EDITORIAL: What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday I was tagged in a post by an old high school friend, asking me and a few others a very public, direct question about white privilege and racism.  I feel compelled not only to publish his query but also my response to it, as it may be a helpful discourse for more than just a handful of folks on Facebook.

Here’s his post:

“To all of my Black or mixed race FB friends, I must profess a blissful ignorance of this “White Privilege” of which I’m apparently guilty of possessing. By not being able to fully put myself in the shoes of someone from a background/race/religion/gender/ nationality/body type that differs from my own makes me part of the problem, according to what I’m now hearing. Despite my treating everyone with respect and humor my entire life (as far as I know), I’m somehow complicit in the misfortune of others. I’m not saying I’m colorblind, but whatever racism/sexism/other -ism my life experience has instilled in me stays within me, and is not manifested in the way I treat others (which is not the case with far too many, I know).

So that I may be enlightened, can you please share with me some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you? If I am to understand this, I need people I know personally to show me how I’m missing what’s going on. Personal examples only. I’m not trying to be insensitive, I only want to understand (but not from the media). I apologize if this comes off as crass or offends anyone.”

Here’s my response:

Hi, Jason.  First off, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve quoted your post and made it part of mine.  I think the heart of what you’ve asked of your friends of color is extremely important and I think my response needs much more space than as a reply on your feed.  I truly thank you for wanting to understand what you are having a hard time understanding.  Coincidentally, over the last few days I have been thinking about sharing some of the incidents of prejudice/racism I’ve experienced in my lifetime – in fact I just spoke with my sister Lesa about how to best do this yesterday – because I realized many of my friends – especially the white ones – have no idea what I’ve experienced/dealt with unless they were present (and aware) when it happened.  There are two reasons for this : 1) because not only as a human being do I suppress the painful and uncomfortable in an effort to make it go away, I was also taught within my community (I was raised in the ‘70s & ‘80s – it’s shifted somewhat now) and by society at large NOT to make a fuss, speak out, or rock the boat. To just “deal with it,” lest more trouble follow (which sadly, it often does).  2) Fear of being questioned or dismissed with “Are you sure that’s what you heard?” or “Are you sure that’s what they meant?” and being angered and upset all over again by well-meaning-but-hurtful and essentially unsupportive responses.

So, again, I’m glad you asked, because I really want to answer. But as I do, please know a few things first: 1) This is not even close to the whole list. I’m cherrypicking because none of us have all day.  2) I’ve been really lucky. Most of what I share below is mild compared to what others in my family and community have endured. 3) I’m going to go in chronological order so you might begin to glimpse the tonnage and why what many white folks might feel is a “Where did all of this come from?” moment in society has been festering individually and collectively for the LIFETIME of pretty much every black or brown person living in America today regardless of wealth or opportunity. 4)Some of what I share covers sexism, too – intersectionality is another term I’m sure you’ve heard and want to put quotes around, but it’s a real thing, too, just like white privilege.  But you’ve requested a focus on personal experiences with racism, so here it goes:

1. When I was 3, my family moved into an upper-middle class, all-white neighborhood. We had a big backyard, so my parents built a pool. Not the only pool on the block, but the only one neighborhood boys started throwing rocks into. White boys. One day my mom ID’d one as the boy from across the street, went to his house, told his mother and fortunately, his mother believed mine.  My mom not only got an apology, but also had that boy jump in our pool and retrieve every single rock. No more rocks after that. Then Mom even invited him to come over to swim sometime if he asked permission. Everyone became friends. This one has a happy ending because my mom was and is badass about matters like these, but I hope you can see that the white privilege in this situation is being able to move into a “nice” neighborhood and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of vandalism and hostility.

2. When my older sister was 5, a white boy named Mark called her a “nigger” after she beat him in a race at school. She didn’t know what it meant but in her gut, she knew it was bad. This was the first time I’d seen my father the kind of angry that has nowhere to go.  I somehow understood it was because not only had some boy verbally assaulted his daughter and had gotten away with it, it had way too early introduced her (and me) to that term and the reality of what it meant – that some white people would be cruel and careless with black people’s feelings just because of our skin color. Or our achievement.  If it’s unclear in any way, the point here is if you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life, where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.

3. Sophomore year of high school. I had Mr. Melrose for Algebra 2. Some time within the first few weeks of class, he points out that I’m “the only spook” in the class.  This was meant to be funny.  It wasn’t.  So, I doubt it will surprise you I was relieved when he took medical leave after suffering a heart attack and was replaced by a sub for the rest of the semester.  The point here is if you’ve never been ‘the only one’ of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, etc. and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation – you have white privilege.

4. When we started getting our college acceptances senior year, I remember some white male classmates pissed that another black classmate had gotten into UCLA while they didn’t. They said that affirmative action had given him “their spot” and it wasn’t fair.  An actual friend of theirs. Who’d worked his ass off.  The point here is if you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it”that is white privilege.

5. When I got accepted to Harvard (as a fellow AP student you were witness to what an academic beast I was in high school, yes?), three separate times I encountered white strangers as I prepped for my maiden trip to Cambridge that rankle to this day. The first was the white doctor giving me a physical at Kaiser: Me: “I need to send an immunization report to my college so I can matriculate.” Doctor: “Where are you going?” Me: “Harvard.” Doctor: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”  The second was in a store, looking for supplies I needed from Harvard’s suggested “what to bring with you” list.  Store employee: “Where are you going?” Me: “Harvard.”  Store employee: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”  The third was at UPS, shipping off boxes of said “what to bring” to Harvard.  I was in line behind a white boy mailing boxes to Princeton, and in front of a white woman sending her child’s boxes to wherever. Woman, to the boy: “What college are you going to?”  Boy: “Princeton.”  Woman: “Congratulations!”  Woman, to me: “Where are you sending your boxes?” Me: “Harvard.”  Woman: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?” I think: “No bitch, the one downtown next to the liquor store.”  But I say, gesturing to my LABELED boxes: “Yes, the one in Massachusetts.”  Then she says congratulations but it’s too fucking late.  The point here is if no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, that is white privilege.

6. In my freshman college tutorial, our small group of 4-5 was assigned to read Thoreau, Emerson, Malcolm X, Joseph Conrad, Dreiser, etc. When it was the week to discuss “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” one white boy boldly claimed he couldn’t even get through it because he couldn’t relate and didn’t think he should be forced to read it. I don’t remember the words I said, but I still remember the feeling – I think it’s what doctors refer to as chandelier pain – as soon as a sensitive area on a patient is touched, they shoot through the roof – that’s what I felt.  I know I said something like my whole life I’ve had to read “things that don’t have anything to do with me or that I relate to” but I find a way anyway because that’s what learning is about – trying to understand other people’s perspectives.  The point here is – the canon of literature studied in the United States, as well as the majority of television and movies – have focused primarily on the works or achievements of white men.  So if you have never experienced or considered how damaging it is/was/could be to grow up without myriad role models and images in school that reflect you in your required reading material or in the mainstream media – that is white privilege. 

7. All seniors at Harvard are invited to a fancy, seated group lunch with our respective dorm Masters. (Yes, they were called “Masters” up until this February when they changed it to “Faculty Deans,” but that’s just a tasty little side dish to the main course of this remembrance). While we were being served by the Dunster House cafeteria staff – the black ladies from Haiti and Boston that ran the line daily; I still remember Jackie’s kindness and warmth to this day – Master Sally mused out loud how proud they must be to be serving the nation’s best and brightest.  I don’t know if they heard her, but I did and it made me uncomfortable and sick.  The point here is, if you’ve never been blindsided when you are just trying to enjoy a meal by a well-paid faculty member’s patronizing and racist assumptions about how grateful black people must feel to be in their presence – you have white privilege.

8. While writing on a television show in my 30s, my new white male boss – who had only known me for a few days – had unbeknownst to me told another writer on staff he thought I was conceited, didn’t know as much I thought I did, and didn’t have the talent I thought I had.  And what exactly had happened in those few days?  I disagreed with a pitch where he suggested our lead female character carelessly leave a pot holder on the stove and burn down her apartment.  This character being a professional caterer.  When what he said about me was revealed months later (by then he’d come to respect and rely on me), he apologized for  prejudging me because I was a black woman.  I told him he was ignorant and clearly had a lot to learn.  It was a good talk because he was remorseful and open. But the point here is, if you’ve never been on the receiving end of a boss’s prejudiced, uninformed “how dare she question my ideas” badmouthing based on solely on his ego and your race, you have white privilege.

9.  On my very first date with my now husband, I climbed into his car and saw baby wipes on the passenger side floor.  He said he didn’t have kids, they were just there to clean up messes in the car.  I twisted to secure my seatbelt and saw a stuffed animal in the rear window. I gave him a look. He said “I promise, I don’t have kids.  That’s only there so I don’t get stopped by the police.”  He then told me that when he drove home from work late at night, he was getting stopped by cops constantly because he was a black man in a luxury car and they assumed it was either stolen or he was a drug dealer.  When he told a cop friend about this, he told Warren to put a stuffed animal in the rear window because it would change “his profile” to that of a family man and he was much less likely to be stopped.  The point here is, if you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success with a floppy-eared, stuffed bunny rabbit so you won’t get harassed by the cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), you have white privilege.

10. Six years ago, I started a Facebook page that has grown into a website called Good Black News because I was shocked to find there were no sites dedicated solely to publishing the positive things black people do. (And let me explain here how biased the coverage of mainstream media is in case you don’t already have a clue – as I curate, I can’t tell you how often I have to swap out a story’s photo to make it as positive as the content. Photos published of black folks in mainstream media are very often sullen or angry-looking.  Even when it’s a positive story!  I also have to constantly alter headlines to 1) include a person’s name and not have it just be “Black Man Wins Settlement” or “Carnegie Hall Gets 1st Black Board Member” or 2) rephrase it from a subtle subjugator like “ABC taps Viola Davis as Series Lead” to “Viola Davis Lands Lead on ABC Show” as is done for say, Jennifer Aniston or Steven Spielberg.)  I also receive a fair amount of highly offensive racist trolling.  I don’t even respond. I block and delete ASAP.  The point here is – not having to rewrite stories, headlines or swap photos while being trolled by racists when all you’re trying to do on a daily basis is promote positivity and share stories of hope and achievement and justice – that is white privilege.

Okay, Jason, there’s more but I’m exhausted.  And my kids need dinner.  Remembering and reliving many of these moments has been a strain and a drain (and again, this ain’t even the half or the worst of it).  But I hope my experiences shed some light for you on how institutional and personal racism have affected the entire life of a friend of yours to whom you’ve only been respectful and kind. I hope what I’ve shared makes you realize it’s not just strangers but people you know and care for who have suffered and are suffering because we are excluded from the privilege you have to not be judged, questioned or assaulted in any way because of your race.

As to you “being part of the problem,” trust me, nobody is mad at you for being white. Nobody. Just like nobody should be mad at me for being black. Or female. Or whatever. But what IS being asked of you is to acknowledge that white privilege DOES exist and to not only to treat people of races that differ from yours “with respect and humor,” but also to stand up for fair treatment and justice, to not let “jokes” or “off-color” comments by friends, co-workers or family slide by without challenge, and to continually make an effort to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, so we may all cherish and respect our unique and special contributions to society as much as we do our common ground.

With much love and respect,


“Got Privilege?” image provided by Maeve Richardson

852 thoughts on “EDITORIAL: What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege”

  1. Thank you for sharing, for putting yourself through that to share. It was gracious and loving and kind of you.

    This is my one issue this election year. The #BlackLivesMatter, and it not be turned into All Lives Matter. Those of us who have benefited not by what we have gained, but by not being subjected to the humiliations and injustices need to start to listen, and hear, and believe.

    Just prior to the link to your column, there was a link to a prayer by Marianne Williamson and it was lovely and expressed apologies for the injustices. But it said repeatedly “please forgive us”. I am afraid that at this point, we are not able to ask for forgiveness, because it hasn’t stopped. It clearly hasn’t stopped.

    Thank you again for your very gracious response.

    1. Thank you for this wonderful, painful, enlightening post. Everyone should read this–even if we think we understand the concept of white privilege, this is still illuminating.

      1. I love this analogy for the “All Lives Matter” response. I hope you do too.

        “Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment — indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any!

        The problem is that the statement “I should get my fair share” had an implicit “too” at the end: “I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else.” But your dad’s response treated your statement as though you meant “only I should get my fair share”, which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that “everyone should get their fair share,” while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.

        That’s the situation of the “black lives matter” movement. Culture, laws, the arts, religion, and everyone else repeatedly suggest that all lives should matter. Clearly, that message already abounds in our society.

        The problem is that, in practice, the world doesn’t work that way. You see the film Nightcrawler? You know the part where Renee Russo tells Jake Gyllenhal that she doesn’t want footage of a black or latino person dying, she wants news stories about affluent white people being killed? That’s not made up out of whole cloth — there is a news bias toward stories that the majority of the audience (who are white) can identify with. So when a young black man gets killed (prior to the recent police shootings), it’s generally not considered “news”, while a middle-aged white woman being killed is treated as news. And to a large degree, that is accurate — young black men are killed in significantly disproportionate numbers, which is why we don’t treat it as anything new. But the result is that, societally, we don’t pay as much attention to certain people’s deaths as we do to others. So, currently, we don’t treat all lives as though they matter equally.

        Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase “black lives matter” also has an implicit “too” at the end: it’s saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying “all lives matter” is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It’s a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means “only black lives matter,” when that is obviously not the case. And so saying “all lives matter” as a direct response to “black lives matter” is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem”

        By GeekAesthete


      2. Thank you for enlighten this man on issues that are always push aside with society. You have truly spoken graciously,and honest. Continue to let you’re voice be heard. I appreciate reading Editorial,God bless you.

      3. I am white lived in a $5,000 home my Dad bought. Once a year got a new pair of shoe’s,got my first bike when I was 12. Never had a pool,did not go to Harvard.Worked since I was 13,am 59 sick can no longer work. I live in a 1970 mobile home,get food stamps where is my white privilege? This is what Hillary made up,there is no such thing as white privilege. What you make of your life is your decision’point blank period

      4. I absolutely agree. I was raised by a mother who fought hard against a system that marginalized black people. I thought i knew all about ‘white privilege ‘ , i don’t. Thank you for opening my eyes.

      5. Dear Ms. Lakin Hutcherson,
        I just recently came across your thoughtful article and immediately wanted to have a dialogue with you. I hope you don’t find this too long but your words struck a chord. My name is Carlen Charleston. I am the Founder of ERASE Race, The American Unity Movement.
        I have copied your points and added my thoughts below each one.
        You may reach me at carlencharleston@eraceraces.com (US?)
        What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege

        When I was 3, my family moved into an upper-middle class, all-white neighborhood. We had a big backyard, so my parents built a pool. Not the only pool on the block, but the only one neighborhood boys started throwing rocks into. White boys. One day my mom ID’d one as the boy from across the street, went to his house, told his mother and fortunately, his mother believed mine.  My mom not only got an apology, but also had that boy jump in our pool and retrieve every single rock. No more rocks after that. Then Mom even invited him to come over to swim sometime if he asked permission. Everyone became friends. This one has a happy ending because my mom was and is badass about matters like these, but I hope you can see that the white privilege in this situation is being able to move into a “nice” neighborhood and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of vandalism and hostility.

        I grew up in Prairie View, TX. The city was 99% black. Every Halloween, especially in my teen years, my brothers and few other friends would go out “wilding.” We were simply bad kids. We threw eggs at passing motorists or at houses. The residents were of course, “black” just as we were. In our community, they didn’t get rocks thrown in the pool, but they got eggs thrown at their cars or their houses by some rambunctious teenage boys. This is not a case of privilege. Houses get robbed, neighbors throw trash in neighbors yards, teenagers vandalize property and many of those incidents happen between people of the same shades of skin. Besides, does it matter what color the offenders are when they commit a crime or an indecent act? I guess only if we want to fit it into a narrative about “white privilege.” White privilege is another social fabrication that puts “white” people on the defensive making them victimizers even when there is no clear victim. It’s like a class action lawsuit. One “white” guy does something wrong towards a “person of color” and everyone else jumps in on to say, “see there goes white privilege.”

