Examples of White Privilege
- I can go anywhere, whenever I want. I also can say anything I want.
- I can walk through certain neighborhoods without being stopped or asked questions.
- I can walk through a neighborhood without another culture giving me trouble.
- The first thing people see in me is not the color of my skin.
- When people describe me, they don’t refer to the color of my skin.
- If I am traveling around the country and I need to spend the night in a hotel, I am sure that I will to be ignored, patronized or discriminated against because of my color.
- I grew up able to go to the theater or to the movies and be reasonably sure the romantic leads will be white.
- I can tell a story to people of my own race and be reasonably sure the listeners will assume characters are white unless otherwise noted.
- I can go into a store without constantly being watched.
- I can be sure that when I meet people, they won’t judge me by my appearance and the way I dress.
- I can go anywhere I want and not feel like someone is talking about me. (Such as worrying if I’m going to kill them, or steal from them. I don’t have to worry that they will call me names.)
- I can be prejudiced against others, but they won’t be prejudiced against me.
- Growing up all the presidents whom I have watched giving speeches just so happened to all have been white men.
- If I commit a crime, I am assured that I will not be considered a disgrace to my race.
- I can try to get a job without worrying about being turned down on the basis of my color.
And Still More Examples of White Privilege
- If I choose, I can go a day, a week, a year or a lifetime without ever seriously thinking about race issues.
- I can speak out against rape, domestic violence or sexual child abuse without playing into racial stereotypes or having it reflect on my race.
- I can be pro-choice and for population control without analyzing racial implications.
- If I am mistaken for someone else it will be someone with whom I share some characteristic rather than simply similar (or not so similar) skin color.
- I can walk down a street without attracting negative or positive attention because of my race.
- I can easily find books and toys for my0 children that reflect positively on my cultural background displayed prominently throughout any book or toy store.
- I can buy skin and hair care items and make-up in any store that sells such products.
- Art and literature of my culture or that I produce is not considered “ethnic” curios.
- I can be in any environment and regardless of how I am dressed (unless I am in a designated uniform) it will not be assumed that I am a maintenance or menial worker.
- I can go to a restaurant or other establishment and if I get poor service I don’t have to wonder if it is because of my race.
- I don’t have to worry about people, especially males, in my life being harassed by the police simply because of their race unless I am in a multi-racial relationship.
- I can go to almost any meeting or gathering and see most or all faces of my color.
- I am never asked, directly or indirectly, how a person of my race feels about a particular situation or issue.
- I never have to deal with people who believe my race was eliminated or question my authenticity.
- I don’t have to fight the co-option of my spiritual practice.
- I can share aspects of my spiritual practice with anyone without worrying about betraying my cultural heritage.
- I am assured that tests to determine safety and effectiveness of medical treatment are relevant to my race.
- If in the acting profession, almost all the parts are for my race, and even when they’re not I can sometimes get away with playing them anyway.
- I can but any item without thinking about the exploitation of someone of my race.
- I am never asked if I know someone simply because they’re the same race as me.
- No one is worried about what will happen when my race is in the majority in the U.S.
What Can You Add?
What are you doing about the fact that not everyone has the same privileges?
See White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh (1989) for a list of examples