Lovell's Food For Thought - Perception versus Reality Part I

Explaining White privilege to People, Especially Some People of Color

CNN/ Newswire | 9/3/2014, 6 a.m.
As I continue to see people, especially some people of color, talk about how they pulled themselves up by their ...

I came across this blog written by Gina Crosley-Corcaran called “Explaining White privilege to a Broke White People. Well, after hearing a few African Americans who have succeeded say that racism and “white privilege” does exist and did not block their ability to achieve, I thought I would review Peggy McIntosh’s “white privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” and share a few thoughts and questions about “white privilege.” These are paraphrased from what was asked by Gina Crosley-Carcaran in her article.

Mr./Ms. African American who has succeed can you turn on your television or open the front page of your local and/or national newspaper and see people of your race widely represented in a power light, and please don’t mention the ‘Bill Cosby Show?

Ok, if a traffic cop stops you and pulls you over, what do you think that interaction will be like, especially in a predominantly white neighborhood or an area of town that you are not perceived to belong in? Think of the recent altercation of the black producer in Hollywood who went to pull money in a parking meter only to end up in jail. Ok, this may not apply to some of you if you are being driven around in a limo.

If you should need to move, could you be pretty much assured of renting or purchasing housing in an area which you can afford and in which you would want to live. Ok, for some of you, you can hire someone to do this. But if you had to do it on your own, what do you think the results would be? Ok, you live in a neighbor few can live in and can be pretty assured that your neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to you. Well, it may be hard for you to think about the rest of us, but try.

Now this one may apply to you when you go out. Can you go shopping alone most of the time and are pretty well assured that you will not be followed or harassed?

I just came across an article in Inside Higher ED entitled “New approaches to attacking the racial /economic achievement gap (essay) (Attacking the Opportunity Gap)” by two white males David Bergerson and Scott Greytak. I do agree that programs that values (there is that word again), “socioeconomic status, place (geographic diversity), and race will produce both higher economic diversity and higher racial diversity than either race alone (affirmative action) or class alone. Such a program as the Intellectual Entrepreneurship program exists in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas Austin. It has proved to be successful without ignoring the fact that racism and “white privilege” is still an issue. As I often say, we all have biases. It is not that we have the bias; it is what we do with it. They have managed to develop and implement a program where over 70% of its interns are from underrepresented groups.