        Could it be that you make the case for “white privilege” in your case only because the others were a different skin color than yours? What if the same thing happened in your neighborhood from teenage “black” boys? I’m not sure anyone escapes bad happening to them in life. We double down on the bad when we ourselves from the perpetrators because of skin color which also seems heightens the importance of the event.

        2. When my older sister was 5, a white boy named Mark called her a “nigger” after she beat him in a race at school. She didn’t know what it meant but in her gut, she knew it was bad. This was the first time I’d seen my father the kind of angry that has nowhere to go.  I somehow understood it was because not only had some boy verbally assaulted his daughter and had gotten away with it, it had way too early introduced her (and me) to that term and the reality of what it meant – that some white people would be cruel and careless with black people’s feelings just because of our skin color. Or our achievement.  If it’s unclear in any way, the point here is if you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life, where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.
        So the obvious question is, “if the exact opposite happened, is there ‘black privilege?’ Here’s my story,
        When I was in elementary school, my older sister, who is now an acclaimed principle of an early college school here in Texas, was in junior high school. My mother was a teacher at the junior high school where my sister attended and this episode was shortly after integration/busing in our part of Texas. My sister was a rebel and one day used a racial epithet in addressing a “white” teacher, calling her a “white patty who needs to get the wrinkles out of her face.” This situation made an indelible mark on my life as my parents reprimanded my sister for denigrating the “white” teacher and hating her because she was “white.” At that point in my life, I realized that people will hate others because of skin color alone and that’s what my sister did and my parents weren’t having it. So what kind of privilege was that? My sister went on to learn that it is wrong to judge people based on skin color and many others have as well.
        3. Sophomore year of high school. I had Mr. Melrose for Algebra 2. Some time within the first few weeks of class, he points out that I’m “the only spook” in the class.  This was meant to be funny.  It wasn’t.  So, I doubt it will surprise you I was relieved when he took medical leave after suffering a heart attack and was replaced by a sub for the rest of the semester.  The point here is if you’ve never been ‘the only one’ of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, etc. and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation – you have white privilege.

As a sophomore college football player, I was a computer science major. Dr Swigger was our instructor, a lean, middle-aged “white” woman. I never realized it at the time, but I was the only one of my race in the class with numerous Asians, Caucasians and other people. Dr Swigger was the authority figure in the class and I was shocked one day, when she made the following statement in class, “Carlen is a football player and he’s smart too.” Wow! That hit me like a lead balloon. She pointed me out specifically and stereotyped me based on football players. I didn’t think less of Dr Swigger. In fact, at the time, I thought of it as a compliment. However, I very easily could’ve become defensive about what she was trying to communicate. While this was not as negative as the example in the article above, it nevertheless points out that just as there are negative situations where authority figures have pointed out things, there can also be very positive situations where this has happened. Are we to only retain the negative experiences?

        4. When we started getting our college acceptances senior year, I remember some white male classmates pissed that another black classmate had gotten into UCLA while they didn’t. They said that affirmative action had given him “their spot” and it wasn’t fair.  An actual friend of theirs. Who’d worked his ass off.  The point here is if you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it” – that is white privilege.
        I was surprised when my daughter decided that she wanted to become a Marine and attend Paris Island Marine Corps boot camp. At the time, I was a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel and was serving as a Junior ROTC instructor at a high school in Texas. I had to mentally prepare my daughter for the rigors of Marine Corps boot camp because I knew it would not be easy. While there, my daughter suffered some injuries that threatened her successful completion of boot camp. In the end, she made it through and after graduation, I talked to my daughter about some of the final exams and tests and she said that some she completed but some she didn’t. It was only the day of her graduation that I realized that she graduated because they knew that her dad was a Lieutenant Colonel. She had privilege that may not have been afforded to others who didn’t have a dad in that position. It wasn’t “black” or “white” privilege, but privilege nonetheless. Privilege comes in many forms and it really is just a matter of sight. Were we to see all of the manifestations of opportunities that we have in life, we would all see that we are privileged. Of course we don’t all have the same privilege, but we all have opportunities afforded us because of our particular lot in life. It’s up to us to determine what we do with that privilege.

        5. When I got accepted to Harvard (as a fellow AP student you were witness to what an academic beast I was in high school, yes?), three separate times I encountered white strangers as I prepped for my maiden trip to Cambridge that rankle to this day. The first was the white doctor giving me a physical at Kaiser: Me: “I need to send an immunization report to my college so I can matriculate.” Doctor: “Where are you going?” Me: “Harvard.” Doctor: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”  The second was in a store, looking for supplies I needed from Harvard’s suggested “what to bring with you” list.  Store employee: “Where are you going?” Me: “Harvard.”  Store employee: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”  The third was at UPS, shipping off boxes of said “what to bring” to Harvard.  I was in line behind a white boy mailing boxes to Princeton, and in front of a white woman sending her child’s boxes to wherever. Woman, to the boy: “What college are you going to?”  Boy: “Princeton.”  Woman: “Congratulations!”  Woman, to me: “Where are you sending your boxes?” Me: “Harvard.”  Woman: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?” I think: “No bitch, the one downtown next to the liquor store.”  But I say, gesturing to my LABELED boxes: “Yes, the one in Massachusetts.”  Then she says congratulations but it’s too fucking late.  The point here is if no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, that is white privilege.
        This is really the dog wagging the tail. We created this thing called “white privilege” so we have to fit something into that box. Think about it, what is the likelihood that a “black” female is going to Harvard compared to that female going to the University of Georgia, Howard, or Spellman? So while it would be nice if we were not presumptive as human beings, that’s just not the case for any of us. Here’s how it is manifested. I didn’t realize how ‘trailblazing’ it was to be a ‘black’ officer in the Marine Corps in the mid-80’s. When I arrived at my first duty station, I was surprised to hear young, enlisted personnel remark when referring to me, “I’ve never seen a ‘black’ officer.” I ignored it and kept moving. Many years later and after being retired, I returned to civilian life and on numerous occasions I have been in conversation with other Marines and armed forces personnel and in almost 100% of the cases, the other member asks me where I attended boot camp, which insinuates that I am enlisted rather than an officer. Enlisted personnel are generally high school graduates, while officers are generally college graduates. If I wanted to, I could make that a racial charge, but the reality is that ‘blacks’ make up a small percentage of the officer corps and a much smaller percentage of the Marine Corps in general, so looking at the odds, they would probably be safe to assume that I was enlisted. They are usually surprised when I respond that I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. The point here is that we do have a history of ‘blacks’ not reaching certain positions in this country and it is understandable if some use that history to make assumptions. We should make the correction and move on. Many years from now because of our efforts, the assumptions will change.
        6. In my freshman college tutorial, our small group of 4-5 was assigned to read Thoreau, Emerson, Malcolm X, Joseph Conrad, Dreiser, etc. When it was the week to discuss “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” one white boy boldly claimed he couldn’t even get through it because he couldn’t relate and didn’t think he should be forced to read it. I don’t remember the words I said, but I still remember the feeling – I think it’s what doctors refer to as chandelier pain – as soon as a sensitive area on a patient is touched, they shoot through the roof – that’s what I felt.  I know I said something like my whole life I’ve had to read “things that don’t have anything to do with me or that I relate to” but I find a way anyway because that’s what learning is about – trying to understand other people’s perspectives.  The point here is – the canon of literature studied in the United States, as well as the majority of television and movies – have focused primarily on the works or achievements of white men.  So if you have never experienced or considered how damaging it is/was/could be to grow up without myriad role models and images in school that reflect you in your required reading material or in the mainstream media – that is white privilege. 

        I love this one because I think so much of what happens in the area of ‘race’ is based on the premise that there is such a thing as ‘race.’ In other words, as an avid reader in 3rd grade, I read everything I could and my mom subscribed to the “I can read to” series of books and it was cool. Amazingly, reading made me become the characters in the books. That had an impact on my life growing up. I never saw the color of a superhero in the cartoons, I was him. I never saw the color of Lewis & Clark on their expedition, I was them. I never thought of the color of Christopher Columbus, I wanted to explore new lands. Of course much of that was naïve and innocent, but I think it’s important to expand the universe of role models for our children. I taught high school for 12 years and I hope that I was a role model for all of the thousands of children that I have taught and many of them without my skin tone. I think my students, without regard to their skin tones would say, and indeed many have, that I was a role model for them. Skin-tone considerations for role models is only applicable when we’ve been trained that way. I love the Condoleeza Rice example. She makes the point that mentors don’t have to look like you. She was a woman who wanted to be Secretary of State. There had been none. Her mentors were ‘white’ men who saw her ability and helped her along. Mine was a “white” officer named, Major Warren Muldrow. Finally, my biggest role model was my mom. What our society would call a ‘black’ woman, who was simply amazing at what she was able to accomplish. Before teaching in the early 60’s, she was working in the data-processing center (computers-60’s). She would bring home Hollerith punched cards and we made Christmas decorations out of them. She then went on to teach math at a Junior High School for many years. To me, she was all that I saw in Mary Jackson who worked at NASA and was portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures. By her life, she made me believe that anything was possible and she never said, “but because you’re black” so I never thought my color mattered and while it may to others, to me it never will. Thanks mom, RIP.
        7. All seniors at Harvard are invited to a fancy, seated group lunch with our respective dorm Masters. (Yes, they were called “Masters” up until this February when they changed it to “Faculty Deans,” but that’s just a tasty little side dish to the main course of this remembrance). While we were being served by the Dunster House cafeteria staff – the black ladies from Haiti and Boston that ran the line daily; I still remember Jackie’s kindness and warmth to this day – Master Sally mused out loud how proud they must be to be serving the nation’s best and brightest.  I don’t know if they heard her, but I did and it made me uncomfortable and sick.  The point here is, if you’ve never been blindsided when you are just trying to enjoy a meal by a well-paid faculty member’s patronizing and racist assumptions about how grateful black people must feel to be in their presence – you have white privilege.

        So this one is much easier to resolve. Master Sally made a statement that you did not appreciate. Did you address Master Sally or did you just extrapolate her statement into a much broader narrative to generalize about “white privilege?” I don’t know where you grew up, or perhaps you were really young at the time, but to be blindsided by prejudice is to not understand the nature of humanity. If we see or hear this type of thing, it is our responsibility to check it appropriately and not to use it as proof of another one of our misguided social constructs, which both ‘race’ and ‘white privilege’ are. Life is about Unity not separation.

        8. While writing on a television show in my 30s, my new white male boss – who had only known me for a few days – had unbeknownst to me told another writer on staff he thought I was conceited, didn’t know as much I thought I did, and didn’t have the talent I thought I had.  And what exactly had happened in those few days?  I disagreed with a pitch where he suggested our lead female character carelessly leave a pot holder on the stove and burn down her apartment.  This character being a professional caterer.  When what he said about me was revealed months later (by then he’d come to respect and rely on me), he apologized for  prejudging me because I was a black woman.  I told him he was ignorant and clearly had a lot to learn.  It was a good talk because he was remorseful and open. But the point here is, if you’ve never been on the receiving end of a boss’s prejudiced, uninformed “how dare she question my ideas” badmouthing based on solely on his ego and your race, you have white privilege.

        Maybe this one should fit in the sexism bucket instead. Of course if he admitted to prejudging you because you were a ‘black woman,’ he’s not only a ‘racist’ and a ‘sexist,’ but he’s also very honest and contrite. My question is still, why is this ‘white privilege?’ Because this man has issues, ‘white privilege’ exists? There are millions of reasons for people to be prejudiced against a coworker or an employee that don’t fit into the ‘white privilege’ box. Even with his bias, prejudice and outright racism, does that create ‘white privilege?’ Does ‘black privilege’ exist if my black male boss says and does the same thing towards a ‘white’ person? As a hobby I do bodybuilding. A couple of years ago I went to a competition in Texas in a place I had never been before and the competition was run by people I did not know. I happened to notice that all of the judges were ‘black.’ Then as they began to announce the winners, though I was not cheated and did not win, I noticed that the other ‘non-white’ competitors against my personal views, always finished ahead of what I thought were better competitors (whites). In one case it was really extreme, but I must admit this is only my personal opinion and I really want to simply ask the question, knowing the capability for separation in the heart, is it possible that this happens? Maybe it’s not a ‘privilege’ problem, but perhaps a ‘heart’ problem.

        9.  On my very first date with my now husband, I climbed into his car and saw baby wipes on the passenger side floor.  He said he didn’t have kids, they were just there to clean up messes in the car.  I twisted to secure my seatbelt and saw a stuffed animal in the rear window. I gave him a look. He said “I promise, I don’t have kids.  That’s only there so I don’t get stopped by the police.”  He then told me that when he drove home from work late at night, he was getting stopped by cops constantly because he was a black man in a luxury car and they assumed it was either stolen or he was a drug dealer.  When he told a cop friend about this, he told Warren to put a stuffed animal in the rear window because it would change “his profile” to that of a family man and he was much less likely to be stopped.  The point here is, if you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success with a floppy-eared, stuffed bunny rabbit so you won’t get harassed by the cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), you have white privilege.

        OK this one really needs addressing. I liken this to anyone who has ever gone to McDonald’s and received bad service. If it happened on numerous occasions, then you make a generalized statement about McDonald’s. So if a person is continually pulled over then they can make a generalized statement about officers. However the narrative creates an expectation from those unaffected who then use the experience of others to create an expectation, frequency and likelihood of occurrence. I’m a middle-aged ‘black’ man and I’ve owned nice BMW’s before and after being married and have never been pulled over by police while driving either. Lucky? Not sure but I didn’t have a floppy-eared animal in my back window either. My point here is that there are bad cops just like there are bad employees at McDonalds. To create a narrative that they are all that way is to negate the many great officers who are doing their jobs every day with a heart to serve the community. Maybe we should keep score. I think the good officers would win.
        10. Six years ago, I started a Facebook page that has grown into a website called Good Black News because I was shocked to find there were no sites dedicated solely to publishing the positive things black people do. (And let me explain here how biased the coverage of mainstream media is in case you don’t already have a clue – as I curate, I can’t tell you how often I have to swap out a story’s photo to make it as positive as the content. Photos published of black folks in mainstream media are very often sullen or angry-looking.  Even when it’s a positive story!  I also have to constantly alter headlines to 1) include a person’s name and not have it just be “Black Man Wins Settlement” or “Carnegie Hall Gets 1st Black Board Member” or 2) rephrase it from a subtle subjugator like “ABC taps Viola Davis as Series Lead” to “Viola Davis Lands Lead on ABC Show” as is done for say, Jennifer Aniston or Steven Spielberg.)  I also receive a fair amount of highly offensive racist trolling.  I don’t even respond. I block and delete ASAP.  The point here is – not having to rewrite stories, headlines or swap photos while being trolled by racists when all you’re trying to do on a daily basis is promote positivity and share stories of hope and achievement and justice – that is white privilege.

        I must admit that I don’t know the world of journalism and newsroom editing, but isn’t everyone subject to those constraints when writing? Doesn’t the editor make the call on the tone of the article and what the headline should be? And if you’re not being trolled by racists, you’re being trolled by democrats, republicans, leftists, rightists, gay, straight, pro-black, white nationalist and so on. This is simply the way life goes when you’re trying to live it in a positive manner. I hate to see this as a phenomenon that we believe would go away if we somehow defeated ‘white privilege.’ I just don’t understand how it can be ‘white privilege’ if the same thing happens in a business, community or organization that has only ‘blacks.’ Most every example of a ‘white privilege’ incident has a twin that has happened within the same skin-tone people group, e.g. ‘blacks’ or ‘whites.’ So is it really ‘white privilege’ or has that social construct become a catch-all that we conveniently throw things in?
        We have to drop the skin-tone descriptors and choose to evaluate individuals. That way we can appropriately care for those who desire to care with us while not offending them by placing them in a victimizer status, which ‘white privilege’ does. Every opportunity is a privilege and when I woke up this morning, I had an opportunity, thus a privilege and it carries no color.

    2. Thank you so much for this clear insight. I have white privileges. I have been blessed with friends who have helped open my eyes, and you have shown me another facet that I’ve not considered.
      I am grateful that my sister posted this on Facebook this morning and I got to read it and pass it along. Bless you

      1. Gay Pride! No everyone should be proud. Thanks to our Veterans! No thank you all Americans, many Americans have tales of courage, bravery and loss. You see where I’m going with this?

