White privilege

societal privilege based on skin lightness

White privilege is the societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people in some societies.

Boston Protester White Privilege


  • White is a metaphor for power, and that is simply a way of describing Chase Manhattan Bank.
  • I can't condition myself to see or to rebel against institutional privilege if I can't first see them in myself.
  • It is the Capitalist bourgeoisie that creates inequality as a way to divide and rule over the entire working class. White skin privilege is a form of domination by Capital over white labor as well as oppressed nationality labor, not just providing material incentives to "buy off" white workers and set them against Black and other oppressed workers. This explains the obedience of white labor to Capitalism and the State. The white working class does not see their better off condition as part of the system of exploitation. After centuries of political and social indoctrination, they feel their privileged position is just and proper, and what is more has been "earned." They feel threatened by social gains of non-white workers, which is why they so vehemently opposed affirmative action plans to benefit minorities in jobs and hiring, and to redress years of discrimination against them. It is also why white workers have opposed most civil rights legislation.
  • Whites have inherited wealth that was ostensibly generated on the backs of African Americans. What's passed down through generations is an abdication of responsibility for this legacy and for the spoils that even working-class whites continue to reap from it. The situation is akin to finding a bloodied bag of money at your doorstep every month and spending it freely without seriously questioning where it came from or whose blood has been spilled to make it possible.
    • David H. Ikard and Martell Lee Teasley, Nation of Cowards: Black Activism in Barack Obama’s Post-Racial America (Indiana University Press: 2012), p. 54
  • You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying, "Now you are free to go where you want, and do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please." You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, "You are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe that you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates. And this is the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity. We seek not just legal equity but human ability, not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact, and equality as a result.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson Statement on affirmative action in the LBJ Commencement Address at Howard University (4 June 1965)
  • American families are in the process of passing along a $9 trillion legacy from one generation to the next. ... Hand in hand with this money, I submit, what is really being handed down from generation to generation is the profound legacy of reproducing racial inequality. The legacy is difficult to discern because the language of family heritage hides it from our political consciousness.
    • Thomas M. Shapiro, The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality (2005), p. 32
  • It's impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism.
    • Malcolm X, Speech, May 29, 1964, in The Harlem Hate-Gang-Scare, p. 69

See also

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