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Sunday, 14 February 2016

What is 'White Privilege'? Does it exist?



WHAT IS WHITE PRIVILEGE?

Does it exist?????

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White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. Academic perspectives such as critical race theory and whiteness studies use the concept of "white privilege" to analyse how racism and racialized societies affect the lives of white or white-skinned people.

According to Peggy McIntosh, whites in Western societies enjoy advantages that non-whites do not experience, as "an invisible package of unearned assets". White privilege denotes both obvious and less obvious passive advantages that white people may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice. These include cultural affirmations of one's own worth; presumed greater social status; and freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely. The effects can be seen in professional, educational, and personal contexts. The concept of white privilege also implies the right to assume the universality of one's own experiences, marking others as different or exceptional while perceiving oneself as normal.

The concept has attracted attention and some opposition. Some critics say that the term uses the concept of "whiteness" as a proxy for class or other social privilege or as a distraction from deeper underlying problems of inequality. Others state that it is not that whiteness is a proxy but that many other social privileges are interconnected with it, requiring complex and careful analysis to identify how whiteness contributes to privilege. Critics of white privilege also propose alternate definitions of whiteness and exceptions to or limits of white identity, arguing that the concept of "white privilege" ignores important differences between white sub-populations and individuals and suggesting that the notion of whiteness cannot be inclusive of all white people. They note a problem with the interpretation of people of color, in that it fails to acknowledge the diversity of people of colour and ethnicity within these groups.Conservative critics have offered more direct critiques of the concept; one writes that "today … the lives of minorities are no longer stunted by prejudice and 'white privilege,'" while another says that the concept is a danger to the project of achieving an equal society.


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