      2. I read with earnest your article on White Privilege, initially found in YES! … I must admit, I initially found the examples to be somewhat overly sensitive, and was at least slightly defensive. In my mind i could easily offer an alternate interpretation of the example. One tends to see what they want to see and, as a white male, I failed to see my advantage or privilege. As I read further I continued to discount the noted incidents. As an example, the Harvard story. I initially read this and interpreted the dis-belief not that you were not smart or bright enough, but that Harvard had a “white reputation”, and your entry was even more impressive… However, it wasn’t until the last paragraph where the light bulb came on for me. The question of privilege, isn’t what I get that you don’t, or what is available to me that is not for you. This is not entry to the local country club… Privilege as I now understand it is really intangible… I shudder to think about some of the off coloured jokes that came from my lips in an attempt to be “funny”. How embarrassing for those who I may have offended, and worse, how embarrassing for me!! Thankfully, I grew out of that stage and now wouldn’t think speaking that way today. I also realize that to stand by silently while others would make these comments, is to silently support a view… Wonderfully explained and written… i thank you for that!

    3. With all due respect and acknowledgment for your life’s experiences and treatment, I still feel very compelled to point out that black individuals are not the only people who have been subjected to life long discrimination & abuse. I am a 57 yr old white LGBT woman who has been called horrific names, bullied & beaten up, excluded and ridiculed (to name just a few) since I was 8. I am married (which I must point out was not legal across the country until LAST YEAR), & yet my wife can’t even wear her wedding ring to work for fear of reprisal. We can’t go out in public as a married couple. My daughter can’t introduce me as the only other parent she has ever known for fear of ridicule and reprisal from her friends, & she starts college in the fall. And I’m sure I don’t have to mention that LGBT individuals are the subject of discrimination and violence everywhere. I share this with you, and others whom read your FB page, in the hopes that perhaps you will understand that when some of us say #ALLLIVESMATTER; that we are by in no means discounting that truly indeed #BLACKLIVESMATTER, but that we are trying to help bring healing and compassion to all lives who are suffering. Could we, and should we not also include the homeless, the mentally ill, our veterans and troops, the poor and hungry, our immigrants, and most especially our children in our “LIVESMATTER” movement? It is time to focus on restoring humanity, not dividing it by senseless violence on anyone’s part. Thank you for allowing me to present my views. God bless all.

      1. Uighur! There you go with your rendition of “Look at me, I’ve been oppressed too.” Please! 1- she isn’t referring to LGBT issues and 2- your statement reeks of white privilege! Please have several seats! This is NOT your movement today!! Furthermore the LGBT community has made more strides in the last 2 years when it too years for blacks and women to even get the right to vote! Please do NOT compare your issues to those descendants of slaves who were raped, beaten, castrated, lynched, psychologically abused, dehumanized and murdered because of the color of our skin! NOT TODAY FELECIA! NOT TODAY!!!

      2. Julie, you are subjugating her experience as inferior in importance to yours. I don’t discount your experience, but, frankly, you have federal law on your side and it is there whether people choose to follow it or not, but there are reprisals if they don’t. On the other hand, Lori has people denying bias against people of color on an hourly basis. Don’t hijack her platform. Acknowledge, commiserate, and realize that there is an inherent “too” in BLM…

      3. Julie, so you are going to suggest to the LGBT community to stop having gay pride day then right? Cuz during that time Its all about LGBT pride. Why are you not complaining that it should be All pride day instead? How would you feel if during your gay pride celebration someone just walked up and asked why you are having it. You explained to express pride and fight discrimination for the gay community. Well they respond with that they feel compelled to point out that gays are not the only ones discriminated against and they are jewish and had the holocost. And they go into detail about how much the jews have been discriminated and killed etc. And that you should stop saying gay pride and it should be all pride for everyone and to start focusing on restoring humanity and stop dividing people. How would you feel?

      4. Clearly you don’t get it! BLM became necessary because innocent people are being killed and there is neither remedy nor remorse! That you just don’t get this is the reason why we have to say black lives matter TOO!!! If you can provide valid statistics that prove innocent, unarmed white gay people are being murdered as a result of state sanctioned violence, then you can make a logical argument here! The data does not support that your life is in imminent danger simply because of your physical appearance.

      5. Your experience as an LGBT should allow you to feel empathy – intersectionality – with this movement. It’s your racism that prevents you from doing that.

      6. When we say “Black lives matter,” it is because this nation has a tendency to say otherwise. Racial discrimination does affect all minorities but police brutality, at such excessive rates, does not.

        A black person is killed extrajudicially every 28 hrs, and Black men between ages 19 and 25 are the group most at risk to be gunned down by police. Based on data from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, young Blacks are 4.5 times more likely to be killed by police than any other age or racial group.

        African-Americans have comprised 26 percent of police shootings though we only makeup 13 percent of the U.S. population, based on data spanning from 1999 to 2011.

        In the 108 days since Mike Brown was killed by Darren Wilson and left on display in the middle of the street for four and a half hours, at least seven Black males have been shot and killed by law enforcement officers.

        Officers are provided the unrestricted right to use force at their discretion — and will not hesitate to do so — and Black bodies are more susceptible to greeting the business end of those state-issued firearms.

        Multiple factors such as clothing, location and individual behavior determine who gets stopped by the police and when. The way the process works … is if you take two equivalent people — a young white man and a young black man — who are dressed identically, the black man would still have a greater chance of being stopped. And it’s because his race is a basis of suspicion and it interacts with those other qualities in a way that makes them all seem more suspicious because it biases the judgment of everything.

        Granted, extrajudicial killings have dropped 70 percent in the last 40 to 50 years. Nearly 100 young black men were killed annually by police in the late 1960s, and these young men also comprised 25 percent of police killings between 1968 and 1974.

        Shootings fell to 35 per year in the 2000s though the risk is still higher for Black Americans than it is for whites, Latinos and Asians. My people are killed at 2.8 times the rate of white non-Latinos and 4.3 times the rate of Asians.

        I say all of this to say, though it has become less prevalent, police brutality has never affected another racial group like it affects us.

        Race brings on individual issues for each minority group. Saying “all lives matter” causes erasure of the differing disparities each group faces. Saying “all lives matter” is nothing more than you centering and inserting yourself within a very emotional and personal situation without any empathy or respect. Saying “all lives matter” is unnecessary.

        Non-black kids aren’t being killed like black kids are. Of course I’d be just as pissed if cops were gunning down white kids. Duh, but they aren’t. White assailants can litter movie theaters and bodies with bullets from automatic weapons and be apprehended alive but black kids can’t jaywalk or have toy guns in open carry states?

        There is seemingly no justice for Black life in America. An unarmed Black body can be gunned down without sufficient reasoning and left in the middle of the street on display for hours — just like victims of lynching.

        Strange fruit still hangs from our nations poplar trees. Lynching underwent a technological revolution. It evolved from nooses to guns and broken necks to bullet wounds.

        Police brutality is a BLACK issue. This is not an ill afflicting all Americans, but that does not mean you cannot stand in solidarity with us. But standing with us does not mean telling us how we should feel about our community’s marginalization. Standing with us means being with us in solidarity without being upset that this is for OUR PEOPLE — and wanting recognition for yours in this very specific context.

        Telling us that all lives matter is redundant. We know that already. But, just know, police violence and brutality disproportionately affects my people. Justice is not applied equally, laws are not applied equally and neither is our outrage. ✊ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZuaWzeGkC4

      7. No one shouts “ALL DISEASES MATTER” at a Walk for Life Cancer fundraiser. Stop being a dick and saying “all lives matter” to black people advocating for #BlackLivesMatter. You’re being willfully contrary and dismissive. Be a better ally.

      8. Hi Julie
        I’m sorry you have had such hard experiences. I hope things improve for you.
        I just want to note that trying to address everything can erase individual experiences, usually people without mainstream power. Another way of addressing everyone’s issues and fighting for them can be to listen to all voices – you can listen to BlackLivesMatter and also talk about LGBTQI rights and homelessness for families. Honestly. Then all the stories are heard from the mouths of the people who experience them, and I believe that’s when humans connect best with others.

      9. Julie Collins,
        Did you even read the article?
        Or did you just read the head-line?

        As a part of the (white) LGBTQ community myself I am appalled at your reply to Lori’s article.

        Even within our community we, as white people, have privilege! You know this!!

        I read a meme where it said: “Merry Christmas!” wherto the reply was “All Holidays matter!!”………that is what you sound like here.
        The fact that your College aged child does not tell her friends about you has clearly MORE to do with your antiquated right-wing view of the world, than the fact that you are in a same-sex marriage.
        I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t claim a parent like that either; no matter color, sexual orientation or gender identity.

        PS: Next time you’re about to throw your own community under the bus with a stupid reply, READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FIRST!

      10. Telling Julie her experience is isn’t one worth note or shouldn’t be compared is the text book definition of racism. To discount the issues that the LGBT community is going through because they didn’t suffer, which if you research any history you would pale at the things they have been through, is disrespectful to them, yourselves, and the black community, and if you don’t see how you need to read and educate yourself more before you bring hateful comments and prove her point over yours.

      11. Please work on your reading comprehension (as well as the comments above) and try to FULLY comprehend the meaning and import of “intersectionalism.” I’ve been at war with the tyranny of ‘Labels’ my entire adult life. Why can’t we STOP playing the “[my label] is better than [your label]” game (a negative-sum game) and eschew the Labels altogether? It is NOT a ‘solution’ to argue the hierarchy of Labels when fighting the tyranny. We must free ourselves of Labeling and of treating ourselves and others as commodities. We are, each of us, unique human beings in the entire history of humanity, with but one human attribute in common: the ability to love one another unconditionally. Let’s do that!

      12. It can’t be that hard to get your head around the concept that the word “white” in white privilege is about race and not sexual orientation. There is such a thing as “straight privilege” and you should address that and the folks who refuse to acknowledge it, rather than attack the people who are trying to have a productive conversation about racism.

        If you are using the abusive “alllivesmatter” statement as a means of being supportive of the LGBT community, please stop! That’s as bad as using “notallmen” to support…well, anything. Black Lives Matter is trying very, very hard to bring something horrible to an end. No, they are not losing focus on humanity, and no they don’t need your help to make them a better movement. If you were constantly encountering people complaining that your LGBT activism needed to include support to find a cure for cancer, would you consider that helping the movement? It doesn’t matter that you want something positive to come about. It matters that you think you have the right to undermine an important movement to do it.

      13. I am sorry for your suffering also, Julie. No one should suffer from the hatred of others!

      14. “Please do NOT compare your issues to those descendants of slaves who were raped, beaten, castrated, lynched, psychologically abused, dehumanized and murdered…”

        The Romans raped, pillaged, murdered and enslaved much of Europe for over 200 years.

      15. True, Julie. And every oppressed white person would feel more oppression if they were black and LGBT, or Black and mentally ill. How many times do you go to a ‘save the rainforest event’ and tell everyone, ALL TREES MATTER! do you go to Breast Cancer fund raisers to say “ALL CANCER MATTERS!” if you wouldn’t be that rude, think about why you see it as okay to be that rude when the subject is people of color.

      16. Julie
        I am a white woman from Texas. The majority of my family, maybe all, are racists. The majority of people I grew up with, racists. I grew up hearing “N” jokes. I could go on but my point is, when the people here use the phrase, “all lives matter,” what they are really saying is, ” but white lives matter more!”

      17. You have completely missed the point!!! Yes, many groups experience discrimination, but this is not about LGBTQ discrimination. Saying “all lives matter” in response to Black Lives Matter is like going to a HIV/AIDS event and yelling “cancer kills too”. Yes cancer kills people, but we’re not focused on that right now.

      18. Julie,
        I respect your opinion. My point to what you typed is it is not the right place to dilute this conversation by adding in another conversation. I would give you your due and talk about the struggles of the LGBT community and not compare that struggle with the struggle of being Black in a Democratic, “free” society. My point is, when the subject is the LGBT, I will keep my comments about the LGBT on the LGBT.
        It gives strength to a cause when those that support it discipline themselves to stay on subject.

      19. Julie. I am a 60you gay woman from the South and have had similar (and worse) experiences with homophobia and sexism throughout my life. I write here because you seem to miss the entire point of #BlackLivesMatter.

        This statement, this movement, has absolutely *nothing* to do with you or me. Of course, our lives matter also. Saying black lives matter takes nothing away from ours. Saying Support Cancer Research does not mean one does not Support ALS Research or Parkinson’s Research or Diabetes Research. It does not mean that Cancer takes precedence over all other diseases. It is simply the way a group of people who are impacted by cancer have come together to remind those who have not been impacted by the disease that we all need to come together in this fight. #BackLivesMatter is doing the same thing: reminding all of us that black lives and how we treat black lives in this country *should* matter to all of us regardless of whether or not we are the dominant group (privileged white males) or we are gay women or hispanic people or who-the-heck ever we are. It does in no way imply that we should reserve our compassion and care *only* for black lives. This smacks loudly of privilege and resentment, the same ridiculous argument that saying Happy Holidays as an inclusive way to recognize that December is a holiday for many religions somehow diminishes Christmas for Christians. Or to bring it home to you, Julie, the ridiculous contention that somehow the existence of your marriage somehow diminishes the *real* marriages of heterosexuals.

        #BlackLivesMatter isn’t about you. Don’t try to make it about you. Just try to make yourself more open to supporting these long disenfranchised people in whatever personal way in your own life you can. Recognize them. Do not join in the dogwhistling group of put upon people whining that they matter too. No one is saying otherwise.

      20. While I can agree that black individuals are not the only people who have been subjected to life long discrimination & abuse and that all lives matter, the writer’s goal was to address the issues she faced in her life as an African American.

      21. Julie, with all due respect for your pain, I must say anyone who is not a straight white Christian male in this country has no doubt experienced a tiny little bit of what Ms Hutcherson describes. The word “tiny” in no way is intended to minimize the enormity of the pain.

        But please – people! – take a beat. Take a dozen beats, and JUST LET “BLACK LIVES MATTER” BE!
        We need to stop piggy-backing on the motto because it’s such a good one.
        If anyone has a right to do that, it’s the Native, Original People of this land but you don’t see them doing that because they get it.

        Any adjustment to the statement that BLACK LIVES MATTER dilutes the message and diverts its focus.
        It becomes yet another validation that Black Lives Matter, but not quite so much as… (fill in the blank).
        It negates the very message is purports to agree with (but…).

        The fact is that, in this culture in the US, minority lives *have* been devalued, as have women’s lives over the centuries. So many of those groups have their own movements – women’s movement, LGBTQ movement, interfaith movements etc., and each gains a modicum of respect and standing in our minds without any voices being raised about their needing to become more inclusive.

        We need to let the Black Lives Matter movement do what it is setting out to do without interrupting it or co-opting it (as white culture has done with jazz, slang, fashion and so many other things originating in the black community) and GET THE MESSAGE.

        When head-start programs can be cut without much opposition, when pre-teens can get shot in a park within seconds while holding a toy gun and threatening no one and the cops get cleared, when a black man can get thrown in a police van without being seat-belted (a crime if a cop caught a black man doing that in his personal van, btw) and then driven around in such a way that his injuries kill him and the cops get cleared, when a black cop gets stopped and harassed driving around in his off-duty clothes and personal car, when families have to have “the talk” with their kids about how to handle themselves if stopped by a cop (far beyond the basic common-sense rules about being respectful most of us get), when white kids caught with weed get light sentences and black kids get prison time, when laws get passed easily (without challenge) that restrict access to voting and disproportionately target the poor, black community — it’s clear that we have an INSTITUTIONAL problem with giving equal weight to lives of others based on skin color.

        LET IT BE WHAT IT IS without comment, correction, editing, or any other input that smacks of “the white man’s burden.”

      22. With all due respect, no one said #ALLLIVESMATTER until #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement started. Meaning, why not start an #ALLLIVESMATTER movement fifty years ago? Seventy years ago? When black people were being beaten for sitting at a white lunch counter did ALLLIVESMATTER? When black people were maintaining their own businesses and being murdered because they were successful at being self sufficient in every aspect of life, did #ALLLIVESMATTER? Everyone knows #ALLLIVESMATTER but the history of America shows that #BLACKLIVESDONTMATTER! And the sad part, only because #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement started have people vocally come out to say #ALLLIVESMATTER! Sad that once again people of color try to find a voice and again “lets shut them up because their issues are once again irrelevant!”

