Education

It’s Time to Educate Yourself and Acknowledge Your White Privilege

Don't ignore your privilege or pretend it doesn't exist.

“Privilege” is a buzzword in more than just dense social justice discourse. There are many of types privilege like male privilege, able-boded privilege, cisgender privilege and white privilege. Many people fail to acknowledge their privilege, citing their own personal struggles or experiences to show that their life isn’t “easy.” But privilege is more than just “easy.” Having white privilege means you benefit from the systematic racism that harms people of color. If you are white, you benefit. No exceptions. Now is the time to education yourself about privilege, and if you are white, acknowledge your own.

This article was inspired by Rachel Cargle, an activist, writer and lecturer who teaches and writes about race and feminism.

Cargle breaks down important issues about the intersection of race and womanhood through intellectual discourse, but also on her social media platform. She calls out white people for being complacent in oppression. Many people are angered or outraged by her straightforward approach to calling out racism and injustice. But Rachel Cargle’s voice is extremely important. She speaks out over the wave of hate to educate, inspire and speak the truth.

To those who are demanding I “choose love and light and peace” over my outrage and anger in regard to racism in this country I need you to listen to me: • Love is ensuring the most marginalized receive justice! • Light is ensuring the darkest areas of our society get seen & held accountable for their harmful actions! • Peace is the ability for black people to know that the color of our skin won’t determine our safety, opportunity and livelihood! • With that being said the only way you’ll TRULY be sending me your love and light is through your intentional and tangible solidarity and action. • If my anger towards injustice makes you more uncomfortable than the injustices themselves then you are indeed part of the problem. • Art by: @jeeheipark • Action item: google the term ‘spiritual bypassing’ • #manifest #manifestation #raciam #blm #soul #spirit #yoga #crystals #essentialoils #goodvibes #goddess #yoga #retreat #yogaretreat #seattle #nyc #la #daniellelaporte #marieforleo #gabriellebernstein #spiritual #success #lifecoach #bookclub #nyc #lululemon #doterra #wanderlust #gltlove #teachersofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #catsofinstagram

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White feminism is exclusionary, and its agenda benefits only white, cisgender women.

White feminists silence black women. They belittle and cut down their experiences to consider us all women who should be “on the same side” fighting for the same equality. But if that equality doesn’t include acknowledging systematic racism, it’s a limited and exclusionary view of equality. While we are all women living in patriarchal society, white women benefit immensely from white privilege. Don’t forget, 53 percent of white women in America voted for Trump. Cargle recently spoke on the podcast Black Girl Mixtape with host EbonyJanice about white feminism, and the work they do as black women.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkX84XBAout/?taken-by=rachel.cargle

It’s important to remember that being “nice” doesn’t equate to being an active ally. It also doesn’t mean you’re not racist.

This is similar to the “I have a black friend, so I can’t be racist,” idea. But it goes deeper. Just because you are “nice” to black people doesn’t mean you don’t benefit from white privilege, or that you aren’t racist. Even if you perform a racist action with “good intention,” like calling the police on a POC you see in public who you think might be “dangerous,” doesn’t mean it wasn’t racist.

It’s not just a lynching on a tree that silences black voices, it’s also the white doctors at hospitals telling women of color their pain is invalid. It’s not just burning down a black churches that takes away lives, it is the water crises in flint not being taken seriously by the American government and our babies bodies effected in long lasting ways. It’s not just men with guns in trucks waving the confederate flag that make people of color continuously feel unsafe, it’s the way way white women use the police as their customer service when they don’t want to have us around putting our bodies at risk of what THEY KNOW happens when police are on the scene with black lives.

– Rachel Cargel

White people: listen to people of color. Hear their experiences. Don’t butt in with your own.

Acknowledge that despite your background, or your own personal issues, you still benefit from white privilege. Black people have the police called on them for reading or sleeping in common spaces at their universities. Black mothers and infants are much more likely to die due to pregnancy-related complications because of stress caused by systematic racism. As a white person, I do not feel fear for my life if I’m pulled over for a routine traffic stop. I live in a city with no fear of interacting with police officers. My life has problems like anyone else’s, but that doesn’t mean I don’t benefit from white privilege

By ignoring your privilege, or denying it exists, you are complacent in an oppressive society that benefits you. Do not expect praise for being a decent person. Remember your discomfort over confronting your privilege is a privilege in itself. Discomfort is small compared to the fear and injustice that come from systematic racism.

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Mariel Cariker is a recent graduate of Boston University, where she...