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What it means to be white

Privilege comes with responsibility

Brigid Duffy

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As a white female in this country, I have something known as white privilege.

Because this privilege is so deeply rooted in society, I will never fully understand the problems people of color face.

I haven’t faced adversity because of my skin color, and I never will. It’s important to realize that as white people, we have this privilege because of the color of our skin. We live in a society where people of color don’t have the same treatment as white people. Not only different treatment, but mistreatment. People of color are guilty until proven innocent, deprived of equal opportunities and rendered second-class citizens.

White supremacy is everywhere in the United States – plastered all over society. On TV, the majority of actors are white, news anchors are mostly white, the CEOs of companies are white and the Western world is presented as white. In the United States, people of color are seen as less than. I will never know what it’s like to be scared for my life in the presence of police because of the color of my skin. I will never know what it’s like to feel scared driving home from a party or going to a friend’s house because of my skin. I am not a target because I am white.

Although society has made major improvements in the last few decades, there is still so much more room to grow. Having a black president doesn’t make the country less racist — there remains a gross injustice nationwide regardless.

In a study conducted by the Department of Education, black students are expelled at three times the rate as white students. American Indian and Native-Alaskan students represent less than 1 percent of students, but 3 percent of expulsions. According to USA Today, white families earn a median household income of $55,412 per year, compared to $32,229 per year for black families and $38,624 for Hispanic families.

It would be easy to say that color is just a color, but because of the racism so deeply ingrained in society, it is hard to move past the microaggressions and stereotypes. In order to make a change it is important to have a conversation and recognize that as white people, we have a responsibility to accept our privilege and use it to advocate for the rights of people of color.

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1 Comment

One Response to “What it means to be white”

  1. Nick on May 31st, 2016 2:31 pm

    In the study involving the expulsions, was it the same acts causing different results? For example did the black student do the same thing as the white student but there was seperate results? Or was it two different acts? Also do you think that the reason the income is different is because of the skin color or because of the qualifications needed?


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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School
What it means to be white