      23. My perspective shows me that though you identify yourself as a minority, the WHITE level of your experience and ‘programming’ still rules and distorts just enough. It prevents you from seeing how recent happenings are different.

        #BLACKLIVESMATTER is front and center right now.. Black lives don’t deserve their “turn” in the “spotlight”? The everyday reality of black lives not only in this country but anywhere where the white man dominates, has never been as widely or deeply or as openly revealed in REAL-TIME as it has most recently.

        If it weren’t for #BLACKLIVESMATTER, all the rest of global humanity wouldn’t have been reminded, re-introduced or awakened to the ‘concept’, that #ALLIVESMATTER currently.

        .. and in such a deeply emotional, dramatically heart-felt, present, THUNDEROUS and pointed way. So black lives have no right to thunder? You want to steal that thunder? And the point of #BACKLIVESMATTER/#ALLIVESMATTER wasn’t sharp enough for you?

        I don’t remember fellow minorities (smaller groups that are different from the dominant society), or black lives in particular, making such a blatant fuss or veiled objection when vets, homeless, etc have been and are the focus.

      24. As an LGBTQ person myself, I have to disagree with you. BLACKLIVESMATTER is not about either / or. It’s not about saying racism is worse than other forms of oppression. It’s simply about demanding equal treatment for people of colour. Not equal legal rights- equal treatment. As a LGBTQ person I know you understand they are not the same. By saying ALLLIVESMATTER, you are diminishing the point- that people of colour do not currently benefit from equal treatment. It’s the same as the “why isn’t there a straight pride ” argument. There isn’t one because straight people don’t spend their lives being told they should pretend not to be themselves. Please respect the right of others to demand equal treatment. Better still, stand beside them and help them be heard x

      25. Why is it that when a person tells “their story”, people always feel compelled to compare it to their story? This is not your story. Read it and learn from it. You may be a a member of the LGBT community but just know this, unless you do something or dress a certain way or tell someone, no one would ever know. You could actually conceal that about yourself but this young “Black” woman is singled out the moment she walks into a room. Your experience is not the same and never will be so when asked tell your story and hope that it is received without a comparison to another group that has nothing to do with the current conversation. This is about being black in America………….you can best tell your story when the question is asked about being gay in America. Don’t confuse the two. I support the LGBT community wholeheartedly but I hate it when you dismiss her post by adding comments that have no relevance to the current discussion.

      26. Lori is writing of the cancer of racism. Julie is writing about the cancer of anti-LGBT rhetoric. Both social cancers exist. And they are cancer – social illnesses that are shredding the skin and bones of our country, of the world.

        Translate that to actual cancer. People with Rectal Cancer are not going to go to a Breast Cancer Awareness public event and start screaming “How DARE you focus on breast cancer! There are many cancers! All cancers matter!” That would be insane and rude and just plain stupid. Because yes, all cancers matter, but how you treat them each one may be different. There’s no magic bullet or pill.

        In fact, if you don’t concentrate on small incremental victories, nothing gets done. The problem is too vast. In any community situation, you put out the fire at the house that is burning before you dampen a neighboring house that is not burning, but “just in case.” Or go to the emergency room because you cut your hand off, but have to wait in the same line behind the person who wants a band-aid for his little owie. We’re talking very real social triage.

        Yes, we are all human. Undoubtedly. But everyone is not recognized as human. That is why the LGBT community is challenged daily on their very human right to marry. Or Trans people have their human right to identify with their gender taken away, they don’t know where to pee. Or why women make less money than men for equal work. Or why people who come to this country by illegal means to escape evil dictators or war or drug lords, for sanctuary or even, heck, to try to feed their kids, and work like slaves or livestock for slave wages for work we Americans won’t do, at least not for the pittance they will take – they are not considered human.

        When we are all human not only in the eyes of the law but in the eyes of each other, then we can advance as a human race.

      27. Hello 🙂 I read your response. I wanted to try and get you to understand something. Specifically the part where you mention how you and your spouse have to hide and pretend you’re not married for fear of reprisal. The point is you CAN hide that. Should you have to? Of Course not. But you CAN. That’s why we specify Black lives. Most of us don’t have the choice to hide from our blackness, and we should’nt have to. Putting any other word in front of the other two “lives matter” only serves to mute out our original sentiment. It is yet another way black people are being dismissed, discounted, and told that we don’t matter. All those problems existed before BLM came to be, so why is it that people want to throw these things in the face of people who just want to be treated with dignity, like any other group? I personally think that All Lives Matter is a way that flat out racists and bigots use well meaning people like yourself to undercut a threat to the status quo. The very status quo that threatens your right to be freely and fully who you are, wherever and whenever. Children matter most, but black ones are being shot in the streets, in daylight, off of the assumption that they are dangerous and have ill intent… because they are BLACK. We have to have conversations with our children SPECIFICALLY about how to STAY ALIVE, not just how to make friends or stay out of generic trouble. We see the media speak more highly of a gorilla that was shot than any of the MEN slain by police. It has to be addressed. HEAD ON. All Lives matter leaves wiggle room to dance around the issue. Black Lives matter strikes it at the heart.

      28. I agree with Julie, but also believe that you have provided a few very real examples of racism by a select few individuals which is just unimaginable. Without minimizing the importance of your experiences, it should also be noted that many people including myself and from all walks of life have been subjected to similar “bullying”.

        I have struggled with my weight all my life and subjected to ridicule and shamed by strangers, teachers, store clerks, and even my parents. I am from NY and my ex husband was from GA. I was blatantly called a Yankee, and in 2005 denied a bank loan for being a woman and told to bring father in law to the bank. My dog is a pitbull, and he is the most amazing pet I have ever owned. I have been denied housing and insurance for loving this amazing animal.

        My list could go on, but the point I am making here is this. Racism is unacceptable at any level. So is Bullying and all forms of discrimination. As a white person I had an immediate negative reaction to the term “White Priveledge” in your examples for one single reason. It just feels like a way to broadbrush all white people into a single category for actions commited in a single incedent by a single person.

        I know many white people that have interracial relationships or adopted children of a different race.

        Wasn’t the Black Lives Matter Movement created to promote fair and equal treatment without ratial bias? Why has it now turned into what feels like a war between black and white people? I will venture a guess… it’s all about perception, not about who got the piece of pie… one side feels entitlement but both sides feel discrimination. We should be promoting a unified front and working together not creating a divide and throwing blame…

      29. I totally get what you are saying but, someone used this analogy and I love it! If we are at a Breast Cancer Awareness 5K run, would it be fair or have you ever seen someone show up with Lung Cancer Awareness Signs, yelling out All cancers matter ? So it’s like let us have our movement because what we are saying is “Blacklivesmattertoo” it’s not in the phases but that’s what is means. We are not saying other lives don’t matter, you’d rather spend too much time debating the slogan than doing something positive for the cause

      30. Julie, imagine that, on top of all that, you went through more stuff due to your race. That’s “intersectionality.” According to disabled Black poet and activist Leroy Moore, 80 percent of the people killed by the police in this country are both Black and disabled. Interracial marriages were illegal in many states until very recently. My white friend Lisa was given a marriage license, but couldn’t find anyone to perform the wedding. No one can prove that it was because of the groom’s race, but we all knew.

        “All Lives Matter” is too vague to be helpful. It makes Black people feel silenced. If you are an ally to Black people, having known oppression yourself, then you will honor their request to refrain from using it until everyone realizes Black Lives Matter as much as white lives.

      31. I sympathize with your perspective,but can’t help but think that we haven’t seen a rash of LGBT people being shot by the police. I know there is true discrimination against many, many people. It breaks my heart that it took so long for marriage equality. Most often we hear that individuals attack LGBT persons. Here in Dallas there have been about 15 brutal assaults of gay men in the neighborhood where they most often gather for social events. The police have done very little about it, and that is incomprehensible to me. However, it isn’t the police assaulting the men. This is one distinction I would make in support of Black Lives Matter. Maybe the name would be a little better accepted if it were Black Lives Matter, too. Because that’s really the point.

      32. I am baffled and pissed when people say #ALLLIVESMATTER. It claims to be universally loving or life-affirming when it is not, because it presumes there is a limited supply of empathy for which we must compete. Like if compassion is expressed via #BLACKLIVESMATTER, no one will have any for you. I disagree. Empathy begets empathy.

      33. I agree with you IN PART. AS A BLACK WOMAN, MARRIED TO A BLACK MAN (although he has green eyes), AND HAVING BLACK CHILDREN (AND GRANDCHILDREN)… As YOU SAID… you and your family choose to “HIDE” your TRUTH… While ME and my family CAN NOT HIDE our truth… EVEN if we TRIED TO!!! So while I AM EMPATHETIC for YOUR plight… And the plight of others who have been shown some predjudices… I find VERY LITTLE EMPATHY for the plight of BLACK CITIZENS IN AND OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!! What I DO FIND however… AND LIKE YOU… others ONCE AGAIN… As the previous post stated… WILL SAY… “BLACK LIVES MATTER…. BUT.
        There SHOULD BE NO BUT’S!!!!!!! Because when WE say BLACK LIVES MATTER… WE ARE NOT SAYING “ONLY” Infront if or at the end of OUR statement. So PLEASE STOP saying “BUT”.

      34. At th and ndvof the day you are still white. If you never told anyone y were gay there would be no problem for you. I don’t think you can and/or should compare the two.

      35. Why do you want to keep the tragedy to yourself alone? It sounds like you ravel in your oppression, demand exclusivity to your oppression, and wish to explain all of the “black problem” by your beloved oppression.

      36. While I don’t think it’s fair for you to be discriminated against for your sexuality, it’s not a fair comparison because people don’t know your sexuality just by looking at you. When you walk into a job interview they don know you’re gay but they know I’m black. The thing that people hate about you is not out in plain sight. You at least have the option to conceal your sexuality to avoid mistreatment and discrimination, but I can never conceal the fact that I’m black. I HAVE to endure discrimination. I don’t get to “take my skin off” like your wife gets to “take her ring off”. You say you can’t go out in public as a married couple but I can’t go out in public AT ALL without being black. Your comment further illustrates white privilege in that you think because you’re gay our struggles are the same. Theyre not. You complain about having to conceal who you are while I would loooooove the opportunity to be ambiguous for a day. I would love to be seen minus my race. I would love to have the opportunity to not have my race be a factor of my identity. You don’t know how “privledged” you are to be able to customize the way others see you by being able to conceal parts of your identity. Walk around with an “Im a lesbian” T shirt on and see how long you can stand having you sexuality displayed to the world. Being black is like NEVER being able to take that T shirt (or ring) off. No other group except physically disabled individuals know what that is like. To be judged based on things you literally have no control over. You don’t either. And that, my friend, is white privilege.

      37. Yeah, I understand your point, Judy. But I have to tell you that despite our being in the LGBT community and coming under fire for that, and despite our seeing the hetero privilege which we very well know exists, we are also members of a privileged class, as white people. It’s not something we do, but something that is a systems problem. Nonetheless, every time we tacitly accept the benefits offered to us based on our color alone, we are part of the problem.

      38. You missed the point.
        If you dont have to tell your child not to go out and play with a bb gun in the yard, then you have white priviledge.
        That’s the point.

      39. The difference is that by simply walking around out in public, no one knows if you’re a lesbian or not. Skin color, however, is immediately apparent.

      40. Julie, with all due respect, racial discrimination is a systemic problem in which the STATE is often complicit and indeed one that it often endorses; so that your claim of “LIVESMATTER” completely ignores or nullifies this critical difference.

      41. Your views are important but you are displaying quite a bit of your own white Privilege here as well as white fragility. You are white centering this writers horrofic experiences with racism and horrible white Privilege around your own pain. This isn’t about you.

        You need to need to take a step back and examine why you need to do this. Here.

      42. Also I hope, Julie, that you see how your response, privilege and fragility has harmed POC.

      43. Julie Collins, Do you think that saying “All Lives Matter” in response to “BlackLivesMatter” is some sort of solution? I understand that you are furious that being a LGBTQ woman has opened you and your loved ones up to much pain. I get that, but why do you sound so resentful of this woman and her writing of the things she has suffered as a Black woman? This is not a contest. Nobody is trying to be the one has had the most painful life due to bigotry.
        #BlackLivesMatter means black lives matter, TOO!!! Did you even read the article? No one is dismissing the lives of the homeless, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the mentally ill, veterans or any other group of people. You need to not be directing your anger at a group who certainly has no intention of hurting you or your loved. Instead, focus on ways you can say “Screw you!” and move on when brainless losers try to ruin your day.

      44. Julie Collins — as a white, 61-year-old lesbian who has experienced much of what you have, I will say: Hush now, And sit down.

      45. Julie please stop. Hold space for this. Of course, there are other problems. Let go of your defensiveness. Yes, you have suffered oppression as a queer woman. I am one, too. I know of it first hand but you still have white privilege.

      46. It is interesting to note that though you acknowlege and the life experiences and treatment that we, as African Americans have suffered, you still display your ” privilege” that renders you the ability to define our feelings. I would venture to say, people of color who share your life-portrait realize that your privilege is something you will recognize once it is taken away from you. Surely, there is something about privilege that allows one to diminish thoughts and feelings of blacks. I am 72 yrs. old, African American, female with two post graduate degree, who has never been able to understand, why “Are you sure?” is a standard response to statements put forth by black folk.

      47. Julie, You just made the point even stronger and you cannnot see past your own privilege to notice.

        NO ONE! discounted LGBTQI people or their lives, nor their struggles. However, what you did do is try to insinuate that your life matters more.

        If you want to fight for LGBTQ rights and try to better the conversation and to move things forward, then by all means, use your voice. Start your own blog and write ALLLIVESMATTER until your hearts content.

        Do not hijack someone else’s cause and conversation to gain attention to you. You just used your priviledge to discount her experiences.

        This would be like me going to a breast cancer charity event and getting mad because they aren’t raising money for colon cancer. Changing the subject is one more way to subjugate and denounce the initial meaning and intent.

      48. As a white, disabled, LBGT 59 yr. old woman, I know my trials and travails would be a thousand times worse if I were Black, too. I’ve been insulted and discriminated against, but never for my race. Black women get poor healthcare compared to whites, so I could easily be dead if I were Black. Suffering can make us more compassionate and give us empathy.

      49. White privilege comes from the historical treatment of black people, with the belief that we are subhuman and are deserving of substandard living conditions, education, employment, and just treatment under the law. It comes from the historical crimes of meditated and intentional laws and practices aimed specifically at black people from slavery to current times. The slums and ghettos in America were not accidental real estate ventures.

        When blacks were freed and fleet from being owned by white masters they had nothing. They were separated from families. I could go on but you know history. Or perhaps you don’t. Look up Black Wall street. This was not long ago. The government supported it and many other domestic terrorists attacks on black people. The plight of blacks from days of being properly has been an endless struggle because the mindset of some, not all, white people have not changed.

        It is ongoing because discrimination against us is historic and systemic. If we ignore these facts we ignore the truth and history WILL repeat itself. Even a white gay person cannot identify with how it feels to be black. With discrimination and hate, yes. With the abomination that pervades our current judicial system and country, no. People judge us “When They See Us”. Before they know our sexual orientation.

      50. As a queer non binary trans white person I am here to tell you that being oppressed in one way does not mean you do not benefit from privilege in other ways.

        This is why we talk about intersectionality. The author has straight privilege the way that you have white privilege. Being black does not cancel the benefits she gets from being straight (if she is straight). Being a lesbian does not cancel the benefits you get from being white.

        Your own comment shows you have an understanding of privilege. You just need to get out of the mindset that having privilege diminishes your struggles and achievements.

        If you grew up never worrying about whether you could marry the kind of person you were attracted to, that is straight privilege.

        If you are used to seeing people in relationships like yours portrayed positively on TV you have straight privilege.

        You see? But having straight privilege does not protect a black woman from racism, the same way that being white does not protect you from homophobia.

        But you still benefit from being white. Your life would be even harder if you were queer AND black.

