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To ask you about 'White privilege'

(162 Posts)
InTheBox Fri 30-Oct-15 16:58:10

I'm wondering if any of you know about this or have ever experienced it?

I've been reading a lot about this over the past weeks and I'm still working it out. I've only seen in the US, well actually on Twitter, the 'criming while white' hashtag which whilst humorous really spoke some home truths. I'm familiar with mixed race individuals being fetishised (I have one myself) but not necessarily earning privilege because of it iyswim. I'm not starting the thread to be goady but I'd be interested in your thoughts.

CuteAsaF0x Fri 30-Oct-15 17:03:36

I'm not sure I understand that hashtag, ''criming while white''.

I believe in white privilege of course though. What do you say that you have yourself? a fetish? I'm a bit confused to be honest.

Onthepigsback Fri 30-Oct-15 17:04:13

I think non white people are horrifically discriminated against in the UK. Certain groups more than others. Beyond that I don't know what else to say. Other than that it is a major issue that needs to be dealt with starting with the deepest recesses of the general publics minds. The privilege of white people us a direct result of racism.

EElisavetaOfBelsornia Fri 30-Oct-15 17:05:23

BAME people are massively disadvantaged by the justice system. This is white privilege. What don't you understand about this? No idea what you are on about re fetish.

OfaFrenchmind2 Fri 30-Oct-15 17:05:49

It may exist, I do not deny it. Life has been pretty easy for me, maybe because I am white. But on the other hand I am a woman, so does that cancel each other? The insecurity I can feel sometimes vs the opportunity I may have had due to the fairness of my skin?
But I refuse to feel any "white guilt", or female victimization, so I keep on living my life without second-guessing everything.

WorzelsCornyBrows Fri 30-Oct-15 17:07:09

As a white woman who gets sick of men telling me there's no privilege to being male, I would never dare claim that I'm not privileged for being white.

I have no idea what it's like to be a person of colour, but if a person of colour wants to tell me that they've been the victim of racism, whether it's explicit or otherwise, well then I believe them. It's pretty obvious to me that it's generally easier to succeed in many areas if you're white, it's obvious to me that discrimination is alive and well in the UK.

I can justifiably bemoan the presence of male privilege, but I'm not going to deny the presence of white privilege.

DurhamDurham Fri 30-Oct-15 17:08:53

I'm familiar with mixed race individuals being fetishised (I have one myself)

I don't understand this bit. Could you explain it a bit more?

mannequinonthemove Fri 30-Oct-15 17:09:11

Sometimes I think white privilege might be better understood by white people as an absence of discrimination due to their skin colour.

I'm mixed race (half white half Indian) and I still benefit from white privilege as I can pass as white in a way that many of my relatives do not.

Ever been picked out at airport security for a random check? What about more than 50% of the time when you fly? I've never been picked. But my dad gets singled out a lot. Understanding white privilege is part of recognising that.

InTheBox Fri 30-Oct-15 17:09:40

CuteAsaF0x Not that I have a mixed race fetish no! In that I have a mixed race dc who is constantly fetishised because of mixed heritage. The 'criming while white' hashtag came about because of various police brutality in the US to black individuals in innocuous circumstances and thus the hashtag was born with white individuals telling stories of when they'd been part taking in illegal activities but due to their race the police turned a blind eye.

Snossidge Fri 30-Oct-15 17:11:29

Anyone who is white has experienced white privilege.

The problem with privilege theory and identity politics though is it makes privilege a personal failing rather than a structural inequality.

OfaFrenchmind2 Fri 30-Oct-15 17:12:15

the hashtag was born with white individuals telling stories of when they'd been part taking in illegal activities but due to their race the police turned a blind eye.
Mmmhh... smells more than smug assholes than social warriors.

RealHuman Fri 30-Oct-15 17:13:11

I've never been stopped by security, even when I unknowingly had a hidden security tag in my purse for six months and couldn't work out why I set off shop alarms every time I went out.

I've never been asked, "But where are you from ORIGINALLY?" when I've said I'm from Sheffield.

I've never had people assume anything about my food preferences or academic abilities based on my colour.

NothingNewUnderTheSun Fri 30-Oct-15 17:15:06

In that I have a mixed race dc who is constantly fetishised because of mixed heritage

What on earth does this actually mean?

Excitedtoday Fri 30-Oct-15 17:19:07

I understand white privilege less as the presence of something positive and more as the absence of something negative.

So whiteness is seen as the 'right' or 'normal' state of affairs and non-whiteness is 'other'. As a white person, my privilege is being considered 'normal' rather than 'other'.

God, such a bad explanation. Sorry!

