not because of race but because I work hard. Both of my siblings also worked hard. I do work hard as well, but I also didn’t grow up watching my daddy get shot when I was 10 years old, and then move to one of the worst reservations in the US, either. It is hard not to attribute my success, at least somewhat, on the race of my parents or their situations. My grandma (also white) does as well. She has told me that she is glad about these specific situations and others. For example, she congratulated me not because I had gotten engaged but because I “found a nice white boy,” and then explained why it would be detrimental for me to be with a black man.

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