    4. Hi Lori,
      Thanks so much for writing this. It has really helped me as a person with white privilege to focus on what I can do.
      Thankyou for the time you took,

      1. So in not judging a person by their skin, can you state exactly what “white” is? As I have researched my genealogy and as well have DNA testing to validate it, in brief I am part English, part German, part American Indian, and part Spanish. My whiteness I guess can easily be attributed to ancestors from Wales, but I lineage also associates me to Germans……German Jews to be exact, and Cherokee Indians. From what I can discern about the realities of my background as a “white person” is that no one in my family tree dealt in the slave trade, kept/owned slaves, or tortured slaves. When I hear of these “examples” of white privilege it really gets me thinking about a few things:

        – The fact that I have worked since 13 years of age and with the exception of 1 year in college I have been employed every year to current, working to support my family, further my education, nothing has been given to me on a silver platter.
        – I was diagnosed with cancer as a young man, my white privilege didn’t help much when the insurance companies originally sought to deny my claims for coverage. My father, working his ass of in 115 degree temperatures at work, was prepared to give up everything we owned to help me through this battle. Thankfully after many friends petitioned to our representatives things turned around for us. I guess that’s white privilege.
        – I have many black friends and I can guarantee that none of them are looking for handouts, reparation for acts of slavery. The high level of racial tension in my opinion is mostly due to income inequalities, some associate this to skin color, but it’s simply a case of the haves and have-nots.

        When I hear the term White Privilege it is nothing more than some ill attempt to exude some type of white guilt due to the treatment of blacks over history. As I noted at the start of my posting……am I supposed to be sorry for something I nor anyone in my lineage had association with? Should I be upset about the American Indian part of my blood, history tells us that 10s of millions of Native Americans were slaughtered like animals, communities burned, raped…….but why don’t we hear much about that? As for the origins of the slave trade……can you tell me who brought Africans to the Ivory Coast to be sold as slaves……I’ll let you do your own research but I can tell you it wasn’t one of these groups of “white people” that did it.

      2. I just have a couple questions that I would really love a response to. This is a sincere question that never seems to be answered when asked over and over. I can’t speak for all white people but i can speak for a significant number when I say that I believe more white people (or people in general) would support the black lives matter movement if it was inclusive of all blacks. An example would br when the black store owner died while New York officers were attempting to take him into custody. When this occurred. the black lives matter group went into full force in several cities. As a result of what many black people say was pinned up anger over years of mistreatment a black man shot and killed two NYPD officers. That same weekend in NYC a sweet 2-yr. old little black girl was playing in front of her home when she was shot in the head by black gang members during a drive- by shooting. She had just started her little life when it was taken so violently and cowardly. Who shoots a baby and drives off with no remorse. How that didn’t light a fire under black livrs matter i still don’t get but ok. Why when there are so many black on black killings in Chicago everyday to the point that there’s no doubt the parents of these beautiful young children who likely live in fear of even letting their children go outside and play (what should be the most natural thing for a child to do) aren’t able to for fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting that phone call no mother can bare aren’t in the streets marching. Where was the march by black lives mattrr for the little girl in NYC. Why arent black lives matter living in the streets of Chicago until black lives can walk around without fear of being gunned down. They only time it seems black lives matter is when a black man is killed by a white police officer. I can’t believe you honestly think that white men aren’t killed by police officers or harassed, arrested, assaulted or pulled over. The only reason you don’t hear about white men being shot by a police officer is for this simple fact. If law enforcement is giving you directives and you don’t comply or attempt to run or fight them don’t be suprisrd when your shot or killed. White people aren’t going to go to bat or ever waste their time marching for another white man who knows there are laws in place that we’re all obligated to follow and if a white man doesnt comply with officers directives and believes he can run or fight the officer anything that happens as a result of his actions are his consequences. they chose If it’s the white thug and the officers life at stake who should go home to their family. We’d like to say both but it’s not always that simple and we’re not in law enforcement’s shoes yea we are always quick to blame others for circumstances you put yourself in. The media is well aware that white people aren’t going to get up in arms about a white thug who got shot out of his own stupidity so they don’t even go there. When black lives matter puts as much effort into saving the hundreds of black innocent lives that are being killed everyday by other black lives it might actually look like a black lives matter movement instead of the pick and choose what black lives matter movement they clearly are. What’s most sad is that black people are so caught up in what the media is feeding which is ratings they’re not reporting these issurs because they actually care they do so everytime because your responses are so predictable when they feed a story involving black and whites. They’re even there with cameras before blacks get there because it’s the same thing every time it’s like clock work.. So if a black person would like to enlighten me on the question regarding why black lives only care about a white and black officer shooting. If as you say the media only cares when a white little girl is abducted or anything to do with white’s in general why dont you get out there and march for all black people. Is it because you would rather turn a blind eye to all the blacks killing each othrt by the hundreds thousands every year. Because you would actually have to stand and march against your own people.stand against those killing all the innocent. You are willing to crucify a white officer however say nothing about the black on black killings everydsy and the terror these blacks are causing innocent families just trying to go to work and raise their kids.
        . efuse to march against the y anything negative about aemale in general ablittle girl or

      3. I don’t get it…
        Black lives should matter, as much as anyone else’s.

        LGBT lives should matter, just as much as anyone ekse’s.

        The point of Lori’s post eas to inform us based on her personal experience. It neither elevates nor diminishes the relevance of the LGBT experience.

        Ditto for Julie’s LGBT. It neither elevates nor diminishes Lori’s experience.

        So, I don’t understand the Black vs. LGBT debate. They are both valid. And they both inform us, especially those of us who experience the social and institutional privileges associated with being white or straight. I, being both of these, am being offered the opportunity to learn from both Lori and Julie. It need not be a competion.

    5. Thank you for your valuable contribution. I don’t wish to stoke the fire, but as an Italian immigrant to this country with a PhD and authorship of 7 books and innumerable articles and encyclopedias I know that I would not be unemployed were I African American. Black women and men of achievement enjoy greater success than their white peers.

      1. Respectfully, Chris, that’s nonsense. Because this seems to matter to you, I’ll point out I have a PhD and solid publication record as well. I’m sorry you’re struggling with unemployment – I’ve been there and it sucks. However, your lack of employment has a lot more to do with an oversaturated niche market than affirmative action. You have the option of retraining or relocating, and your white (male?) privilege ensures that there are a lot more places you will be welcomed without careful self-monitoring to fit in. The fact that you think your struggle to find a job somehow is relevant/important/appropriate to bring up when discussing BlackLivesMatter shows not only your privilege but also an appalling lack of empathy.

    6. I have experienced each of these hurtful, horrific examples but only as it relates to my gender. Prejudice seems to be expressed first towards race; second towards female. Good lord, what it must be like to be both black and female. My heart reaches out…Cherie Lawrence in St. Louis.

    7. I’m so sorry you and your people had such a hard time growing up. I’m not going to tell you sorry and then do the “but this situation happened to white people.” I’m just going to tell you the way it was – in plain English. No apologies from this white boy.

      I grew up in a town in eastern NC. Nearly 50_50 black-white. I was impervious to anything racial until I was in middle school. The first person that ever punched me was black. The first person that ever punched my two best friends was black. Not the same black guy in either case. We were computer geeks. They were pure fucking racists. We did nothing to provoke them. We did not retaliate. But we never forgot.

      I also experienced racism in the walking walls of high school. Myself and my girlfriend walking down the right hand side of the hall. Walking towards a group of blacks – usually girls. We had to literally walk single file to get past them and if we said anything, we got cussed. Not an issue with persons that didn’t like each other on a personal level – it was pure racism. Whites didn’t do that to blacks. We were too SCARED of them.

      Isn’t that special… And you think white privilege is a real issue… Were you born yesterday? Or were you born in a mostly white community with white friends? Only now to write some decisive commentary in the wake of the aggressive black response to police shootings for which you feel the need to justify. And you don’t even know why.

      This story is becoming much more common in modern times. We’ve sat back for much too long. We’re sick and tired of this shit and we’re going to fight back. Tell your people to stop killing police officers. Tell them to back the fuck off or they will see what these timid, soft-spoken white boys (and girls) might do.

      1. Marshall, I’m sorry that you were punched, but the fact that you never recount a single positive experience with a black person here is very telling about the circles in which you move, and your complete lack of insight. As for those terrible black girls, black people have historically been stepping aside on sidewalks to let white people pass, taking care to avoid eye contact. The point here is causation; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; unfair, but reality, nevertheless. Furthermore, there is nothing in this article that remotely attempts to justify police shootings, so it is clear that this came from within your own angry and distorted view. Finally, I suggest you examine your anger because not all white people are incapable of insight. Your problem is not so much with black people as with your inability to accept the fact that you are a nerd. Some of us embrace it and appreciate the way in which it makes us special.

    8. When I was growing up, racist white people told anecdotal stories about black people as a justification for holding black people down. I am sympathetic with blacks and feel that our society has got to change; especially the way our law enforcement and criminal justice system incarcerates young men.
      But, we must also put as much effort into improving the home life and academic expectations of the poor as we do into blaming all white people for what some white people do (an unintended racist action).
      Everybody needs a loving father and mother who instill a love of academics and a belief in the importance of education.
      My parents made minimum wages through most of their life. We did not own a car until I was 10 years old. We lived in a 2 br 1 ba wood frame home of less than 1000 sq.ft. I lived at home in college and my parents paid $500 per year average towards my college. I paid all of my own expenses, bought my own cars, paid my own insurance, bought my own gas and oil, paid for all car repairs, wore hand-me-down cloths through high school years, Took my lunch to school in a brown bag, never received a penny for going on a date. I was not privileged. Lumping me in with all white people and assuming you know what I must be like is no different than people assuming that all black people are bad.

    9. This is one of the most compelling pieces o have ever read about white privilege. What an incredible writer you are.

    10. I find several of your examples to be problematic as examples of institutional racism or white privilege. I’m white. I’ve lived in black neighborhoods and have been harassed for my skin color. I’ve been beaten and called racial slurs because of my color and presumed religious identity. I’ve experienced racism as well as religious discrimination.

      Assuming privilege based on race is just wrong. Privilege is much more linked to wealth then anything else. Its counter productive and a waste of time for sub sects of the working class to compete to see who is being exploited more by the ruling oligarchs.

      1. Your problem is your failure to recognize causation. Your abuse and harassment at the hands of blacks is a direct causal link to the problem of an oppressive, systemic discrimination that privileges whites as it disenfranchises blacks. You know first hand the consequences of such a system. Nevertheless, being white, and away from that black community, you still enjoy the privileges of being white because it is unavoidably part of the structure.

    11. “I’m gonna scrape the white off of you” is something I heard in sixth grade so it goes both ways.

      Also if this isnt “the worst” of what youve experienced why tease us with that? Whats the point of saying that? Wouldnt further/ more extreme examples add to your point?

      1. It mystifies me that people like you have such little insight into basic and obvious causation. It stands to reason that in a racist, oppressive society, black people are going to turn offensive and practice the same ugly behavior; it’s not right, but there you have it. None of this any anything to do with white privilege which runs much deeper and is endorsed by the culture in the same way that black discrimination is sanctioned. Furthermore, you can walk through life free of that sixth grade experience and enjoy the white privilege that has been sanctioned for you, while blacks can never walk free of their color.

    12. Racism is ugly and it Hurst. I remember walking my them 3 year old son in Miami Beach during the Hip Hop festival, three young African Americans women walking in the opposite direction stopped, and one told me “why don’t you adopt one of your own kind”. My son’s mother is from West Africa and I am a white Hispanic. It goes both ways.

    13. Looks like I’m a little late to seeing this and I have no idea if you’re still reading the comments here, but I felt compelled to thank you for sharing.

      As a 20-something white dude, I’m scoring pretty damn high on the privilege scale (even more so because, being a Brit living in the US, people seem to assume I’m smarter/more sophisticated than I am just because of my accent – case in point, I was at a wedding the other week and one of the groomsmen came to me and said “hey, you’re British, how do I fold a pocket square?”).

      With that said, obviously I have no direct experience of the kinds of things you’re talking about, but I’m glad that you (and many others) are sharing stories like this. This is gonna be my go-to source to pass on to any friends who don’t understand why this stuff is important.

    14. As one of the few other “only spook in the room” growing up in the 70’s in the military. I can identify. But I did get a kick out of making them look, “inferior” whenever my intelligence on a problem was challenged. “I smiled quietly as I watched him burn…”.

      Thank you Lori Lakin-Hutcherson. And your explanation of why you created #GBN is why I carry your feed on my website… So, that those who choose to be informed of the “Good Black News” can be informed.

    15. I am the epitome of white privilege. My father was a physician, my mother was registered nurse turned stay at home mom. When I was 10 I was sent to a private, exclusive all girls Catholic school. There were five of us in that 5th grade class. And you know what? I didn’t. One of the five of us was black! I had no idea, she was just one of the five. We had sleepovers, birthday party’s, slumber parties, overnight field trip’s and NEVER, EVER, EVER did my parents, or any other parent of that class, ask anything along the lines of, “will the black girl be there?” NEVER. Never was race mentioned throughout my entire eight years at this prestigious school, in the Deep South, FILLED with white privilege. And over the years my school filled with many more girls of a different color than me. I was totally unaware, they were classmates, they were peers and they were friends.
      As a young adult I took a trip to Tampa. While walking on the beach I met a man from New York. When he found out I was from Louisiana his first question to me was, “are you racist? ” I truly had no clue what he was talking about. My upbringing was such that I never saw color.
      I did not see color until Obama. I saw color in the lines that reached around the block at the voting booth , lines that had never been there for a white candidate, lines that were there solely for the color of a candidates skin. That is racism.

      1. You really are the very manifestation of white privilege itself. And what’s sad is that your haughty defensive tone reveals that you’ve yet to gain any insight. There was a reason why that guy in New York asked If you were a racist. Only the shield of white privilege could keep you blind to it.

      2. Maline, now I’ve heard everything!! So many black folks voting for Obama is racist? Why? Because, for the very first time in American History, a Black man stood a good chance of becoming President, and you are pissed that Blacks flocked to vote for him?
        Think of it this way, silly girl. Every President up until that point has been a white man, but THAT doesn’t bother you at all, does it? Under the definition of ‘white privilege’ in the dictionary, I’m afraid that your sulky little face would be most appropriate.

      3. When exacty did you notice the color of voters when whites were running for office. Stop!!! Surely, you jest!!!!


    16. Doesn’t seem to be any other way to comment here- so I guess I’ll just do it here- someone shared this article on facebook and I’ll just comment the same here as I did there- because I think that you truly need to hear this:
      You are mistaking everyday human bad behavior as ‘racism.’ As a white male, I can cite examples exactly of the same kind of poor treatment that you did- that have absolutely nothing to do with race- and everything to do with common everyday poor behavior. You are either completely paranoid or incredibly insecure. There actually is racism in the world- such as inner city poverty, or police brutality- that actually needs to be addressed. You setting the table at your own pity party detracts from meaningful action. Next time a white person asks you to help define white privilege, please assign the article to someone that has actually experienced it.

      1. Again, another person showing their privilege and white fragility. Where in the US has your skin color caused you poor treatment? AND not to mention a white male tryinf to explain or dismiss the writers horrible experiences with white Privilege and racism. Know better and do better.

    17. Good morning Lori!

      To me it sounds like this letter is staged and your response leaves much to be desired. This is because of one reason only, you failed dismally to address the white privilege your caption espouses. I am a South African, and there is nothing you have said that sheds light on white privilege, what you have succeed in doing was to give light tale about racism. What you meant to address is white privilege. The person you were addressing is none the wiser. A rewrite is in order if only to educate “Jason”
      Kind Regard
      Moabi Mametse

    18. Thanks Lori for the wisdom you shared. I am the on of an imagrent who came to the United States in the early 1930s to escape facisism in Italy. Growing upon a WASPI society I also experienced some of the things you did but on a much smaller scale. My closest childhood friend was a 1st generation Mexican. We experienced name calling such so Wop, greaseball, wetback etc. We learned to just deal with it since there were too many potential fights to fight. When I went of to college for my 1st degree I found out that “I grew up in a disadvantaged home”. That was really a shock but a statement I never accepted. I have just retired as a psychologist in a state prison for women. In my previous live I retired as a school administrator for special education students. I’m done with my work and am learning how to be retired.
      I wish you well with your work

    19. I’m very angry that people who belong to and Support BLM may not realize that are being played by the ghost in the machine George Soros. His main objective is to destroy our nation which means a complete shutdown of services that we require to continue our daily routines. If the government fails those who depend on subsities, retirement checks and medical assistance will be completely cutoff from their source of incomes. Consider these facts before you do anything you may regret,

      1. Tyrese, you’re thinking of Howard Jarvis. He destroyed free college in California as part of his long term strategy of ending all government services. He was quite open about it.