RealHuman Fri 30-Oct-15 17:19:30

I assume it means fetishised in the sense that her race and looks are constantly commented on as being exotic, beautiful, or unexpected, people comment on her hair and how it must be difficult to deal with or is so different, people say how "they" are so cute, or how "mixed children are always so attractive", or any number of weird things people say to mixed-race people and/or their parents.

InTheBox Fri 30-Oct-15 17:21:12

NothingNewUnderTheSun I appreciate the wording in my OP being open to being misunderstood and making me appear as though I have a strange fetish for mixed race people but I've clarified that. Maybe your issue is with the term 'fetish' but it largely means that her heritage comes before who she is as a person.

VashtaNerada Fri 30-Oct-15 17:24:08

It's always hard for those with privilege to truly understand it (as I am always saying to DH!) but my understanding of white privilege is things like white recruiting managers being more likely to give me a job as I'm 'one of them', my DC seeing themselves reflected in media and therefore seeing themselves as 'normal', and people of authority generally speaking to me in a respectful manner.

Apiarist Fri 30-Oct-15 17:24:29

I'm not sure it's all the helpful a construct.

It was an original re-framing of a much discussed issue; A subversion of the obvious problem that in western societies, BAME groups and individuals are insidiously under- or less privileged. I think maybe the originality helped it catch on.

It has been contaminated by the horrendous, tedious shut-down "Check your privilege".

Plus it doesn't address the intersectionality of privilege or dis-privilege (it's alienating because it suggests ALL white people are privileged with no nuance).

I also have doubts about the mathematics of the implication that a majority can be more privileged than average. The problem is much better described the other way around.

Personally I'd rather address the lack of privilege all minorities have to endure.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Excitedtoday Fri 30-Oct-15 17:29:27

What I mean is that it's never assumed I'll eat weird food at a family BBQ because I'm white, so my food tastes are 'normal'. DM always asks my DH what food he'd like in, what his mum cooks because he's black so his food tastes must be 'odd'.

Similarly, DH and I are both well educated with very good jobs. People assume this is normal for me and never seem surprised when I tell them what my job is. For DH, people are nearly always surprised at his education and his job because of his colour.

So, I see my privilege as being the fact that my success, my tastes in food, my tastes in music etc. are seen as perfectly legitimate and normal but DH's are all somehow tied with his colour even when it's something not expected from him as a black person.

As a white person, I also feel privileged to be able to walk down a dark street at night with my hood up and not have people cross the road or be stopped and searched, both of which have happened to DH numerous times. This, of course, does also have a lot to do with gender.

I also feel privileged that I can walk into a room at work and pretty much everyone will look like me- I won't be the only person of my race in the room.

I also feel privileged that when I go to Boots to buy 'nude' tights, there are about 7 different shades for my white legs. My black SIL has to make do with one shade. Being 'nude' means having white skin. Same goes for make-up.

I also feel privileged that when people see my very English name written down they don't make assumptions about what I will look like, sounds like or what my story will be. This isn't the same for someone called, for example, Mohammed or Tyrese.

AdjustableWench Fri 30-Oct-15 17:31:17

I benefit from white privilege every time I leave the house, and sometimes even when I don't. It doesn't occur to me that strangers might shout offensive things at me based on my skin colour. I never have to worry that my colleagues might discriminate against me in hidden ways because I'm white. When I was pulled over by cops because one of my tyres looked a bit bald (it was barely legal) it didn't occur to me that my skin colour might enter into the dynamics. I have never had to think about the possibility that my kids might be bullied at school because of the colour of their skin. I can be outraged by the BNP and UKIP without ever having to wonder whether their shameful rhetoric could ever affect me personally.

Of course, there are some privileges I don't enjoy (e.g. male privilege). But I do think white privilege becomes quite apparent if you have even one friend/partner of colour.

BuffytheScaryFeministBOO Fri 30-Oct-15 17:32:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OfaFrenchmind2 Fri 30-Oct-15 17:36:40

Excitedtoday Yeah, but so what? Of course, when living in a country where the majority of people are white, you are more likely to be in a room full of white people, the names are mostly going to be western, etc...
market-wise, in a population that is majorly white, the companies are going to offer a biggest range. No point in spending money on a big range for a expected income that will not cover the cost. Companies are not non-profit. Should you "check your privilege", have white guilt because of that? That would be just silly.

Apiarist Fri 30-Oct-15 17:41:49

As a white person, I also feel privileged to be able to walk down a dark street at night with my hood up and not have people cross the road or be stopped and searched

Nobody should feel privileged to be able to do that. Everybody should be able to.

tabulahrasa Fri 30-Oct-15 17:43:54

"market-wise, in a population that is majorly white, the companies are going to offer a biggest range. No point in spending money on a big range for a expected income that will not cover the cost."

Why would there be extra cost involved in making a few more shades of something they already make? They don't need to flood the market with them, or make them out of different things or in a different environment...

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