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.

It's impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. ~ Malcolm X
US gender pay gap, by sex, race-ethnicity-2009.png
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.
  • What is White Privilege? The reality that a White person’s whiteness has come—and continues to come—with an array of benefits and advantages not shared by many people of color. It doesn’t mean that I, as a White person, don’t work hard (I do) or that I haven’t suffered (well, I have known struggle), but simply that I receive help, often unacknowledged assistance, because I am White.
  • Here are lessons people of color have taught me that have changed my life—and they could change yours as well. 1. I Have The Privilege Of Having A Positive Relationship With The Police, Generally... 2. I Have The Privilege Of Being Favored By School Authorities...3. I Have The Privilege Of Attending Segregated Schools Of Affluence...That’s true, even if I’m White and poor...4. I Have The Privilege Of Learning About My Race In School...Unfortunately, in too many schools and districts, ethnic studies is not even an elective... 5. I Have The Privilege Of Finding Children’s Books That Overwhelmingly Represent My Race... 6. I Have The Privilege Of Soaking In Media Blatantly Biased Toward My Race... 7. I Have The Privilege Of Escaping Violent Stereotypes Associated With My Race... 8. I Have The Privilege Of Playing The Colorblind Card, Wiping The Slate Clean Of Centuries Of Racism... 9. I Have The Privilege Of Being Insulated From The Daily Toll Of Racism... 10. I Have The Privilege Of Living Ignorant Of The Dire State Of Racism Today...
    We are living during a “Civil Rights Movement.” Will you spend it enjoying the privilege to ignore the movement—or will you join it?
  • 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

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