      2. Tyrese, you may be thinking of Donald Trump. He seems determined to destroy as much of the government agencies as he can. Who else would put cabinet members in charge of departments that they are more likely to undercut than to support? Putting Betsy DeVos in charge of the Education Department is one example. This department regulates public education. DeVos is interested only in charter schools, Christian charter schools I might add, which she intends to fund with taxpayer money.

    20. Gracious is the word for this (remarkably so). Brilliant is another. Both in the writing and the razor sharp, succinct and on the money points made. What I can’t believe is after a year (it showed up in my Facebook feed as a ‘look back’ from a year ago) it hasn’t gone viral. So, all of the 30 people or so who look at my Facebook stuff will see it again – but I wish it could be published in the NYT, ( have you tried?)

      1. Thank you for your kind words and for re-sharing! And although not picked up by the NYT, the piece above actually did have its viral moment last year when it was republished in Huffington Post, On Being, Quartz, Everyday Feminism and in Australian magazine Dumbo Feather.

    21. Lori,

      I read your post in its entirety, and I politely disagree that it has anything to do with white privilege. White privileged does not exist. Racism does though from both sides.

      Black Priviledge can exist, you had the white people complaining the black kid got into UCLA over them, what do you call two individuals, exact same transcript, exact same family income, the only difference on their application is one checks “African Amercian” the other checks “White – not hispanic”? Then the Black person gets accepted? That’s black priviledge.

      What happens when two candidates for a job have the same background, same skills, the employer will likely lean towards the black candidate, due to affirmative action. This is a Black Priviledge.

      My son, while we were living in Tennessee, was bullied by a group of black kids. Much like them throwing stones in your pool. But I can’t blame it on racism, it’s just boys being boys. That’s Black Priviledge.

      We live in a country today where racism from whites has become so intolerable, that blacks have reversed engineered their racism and are claiming “White Priviledge.”

      Ma’am, you are a highly educated woman of color, I am a poorly educated honky. But even with your education you have become blind to what “your people” are going thru.

      I quoted “your people” because that’s what I hear from a lot of black people, which is another term of “Black Priviledge”, when you are allowed to claim a certain existence or ethnic group but whites are not.

      But look at Chicago, Detroit, and other major metropolis that are populated by blacks. You will find that they are mostly run by Democrats, most of the constituents are on welfare, and the number of Black on Black crime is thru the roof. The number of unwed mothers is high, drug use is rampant.

      So, if I’m a racist for pointing out “Black Priviledge” so be it, but you can’t expect me to believe there is “White Priviledge” if you can’t believe there is “Black Priviledge.”

      The fasted way to end racism is to stop spreading it, and take responsibility for your actions. My family is from
      Canada and Russia, 2 generations removed. I have never owned a slave, my parents never did, my grandparents never did, yet till this day I am blamed for blacks selling blacks into slavery and whites owning them in the south. That’s “Black Priviledge”, blatantly blaming someone for something that never happened based on the color of their skin.

      So the next time a woman clutches her purse a little bit closer, don’t blame her, blame the history of your people, the current history of what’s happening with crime and violence.

      You’re lucky, you broke out of the democrat run plantation, but now you’re feeding into the lies, the stories, and are exactly who you think those with a lighter skin tone are. You may think your article is for the advancement of your skin color, but for the millions of white people, who suffer the persecution of our forefathers, enough!

      Stop with this “White Priviledge” shit, you have far more things in your favor than we do, that’s Priviledge.

      1. Yeah, sure, John White. If we only stop talking about “white privilege” and racism, they will cease to exist. Then why don’t you take your own example and shut your trap. Saying that Lori has escaped from “the democrat run plantation” doesn’t sound very nice. In fact, it sounds kind of hateful and racist. Oh! Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, John! Because that would mean such feelings don’t exist in me, right? You are a very silly person. Avoiding a subject doesn’t make it disappear. I’m surprised you don’t know better.

      2. White privilege is… Telling its victims that it doesn’t exist, that the victims are the privileged ones, and anyway they are a bunch of scary drug addicts and/or single moms.

    22. Hello Lori,

      I just read your article. I am in tears. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of your experiences. People need to understand and you made it clear. I wish I had the power to take away all those painful experiences. Racism exists and it is wrong! I raised my daughters to understand that racism does exist and to speak up when they encounter it. I have experienced racism but I realize not to this extent. I am from Cuba and moved to the U.S. in the early 70s, not too many Hispanics in NJ at the time. I have seen racism at its ugliest. It happened to grandmother (a black lady) and her granddaughter. This happened almost 20 years ago and I often think about it. It hurts me today as much as it did the day it happened. I will never forget it.

    23. Should everyone in America who is white apologize for being born this way? Should anyone born into wealth apologize for being brought into the world with a different disposition? Which is more offensive- to be accepted into a college with a 10 point learning curve because of the color of your skin? Or the fact that you didn’t get in because you were under qualified? Even worse to fill a racial quota?

      This is going to come across very crudely, but in every other Country the majority always rules. In every other Country other than the United States of America is it ruled by a person of that heritage/descent . This Country on the other hand – has given people of any race, religion, sex, and color the opportunity to become anything they want. Wouldn’t this make America the greatest Country on the planet?

      I refuse to accept this racist narrow minded way of thinking. My future is NOT determined by my surroundings or my upbringing. My future is not determined by the color of my skin, but by the choices I decide to make.

      If I am fortunate enough to be the only person that looks like me in a room- that means that I have an opportunity to bridge a gap, be an example. I am a minority, and therefore would not expect to be in a room full of people that look like me.

      Lastly, what is it called when a black person is racist? There are places where the room is full of black folk, and one white person is in the room. There are all black neighborhoods with the majority being wealthy . There are schools that preference black people over white people.

      So why is there a double standard- how is one group privileged, and another entitled…. if we want to cease segregation it has to stop with this narrow minded way of thinking.

    24. Regrettably well said! We all must be internally capable of the angst that we will undergo during such an undertaking required for complete ‘forgiveness’ to be justified, apologies notwithstanding!

    25. Well,I appreciate how well thought out and eloquently written .My experience were similar in cases.I was the only white kid in the neighborhood I grew up until I was 10.In fact they rarely called me by my name,they just called my white boy.Im 47 and my two best friends then are still my friends today.Roland Brown ,African American ,and Tony Luna ,once an illegal hispanic.Look Im not going to say racism does exist,im not naive.But you cant attribute everytime someone of another color treats you badly to prejudice.Some people are crummy people.That you attach racism to so many incidents to racism shows your prejudicial .A boy throws rocks in a pool?Thats just kids.It was wrong for that boy to call your sister a nigger because he ,lost the race.But Im willing to bet if he lost the race to a white girl,he would called her some name too.Because he is a sore loser and a crummy kid.Im sorry I just dont see some of this as a race issue as much as a human race issue.These white privilege ideologies dont level the playing field,they widen the gap.

    26. I was truly informed by having read the article with respect to white privilege. God bless the author.

    27. If it is true that God created each of us and designed us to be a certain sex, color or height where does that leave us. I was born into an Irish family. If you read the history of Ireland and England you will see that the Irish were severely persecuted for centuries. In the late 1800’s tens of thousands were starving to death and my grandparents left Ireland with the clothes on their backs and came to the United States. They had nothing. They were faced with discrimination from the outset. Signs were every where ” No Irish”. If they could find a job it was the lowest dirtiest job in the country. If Psalm 139:1-16 is true then we need to understand that God is my Creator. He made me for a special purpose. He has a plan for my life. While I am white, I believe that the “White Privilege” is being used to reverse discrimination and/or an excuse to transfer blame for personal failure. I have too many Black friends that have made it. Perhaps it is time to put the past behind us and be the best we each can be for God. 1 Corinthians 10:31. PS I have lived in a country for 30 years where White people are less than 1% of the population. My family has suffered at the hands of those that hate us because we are white. There will always be racism as we live in a sinful world but we have come a log way, in large part, due to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. May we seek to recognize that there is only 1 race, the Human Race, and God created us all for a purpose.

    28. Ms. Hutcherson: Thanks so very much for explaining this to us. I really DID have a clear idea of the harms being done. I DON’T allow my friends to make racist jokes. I’ve tried to explain White Privilege to them. I’ve had a blog (quiet for now due to health reasons) addressing my fellow White people to try to move them to atone for the harms being done to my Black friends/cohorts. Also, I don’t think it is right to ask Black people to forgive us – it places an unfair burden in addition to the harms done. What we Whites must do is be honest about our racism (knee-jerk gut reactions) and change our behaviors towards our Black neighbors. Thank you.

    1. Of course racism exists in all directions. Privilege is when a white boy gets a slap on the wrist and a black boy gets 15 years for the same freaking crime.

      1. I can attest that it’s the privilege of those that can afford the legal aid to get them around the law, and not the color of their skin. (although you could certainly argue the correlation)

      2. Agreed. I really wish the judicial system has specific sentencing guidelines that would result in the same crime always carrying the same sentence. The amount of leeway is insane.

      3. I still think Tanzania has the worst problem with these “white people”, living in fear because of the color of their skin and being hacked up so their body parts can be sold……one of these Tanzanian White Boys gets a slap (I mean chop) on the wrist it is so someone can sell his hand.


      4. “Privilege is when a white boy gets a slap on the wrist and a black boy gets 15 years for the same freaking crime.”

        So what do you call it when a Black Criminal gets shot and killed in self defense while attempting a criminal act and there is national outrage, but when White innocents are brutally attacks by Black thugs and gangbangers, there is nary a peep out of mainstream media?

  2. I am white but fortunately married to the most loving brown person. I grew up with parents that thankfully never demonstrated any bigotry or racism, at least not to me and my siblings. I became aware of racism and white privilege, especially when I attended college in the South. I think I was pretty naive before college. When i married and encountered the issues of her children from a previous marriage I realized that most racists do not make degrading comments when they are in the company of others, especially if they know the other white people would not approve.

    To have a middle class there has to be a lower class. Because of your brown color and American history you are an easy target. Abolitionists were considered traitors to their class.

  3. Tomorrow I’m preaching on Amos ch. 8. I’d love to share some of what you wrote but I’m crying so hard I don’t know if I can. I’m so sorry.

  4. I read your article three times, to give it the chance it deserves. Your entire thesis is driven by confirmation bias; nothing more. White privilege is a social science construct fabricated to explain hard data that defies the narrative promulgated by black activists. Black people are half the prison population; must be institutional racism. Black people are more than half the NBA; no problem. The biggest obstacle to black American success is the intellectually dishonest and brutally harmful White Privilege argument. The reason for disparities in success between races is largely cultural, or economic. Family values, strong father figures and dedication to education are what dishonest intellectuals label as White Priviledge. If the black community embraced those values rather than glorification of thug life, intentional marginalization (calling yourself ‘our community’) and exporting of liability for your own success, we would be one nation of successful, integrated and happy people. I am sorry you are so angry; you went to Harvard, act like it.

    1. what? omg u are an idiot…plz don’t try and represent my race…god help us all. Now with that being said I don’t think she is hateful at all she was answering the question pose, very eloquently I might add. Please enjoy ur white privilege in ur own little bubble because most of us don’t care about ur opinion.

    2. People like you are the problem. All the writer is trying to show is that there is privilege associated w/being white. The fact the you won’t even consider her points show a biased attitude. As a successful black man, I resent how you characterize black people as growing up in fatherless homes & basically being criminals. I myself was raised in a two parent home. My wife & I are raising 4 intelligent, beautiful children. My wife & I are both successful educated professionals. Also as a matter of fact, black people have contributed greatly to the success of this country. The first succesful open heart surgery was done by a black man. The traffic light was invented by a black man. But history does not teach these things. In fact, a lot of inventions by black people were credited to white people. How’s that for “white privilege”! As long as people like you continue to propagate, the problem will continue to exist! Wake up man!!!

      1. George Washington Carver said that, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom” and became one of the greatest inventors and discoverers of our time…..and I fully believe his statement. Education, education, education! That makes all the difference in how races are respected and treated..
        As anyone can see, the educated black man is treated differently than the uneducated one; it’s the same with any race. But it stands out more with the black man because the black man stands out more. That may not be the PC way to describe a black American, but it’s a physical fact. When you incorporate a manner of talking, walking and behavior….people become suspicious and demeaning of the radicalness of the race that does so, or what they perceive it to be. They compare that picture to others, such as the Asian. It appears that Asian folks strive for education and success, live mostly detached from the other cultures and colors in our country and have minimal interaction with the police, or any extreme group. That makes them non-threatening and culturally welcome as they are perceived to add to the overall culture of America. It may not be right, or even a constant, but I believe it’s all something that must be factored in to be racially honest.
        Education is the key.
        George Washington Carver was a black man who lived in the late 1800’d and into the 1900’s. He discovered over 300 uses just for the peanut but also was an incredible botanist and chemist who worked with anything that grew and discovered more uses for them than any other man. He was, and is, one the most highly respected men of science there ever was….

      2. This (“As anyone can see, the educated black man is treated differently than the uneducated one”) is a very dangerous and mistaken (if taken as all encompassing) statement. The black man I mentioned in my earlier comments (my best friend of nearly 30 years) is very well educated and quite successful… neither of those things has prevented him (and me, in a different way, also described in my comment) from experiencing “white privilege.”

        Certainly, anything you do to conform and “normalize” yourself to society will improve how you are perceived within it. However, that does not address the deficit experienced by some groups of people at the starting line.

        Perhaps thinking of it this way will help. Lets say we are all going to race in the 100 yard dash. Except, you have to start 5 yards behind the starting line for each of these things that applies to you (to be clear, I’m oversimplifying here… not everything listed carries the same disadvantage, and assigning the same 5 yards to each in real life wouldn’t be fair):

        1. non-white
        2. female
        3. LGBT and “out”
        4. Muslim
        5. you are impoverished

        I could list more, but you should be able to understand how the list is being constructed.

        “White privilege” is the “privilege” of starting at the regular starting line. Yes, everyone runs in the same conditions; if it rains, you all deal with that… if it’s super-hot, you all deal with that as well. And you all finish at the same place; However, the bottom line is that you do not all start in the same place.

        The assumptions that are made about my friend almost every time we walk into a new setting set him back “five yards” before the race even begins. If he was a woman, it would be 10, this is the “intersectionality” that has been brought up so many times both in the piece and in comments.

        So, yes, it’s true, if you are white and poor, you are starting 5 yards back as well. However, if you were in the exact same economic situation and black you would be 10 yards back (and 15 if you happened to also be a woman). No one wants to take away “your” struggle (in quotes because I’m talking about anyone who has struggled, not referring directly to the person who’s comment I am responding to)… I’m sure it is very real.

        In my earlier comments I intentionally left out the part of my life that was spent on foodstamps and took place in government project housing were I was one of three white children in the entire neighborhood. I left that out because I’ve learned enough over the years to understand that, while it sucked, it would have sucked that much more if nothing else changed except that I was also black… or LGBT… or a woman. It’s not about “your” struggle being marginalized, “your” struggle is real, and should be talked about. However, this conversation is about understanding that, if you are white, it could have been worse. And, for a whole class (multiple classes, actually) of citizens, in what is supposed to be one of the greatest and enlightened nations on Earth… it still is.

    3. When I read comments like these, it helps me better understand that so many people like Donald Trump & want him to lead this country.

      1. I don’t think it’s at all unbiased to link bigoted behavior from one fool to Donald Trump. What Duke has spewed is disgusting not only for his words but for the fact he is just saying what he believes. This article was wonderful. Thank you. Duke is an example of the scourge of our society.

      2. I don’t see where Donald Trump has anything to do with this discussion and I resent the fact that you went where you did. Donald Trump may not be the perfect candidate for president but we’ve never had a perfect candidate. He wants to make America great again, he cares about our Military and our Vets. He didn’t have to take on the candidacy he has plenty of money, plenty of other things he could be doing and he could live anywhere in the world. I think this shows that he truly does care. Does he sometimes say things he shouldn’t? Of course, we all do! But at the end of the day what matters are what your true intentions are and I will always believe that he truly does love America even when his mouth gets ahead of his brain.
        Make America Great Again! That’s what we need.

      3. Have you kept up with the leadership your president is displaying? Are you noticing how he is promising jobs to coal miners that can never be given because technology and because the use of other kinds of fuel are replacing that industry? Are you aware that rules meant to protect consumers from bad investment advice are being rescinded, executive orders have been given to repeal the clean power plan, the scaling back of the Affordable Care Act will leave millions of Americans without health care, and so on and so on…
        Are you still understanding?

    4. Duke Sota wrote, “Family values, strong father figures and dedication to education are what dishonest intellectuals label as White Priviledge.”

      Google search: “Did you mean: Privilege”

      Me: You arrogant bigot.

    5. Typical duke. I was sure there were going to be comments like yours. To state your stereotypes as if all black people are exactly the same. Many black people come from two parent households. You are a perfect example of “white privilege!”

      1. Let me start off by saying, I believe that anyone, no matter who you are, what you look like or where you’re from, deserve what you get by working for it and earning it. That said, Thank you! “As if all black people are the same.” This statement right here shows that the term “Black Lives Matter” are for a group of people that make excuses by their skin colour to act a certain way. Everyone has something they’ve dealt with in life and had to overcome by prejudice. Whether they are too fat, too skinny, Asian, Jewish, the list goes on. I hate to see anyone get singled out for whatever their differences, but people need to STOP using those differences as reasons to act in a certain way. “White privilege” is a term made up, again, for people to act out and make themselves a martyr. It seems now theirs “black privilege” just because they are black eg: people are considered racist if they choose someone over a black person for something who happens to be white. Chaos ensues. How is that right? I, as a white person, have never had privileges handed to me just because I am white. I have, however, not had certain things because I am a bigger girl. Should I start a “Plus size matters” club? NO because that is segregation, something that ended over fifty years ago. By saying “Black Lives Matter,” they are segragating themselves, it’s not white people doing it. I hope one day EVERYONE stops the “I’m black, you’re white; you’re black, I’m white; you’re fat; you’re skinny; you’re this; you’re that” and realize that EVERYONE is human and stop singling THEMSELVES out for their differences as well. This post was not meant to offensive to anyone and I do apologize if it comes off that way.

    6. +1 for Duke

      This is the most honest thing i’ve seen in a long time. Thank you!

      I’d like to know how exactly is a black person in anyway qualified to tell me that I experience “white privilege”???

      1. Because you can’t ever get another perspective on things if you shut your eyes and ears whenever someone different than you speaks, and only listen to those who agree with you.

      2. Chris,
        First, she’s not telling “you”. She’s responding to the question as asked by her white friend. That’s why she’s writing; that’s the justification. Her examples are from her experience about which she is the authority. That’s her qualifications. But, even IF you have never experienced white privilege that does not mean it does not exist. That is simply false reasoning.

        But, more fundamentally, white privilege, as a kind of institutional racism, is observable by all if they care to look. We all live in this society and can see it, even if we don’t experience it in the SAME way. Some of us benefit, some are disadvantaged by it.

        If you deny that all of the claims being made of what constitutes white privilege are false, (e.g. the statements in bold at the end of each itemized point), then make your case, if you can. But, be aware that because you may have experienced some prejudice or injustice, does not mean white privilege does not exist. Privilege is relative, it’s comparative. When others are unduly treated worse and/or one is treated better, that is a privilege. When that treatment is due to race, that is racialized privilege. If we as a nation truly believe in equality, a supposedly founding principle of the country, then to be American we should be opposed to this inequality and actively seek to minimize and erase it. If you believe in merit, equality, liberty, then you must be against unwarranted benefits/disadvantage to INDIVIDUALS which accrue from one’s race.

        If you disagree with what I’ve written, then make an argument against it. Don’t write “How are you qualified to talk about America?” or “Why do you think you can talk about founding principles?” That’s mere obfuscation. You’ve made no points in your first post; here’s your chance to say something.

      3. Then look up Tim Wise on YouTube and hear it from a white person but hear it all the same. It takes study and effort to realize how and why we are where we are. Why subliminal and sometimes blatantly open messages in society, media, and education color our view of blacks and our own history. Even when raised by parents who tried to prevent and shield us from racist ideas, it seeps in from every level if society.

        Taking offense is ridiculous, it is not to feel guilt for the white privilege you have yet to see or acknowledge, but once recognized, to acknowledge and help others to see and work for changes. To take no action for wrongs is to side with the oppressor!

        To understand white privilege and societal implanted prejudice, you have to understand history, real history, not what most have been taught in schools. Why do so many whites think blacks are more likely to be criminals, it started after the Civil War with black codes that allowed them to arrest most blacks for things as trivial as standing around, vagrancy, and effectively continue using them as unpaid slave labor through the prisons. This practice in some form has continued to this day. You grew up seeing films of chain gangs, all black of course, and you think this had no effect on how you view blacks in general? Just one tiny example.

        Poverty in America was once iconic photos of those hit hardest by the depression, Oklahoma dust bowl victims, Appalachians, all white and overall sentiment in America was compassion and support for programs that would help. From the 1960s to today, close to 80% of images of poverty, or welfare programs in the news are blacks and a huge segment of white America now sees these as black issues and programs despite the reality that they help an overwhelming majority of white people. Cutting these programs back will affect millions more white than black, but the misperceptions persist. Did you see Marco Rubio on the campaign trail asked about cutting “entitlement” programs? His response to the question “I don’t want to give blacks a hand out, but a hand up to help themselves”. Why did he even say the word black, when they are the minority receiving assistance? Institutionalized racism.

        Following WWII whites were given FHA loans for new homes in the suburbs, VA loans for homes and education, there was an explosion of middle class, well paying jobs and blacks were not included in any of that, even if a war veteran. Black neighborhoods were redlined and policies in place that no one inside those lines could get a loan, or a house or a different job. Social Security did not apply to the majority of blacks because to pass the legislation, southern legislators demanded it not include domestic workers or agricultural workers, nearly 100% people of color. You don’t think your grandparents and parents benefitted from that and in turn you?

        Did you ever fear that failing a test, the teacher might conclude that all white people are stupid and unable to learn? That is white privilege. Did you ever worry that you wouldn’t find an apartment or house to rent because your way of talking identified you in a specific group? That is white privilege. Did you ever worry someone else less qualified would get a job because your name on a resume identified you as a minority? That is white privilege! White privilege is getting 98% of the scholarships and jobs and complaining that some black kid got one of the 2% left through affirmative action and that is somehow a form of reverse discrimination! White privilege is your teachers telling you you are not working up to your potential while accepting the failure of black students. White privilege is you not knowing, comprehending, nor caring to know any of this and how it has played into your psychi, your thought processes, your little understood internal biases that you do not even know where it came from or when or where you learned it. It is white privilege because you didn’t have to know to survive. Black people don’t have that luxury to not know or not understand. They have to survive in a white culture governed by white people, to standards in behavior, language, and education determined by and controlled by white people. Being white, even the poorest of the poor whites, simply never ever have to think about such things. What side of town you live on, whether you should drive through specific neighborhoods because doing so will get you targeted by police, what clothing you wear, not having to worry about any of that is white privilege. A survey asking white people if they would agree to being treated like black people are, got zero volunteers. The poorest white people would not trade places with Chris Rock or Lebron James despite the money, if it meant being black. Now that is some heavy white privilege there!

        Institutionalized racism, policies and laws that were intended to give an advantage to whites and intended to exclude those of color have existed since the beginning of this nation and while things have improved somewhat, they still exist and continue to this day often under hidden names that merely imply who they are directed at, but those of us who recognize our white privilege, also recognize the code words and the intention of such policies, often thinly disguised as offering help. If you are white in America, even poor and struggling, you have had privilege. It doesn’t take much to discover it and recognize it! Then the challenge is what are you going to do about it?

      4. A bank alarm goes off. A white man and a black man come running out of the bank. The police arrive. Who do you think will be apprehended first? if you say the white man, you are delusional. That is white privilege. It has nothing to do with wealth, success, education, etc. It has everything to do with the color of your skin.

    7. I once saw a demonstration of White Privilege. It definitely exists. I am white. This demonstration opened my eyes. People of several different races (black, white, Asian, Hispanic, I think none else) stood in a line from right to left. A situation was called out and anyone who had experienced it stepped forward. The situations were things similar to what the author has mentioned above. At the end, the ONLY people still standing in their original places were the white people. EVERY SINGLE ONE. The Asian people did not move as far forward as the blacks and Hispanics. Yes, White Privilege does, indeed, exist. If you are white and you don’t believe it, it’s because you have never been subject to prejudice behaviors and you are blind to the plight of others. This is (your blindness), in fact, White Privilege at work. Your comments are, in fact, White Privilege at work.

      1. It might be informative and educational to investigate just HOW “white privilege” came about. Why didn’t the black race become more dominant (we’re all ‘out of Africa’) and why aren’t we addressing how unfair the existence of “Black privilege” has negatively affected our lives. Reverse the roles; see what comes up….

    8. It all began with white people trampling the Native Americans, and stealing black Africans to become their slaves, all without reproach! Just as POC and Native Americans continue to suffer the rippling effects of the white mans pillage and greed, you sir continue to benefit. The white man secured his position through the physical and psychological genocide of Native and African people. You should be ashamed instead of looking for avenues to deny your own lineage. You are most certainly the problem and denying that white privilege exist and digging up white privilege driven research just proves the point overwhelmingly! Shame on you!

    9. Your response to Lori lays bare for all to see that you, Duke, and people like you, are the problem. You not only missed the points of the article, you exposed your own embedded racism by making ridiculous statements to the effect that black mothers should focus on educating their children instead of raising them to be thugs. I’m as white as they come and I’M offended by your narrow-mindedness and your apparent desire to promulgate your ridiculous (and un-researched) assumptions. You’re not only racist, you’re just plain ignorant. And apparently blind, since Lori gave at leasr 6 examples of being “verbally assaulted” (and, yes, I am choosing that phrase deliberately) as a black girl / woman growing up with enough focus on education to get into Harvard, and yet still suffered needlessly the derisive comments of others, and now you.

      What is astonishing in your comments is 1) the absence of even a shred of empathy from you for how Lori has been maligned throughout her life on account of her skin color, and 2) your lack of intelligence (or interest) about understanding WHY half the prison population is black. Why don’t you act like you went to Harvard and make a study of that. You might be surprised at what you find.

      Personally I think the phrase White Privilege connotes to white people something other than what the black community intends. Countless whites who are suffering financially and in other ways most likely view White Privilege as an economic class, i.e., a term for whites with gated mansions and private jets, not how they would describe their own lives. Therefore, I had to put some effort into understanding what the term means to blacks, and I have. You, apparently have not, and don’t seem the type inclined to anyway. This lack of effort on your part — and millions of others — is what has given rise to the phrase and the movement in the firat place. As I see it, its an effort to showcase the mostly undocumented and yet horrifying ways blacks have been marginalized, often despite their education or success.

      We will all live peacefully together when we truly seek to understand the plight of each other. And then take action to change it, repair it, etc. You are doing neither, and that’s a choice.

      1. As a 74 y/o white woman, I can tell you many whites do not understand the difference between white privilege and class privilege.

        This article is beautiful and it makes me sad that so many things we fought against in the 60’s are still around and some never changed….they just went below the surface. Today’s divisive times and ‘dog whistle’ politics are bringing it in the open for all to see.

    10. You are clueless in your narcissistic, white privileged world view. You are righteously bullying and discounting the experiences of the eloquent writer – a clear sign you have no clue about white privilege. i have no doubt that whatever anyone says to you here will only serve to feed your apparent need to put people down. I hope you have some kind of epiphany and start opening yourself to opportunity to learn.

    11. If you want to argue differences being largely cultural or economic you should acknowledge that those cultural and economic differences are a result of slavery, segregation, gentrification, and the Jim Crow era. They are a result of institutionalized racism just as our contemporary white privilege is a result of the phenomenon. The current racial issues and differences are a direct result of past actions in this country, not some kind of inherent flaw in Black people. To argue otherwise is disingenuous.

      I am White. I have had the privilege of never being questioned or stopped by police officers. I have had the privilege of access to a college education (and a decent k-12 education that Black people are disproportionately not given access to due to the institutionalized racism that has caused many Black people to be negatively affected economically). I have had the privilege of never wondering if I received a lower grade or was passed over for a job because of the color of my skin. I have had the privilege of never wondering if I got a job because of the color of my skin and nothing else.

      Last year I watched the premier of a game about institutionalized racism. The game was still in paper form, but the concept was to take the player through the day of a Black man. The player has to decide what to do as people cross the street while looking at them in fear, refuse them service based on the color of their skin, call them a derogatory name, and finally are stopped by a police officer who wants to search their stuff without a warrant. The game has many levels, but this was just the very first walk on the very first day. The experience was so powerful, the woman testing it out cried. I hope the game gets published and widely distributed because it’s clear from comments like this, Duke, that it is very much needed.

    12. I’m Canadian so this issue is a little remote for me, however it seems strange to berate someone for embracing things like family values,strong father figures and dedication to education. Furthermore it’s been my experience that people with a strong work ethic succeed regardless of race, sex, religion or what have you.

      1. The berating was not his embracing of family values, strong fathers, and dedication to education. It was because he assumed that an entire race of people in the US does NOT embrace those things.

      2. As a Canadian this is how we practise racism in Canada, by feigning ignorance and focusing on some little part of a comment board to pull it apart… so we can feel happy in our smug hypocrisy..

    13. Confirmation bias? No. Most of these are concrete examples of racism, some more subtle, some more direct.

      White privilege is also about denying that racism exists and discrediting the experiences of those who state that racism does exist.

      Well done. You have added to the list.

    14. Growing up I lived in a predominantly black projects. I was one of two white families and one Hispanic family .. Needless to say my sisters and I were assaulted daily with endless name-calling . Cracker, honke,whitey etc. That went on for the next 12 years until we move to racially divided neighborhood. Black people criticize us because were not supposed to live in the projects and the white people criticize us because were not supposed to live in the projects . We had to take it from both sides daily . The reason for the move because my sisters and I were developing breast and were sexually harassed on a daily basis going to and from school. Before we moved, and great school I went to a Catholic school ,which was predominately white with the exceptions of 4 black children , who also reside in the projects. In fourth grade I had a white nun who was horrifically prejudice against me because how dare I live in the projects. It was perfectly acceptable for my friend Kim (who was one of the black children in her class and also resided in the projects) to live there. I realize years later that that was a horrible affront to Kim as well as myself. One day my girlfriend cut my hair into a style called the mushroom. It is very common in the 70s especially for black children. My nun went nuts and put my hair into 50 tiny tiny rubber bands and made me walk home that way. I will never forget the day my mom went to school and put the nun against the blackboard and cursed her out. After I explain all the things that nun had John to torture me throughout the year , they moved my class. Fast forward to 7th , new neighborhood and new school. I went to a public. predominantly black , school. I had a social studies teacher that was black and very openly prejudice. I was used to seeing such prejudice at this point so I was not particularly fazed. On the day of our aptitude test me and 2 other white students were asked to step outside. We could hear her talking about how black children had to do great on their scores because all the adversity they were going to experience. Vicky , who had going to that school much longer than I , said it was common practice for a lot of teachers to make them wait outside while they spoke with black students and encourage them to do well or had talks about black history month. She was not particularly phase as well because she was used to this too. I came back , my black friends told me exactly what she said. I didn’t mention it because I loved my school and my friends and I didn’t want my mom repeating what she had done to the nun. Fast-forward another 15 some years. My husband took the test for the police academy after getting out of the army . He had won medals for marksmanship . He was (and still is ) good friends with a few fellow black cadets . He took the all the tests and scored in the low 90s . A few of his friends scored in the high 80’s . He was rejected and openly told they needed to fill in minority spot. Two in fact . They hired one if his black cadet friends and one of his Hispanic friends . They shared their testing results as friends do, and found that he scored slightly lower than him and yet still or accepted . My daughter who was 19 and still rebellious at that time , went to Philadelphia to an area that was known for dragracing. Absolutely she should not of been there…. but she was a bystander. She went there with four friends . One of which was a law student. She had just had her tongue pierced and was pulled over by a black women police officer. When asked why she had mouthwash in the car. She explained I just had my tongue pierced, and stuck out her tongue to show proof. The police officer throw her up against her seat and choked her and told her to get her lilly white ass back to the suburbs. The law student started to record it. The other black male police officer made him hand over his phone and removed the video. When she got home we could see the red marks on her neck but by the next day they were absolutely black and blue. We absolutely insisted upon filing a police report but she was so terrorize that she would not do it. We begged and begged her but she was 19, it was her choice, and she did not want to go through all that. she didn’t want to file because one it was the police and two she thought she wouldn’t be believed because racism , when is the reversed ,does not count. I tried to tell my story on another journalistic site and he deleted it. A few ( presumably white)people responded to me on Facebook to say deleted their stories of racism as well. Not trying to add any fuel to an inferno , just telling my Journey and the things that marred my childhood and adulthood too. Have a blessed day.

      1. Sad story, but more sadly, you missed the point as many have here. Anecdotal accounts are everywhere on this site. Everyone suffers discrimination for some reason or other. The difference for black people is the quantity and the level of hatred involved. i live in a very liberal area but my 3 black step children who went to prestigious prep-schools and college were constantly dealing with racial epithets, put-down slurs, police harassment, and at one point a district attorney who doctored evidence to make a white kid who attacked my step son appear the victim. That DA was exposed and fired. Please reveal to me a white person that by the age of 20 had suffered serious discrimination at least 100 times. Until I married my brown wife I had no idea of how awful and degrading it can be.

    15. Wow Duke! You sound like the one who is angry. So angry in fact that you seem to have read Lori’s article with the proverbial blinders on. You fully display the exact point that she was making. I can’t speak for Lori, but I’d agree that many black activists like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson do aggravate the white privilege issue.

      I grew up on a farm, in a very rural part of Nebraska. Therefore I was isolated from races other than my own Caucasian race. When I left home to further my education at 19 was my first experience with other races and people of other backgrounds. Yet, my attitude and feelings still had a white privilege overtone when interacting with other races. My parents never told me that I was better than others because I was white, nor did my K-12 education or local community. Yet, what I saw on TV was enough to taint my perception.

      What helped me to quickly check these feelings was my own experience with Healthy People Privilege. I was born with severe scoliosis and a severe club foot. My teachers and peers quickly taught me that because I was physically different, handicapped, that I probably had mental deficiencies as well. I experienced many similar situations that Lori recited based on the fact I was different physically than others.

      From the age of five I always wanted to be a pilot. Yet many felt that was not a realistic goal for me to set. Thankfully I can be strong willed and defiant. Between my Sophomore and Junior years in high school I earned my private pilots license. By this time I was no longer wearing back and leg braces. Yet I still needed to wear a one inch lift on my right shoe. Because of all the back and foot surgeries I walked with a slight limp and slightly bent forward. Three times in my flying career I was questioned if I could really fly the airplane because of my “physical” appearance, despite the certificates and ratings bestowed on me by the FAA. One of those times I had just been hired by a corporation. During the day long interview process I meant with the Aviation Manager who questioned my ability. But at the end of the day the chief pilot offered me the job. I returned to my home half way across the country but a few days later the chief pilot called me. He said before being able to finalize the job offer they wanted me to come back and do a check ride. Here I am, a pilot holding the highest level of certificate that the FAA can give, the ATP, but my ability was still in question because of the lift on my shoe and that I didn’t walk quite perfectly enough. I almost told the chief pilot what he could do with his job offer, but I ended up going back for a check ride that I flew to perfection! It had to be perfect because any little misstep would have giving them an “out.”

      Since you started with an assumption in your response to Lori I’ll make one concerning you. I assume you are a totally healthy white male that has had relatively few difficulties in life based on any of your physical characteristics. If so I am happy for you and hope you truly count your blessings each day. I know I count my blessings each day because I can experience life, and people, by focusing on their spirit and personality and not their attractive physical “abilities.” This allows for much more intimate and personal friendships and relationships. I hope you can too learn to experience life in this way.

    16. I didn’t see her post as angry at all. Institutional bias makes it more likely to be accepted as an athlete than a scholar. You come across as a man who feels threatened by successful people of color.

    17. Duke begins with a legitimate point on “confirmation bias”. As a kid, with other kids, we threw rocks in a neighbor girls pool. She was white (I had a crush on her). And on #3, I lived in Africa for some years and certainly experienced it quite a bit. It’s tiresome, and I don’t think Africans understood their “privilege” in not being made fun of in the same way, because it was an extremely diverse society where privileges were complex (tribe, gender, language). I assume most felt I could not be offended because as a westerner I was safe. But then many of my best friends did express a lot of concern for me (and one one train trip a drunk guy tried to get the other Africans in the car to throw me off the train). What I try not to do is use these examples to make myself “special” or “enlightened”. I know I have many privileges, more than most, and very many of those do correlate positively to my white race. But to infer that a person is more privileged or less privileged based on the skin color is a complex case of correlation and causation. Whiteness correlates positively to privilege. But that’s the same “correlation vs. causation” fallacy which I find objectionable in the latter part of Duke’s reply. Assumptions based on race are always a guess, inferior to truly knowing the individual. If you don’t know me, it’s a fair assumption I’m privileged in ways I don’t understand. But if my parents were crackheads, or I was a sexual traffic victim, or lived most of my life as a Bosnian under Serb genocide, and you don’t know that, I don’t think its fair to assume that because you have had negative experiences that I have not, or that yours are somehow more special. At the end of the day, I find that some of the white people who applaud the “white privilege” meme do so more to leverage the “racism” that the “don’t have”, but it tends to be applauded by people who have not lived in situations which muddy the water on the whole theme.

      It’s all very constructive for USA society to consider the inequities, it makes us stronger. But logically questioning things like confirmation bias, correlation vs. causation, and unintended consequences should definitely be a welcome part of the “discussion”. I hope they are.

    18. anyone no matter what background can tell who is angry darling– your horns are showing- white devil.

    19. If you can’t spell privilege you probably should step off your intellectual high horse.

      1. So, white privilege is a myth? And, you use the example of Black people making up half of the prison population. Well Black people make up half of the prison population because whites have the privilege of not being policed the same way as Blacks (no stop and frisk, arrest quotas, racial profiling or war on drugs going on in the suburbs), whites have the privilege of everyone of importance who works in the prosecutors office looking like them so they get drug programs/probation and PTI types of programs that will remove arrest from their records when they complete the program…Something Blacks are rarely ever offered…Whites are privileged to have people like you how say white privilege doesn’t exist…Since there’s no privilege as you say then you’d have no problem being treated the same exact way that this country treats Blacks? Since there’s no difference…Right?

    20. Duke Sota, your comments belie the ignorance and the arrogance that reveals the irony of your own white privilege. When you see something you don’t like, you simply throw surface knowledge to justify your ignorance without any in depth analysis whatsoever in order to get someone black particularly to shut up. You then use big words to further accentuate your own perceived intellect. You automatically assume that black people are just thugs without further understanding the conditions created by your indifference. You don’t even realize how that wherever blacks have achieved, there was someone white to either steal or destroy what was invented or built by blacks. Look at Black Wall Street for example (Tulsa, OK 1921). As black communities increased to the point that other nations wanted to do business with them, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) dropped sticks of dynamite from the air on black businesses and churches totally demolishing and by burning them in an ensuing race war that claimed the lives of 3000 blacks who’d built a very prosperous community. Then there was the race war of East St. Louis, and the race war of Chicago just to point to other examples. Let’s look at today. When I apply for a job, I have to overcome the stereotype that all blacks are thugs and therefore I have to be much better than the next white guy just to get the job. There most certainly is a correlation between the high unemployment rates in black communities and this stereotype. When I get pulled over by the police, I have to explain every gesture that I make. I have to tell the officer that I’m reaching for my wallet and where my wallet is so that I can give him or her my driver license. I can remember when I was about 20 or so, I had a two year old Ford Taurus at the time and I got pulled over constantly to be asked questions like “where are you going? Where are you coming from? Why were you there? Why are you going where you are going? Whose car is this?” only to give him my driver license and vehicle registration for him to literally match the registration to the VIN and then come back to repeat the same bevy of questions. I do not have a criminal record and never had one. It’s a good thing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes but you couldn’t relate because you have no idea what life is like for a black man because you will not experience it being white. If you moved to a black neighborhood, you could simply move back to a white neighborhood and it’s over with but I can’t. Existentially, things are COMPLETELY different for you in comparison. So before you are so quick to point fingers at our failure, just remember that your people have played a significant role in it. I’m not racist by any means but your post really touched something in me. Comments like yours are very divisive and show a total lack of understanding.

    21. Hey there! I’m a little confused as to your reasoning behind black people being half the prison population if it’s not institutionalized racism? Is it maybe because you believe racist stereotypes about black folks? I feel like the only explanation white people may have for the state of inner-city, impoverished black communities (other than the systemic racism that stems from hundreds of years of slavery plus consistent denial of rights, education, and property) is the fact that as white people, we tend to believe black folks are inherently lazy, stupid, violent, and cruel. As I’m sure you could agree, these beliefs aren’t true and are ~wow amazing~ deeply rooted in racism. When you tell a black woman that she is “exporting liability for her own success,” which I can only assume you think means “blaming other people for her problems,” you’re telling her that the daily injustice her community faces is a result of its own actions. But why would an entire race of people just screw itself over on the daily? Well then, they must just be inferior to white people! It couldn’t possibly be that the black community is not only attempting to recover from hundreds of years of institutionalized racism, but continues to face that same racism, embedded in our society’s institutions (in case you didn’t realize what it meant, I guess) every day.

      Couple of quick notes about your other “”points””

      As I understand it, the NBA thing actually is a problem. While it’s ostensibly a good thing that a majority of black people are receiving these high paying jobs within, the institution of the NBA (and other sports leagues) is actually pretty racist! The NBA tends to take advantage of uneducated black students from low-income areas by putting them in shitty contracts, never teaching them how to handle their money once their contracts are up, and essentially grooming them from an incredibly young age to be in the NBA. The other issue here comes from the fact that white society is constantly telling the black community that their only value is in entertainment/bodies in blue collar jobs. Looking back at minstrel shows, freak shows that featured “black savages,” or figures like the Venus Hottentot, it’s easy to see where our obsession with black culture from an entertainment perspective started from. So while it’s awesome that we are praising some black folks for their success, we’re ultimately taking advantage of what we see as an “exotic” culture without taking responsibility for the damages that we, as a society, have done and continue to do to it.

      “The reason for disparities in success between races is largely cultural, or economic.” And here, we agree!! But the issue is the root of that economic disparity, which I discussed above. People believe that race/gender/sexual orientation/able-bodied/mindedness are NOT tied into economic disparity, and this is something I don’t understand! Yes, straight white men can be poor. I know, I’m from a majority-white, rural impoverished community! But is it so hard to imagine that systemic racism also feeds into the already unjust system we live in? In regards to the “cultural” thing — I think what you’re saying is that cultural blackness in comparison to the physical color of someone’s skin is causing a disparity. Thanks for explaining racism, friend! Yep! Plenty of people are racist based on skin color alone, but plenty of other people are culturally racist. Ie, when they see a black person in a hoodie on a dark street, they shoot first and ask questions later! If they say a black man driving a nice car with a stuffed animal in the back, they assume that black men aren’t good fathers so this guy must be culturally white and the exception to the rule that all black men are thugs! Our problem as a society isn’t that black culture is wrong — it’s that white people perceive it as being wrong. We think that rap is gross and baggy jeans are inappropriate, that speaking AAVE (African American Vernacular English) is “ghetto” and that black folks who live in impoverished inner-city communities are — WAIT FOR IT — lazy, stupid, violent, and cruel. Looks like we went full circle with that one!

      A quick note: Obviously this isn’t to say that blackness (the color, not the culture) in and of itself is not also a cause for racist behavior/systemic racism. All of y’all commenting on this thread (an article from a Harvard-educated, not “”‘stereotypically””” angry black woman) make that abundantly clear.

      As far as family values, strong father figures, and dedication to education go: family values is pretty much meaningless, since we know that “traditional” families are no more likely to produce well-rounded, productive kids than non-traditional ones (thanks, LGBTQ community!). As far as strong father figures go: maybe if we stopped locking up black men, there would be more father figures to participate in their children’s lives! But seriously though, you don’t need a dad to ensure that you’re a good person. You need economic and educational stability, and those things are not offered to any impoverished communities in the US, let alone predominantly black ones. Finally: education. Listen, buddy. Are you actually telling me that black people choose not to receive an adequate education??? How is that even a thing? You have to understand that housing segregation leads to educational segregation, right? That poor communities can’t afford to pay high taxes on their homes, meaning they’ll receive lower-quality education because the value of their neighborhood is lower? So if you’re a black child living in a very poor black neighborhood, and your family can’t afford the transportation it takes to leave your neighborhood and go to a better/charter school, and the school you’re at is terrible because it receives no funding because the people living there can’t afford to pay for it, you’re pretty much out of luck? You’re not getting any the resources you, as a literal child, deserve?

      Two more things before I peace outta here:

      1) I don’t want to get into the whole “glorification of thug life” thing here, but basically black rappers are not glorifying thug life. Maybe actually listen to a rap song before you make that assumption.

      2) A community of people who stand together against racism is not “intentional marginalization.” It’s finding the people who actually value your life fighting together for your right to equality, because no one (meaning you, dude) will delegitimize your collective experiences.

      No, I am not black. But you don’t need to be black to see the racism that pervades the US all the time. Please stop embarrassing your fellow white people.

    22. But what about the racism, and systematic oppression? Is this the fault of the oppressed? You always get one “Mr. Whiteman” who thinks he clever enough to appeal to the intellect of the oppressed and trick them into accepting the fact that its all their fault. Another ‘white privilege…”

  5. Thank you for the time you spent writing this, for sharing it with the greater public, and for being willing to relive the painful moments you experience(d). I am truly grateful.

  6. I do not deny the experiences you list and describe in your post. However, to the extent your friend acknowledges “white privilege DOES exist” in response to your request, is the extent to which it subsists.

  7. Once I started learning about these things I, as an older white woman, saw and heard examples of “white privilege”. A few: I moved to a mostly black neighborhood and although it was two blocks from my previous home there was a precipitous drop in various services I received — newspaper delivery, garbage pickup, etc. It took me a while to figure it out but conversations on the phone made it clear that suddenly I lived in a “dangerous” neighborhood. The whole block was racially profiled! I once had a man break in in the middle of the night, make a lot of racket, and I locked my bedroom door and called the police. The burglar was white man from a large city many miles away and the policeman was black. When the case came up for a preliminary hearing the DA asked me and the policeman “What was that man doing in your house in the middle of the night? He doesn’t look like a burglar! I could see the expression on the black policeman’s face and I was speechless! The policeman did say something but I saw he felt a lot more. I called the DA later and asked him what he had meant and if it was a racial remark. He said of course not but couldn’t offer an alternate explanation. He also had talked extensively with the perp and his lawyer and told me how terrible it was that this young burglar now was shut out of his desired profession as a policeman! Needless to say, the man never did any jail time and didn’t complete his court ordered restitution. Another time I called the police about a missing car and the policeman told me it was probably stolen by a Puerto Rican. Although I am rarely stopped for a traffic violation, when I am I rarely get a ticket and every white police officer has been very affable to me. Working in the yard I sometimes listened to books on tape and listening with the awareness that others might overhear what I was listening to made me more aware that some novels gave white characters names where as other characters were only “the Indian” or “the black man.” A favorite mystery novelist I suddenly noticed had caricatures rather than people when it came to her black characters. And so on…. So it is a little hard to believe that if Jason were really looking he couldn’t notice these things on his own. I know since being with me, my husband has become better than most people at noticing sexism. If he is sincere, he will now be able to see white privilege all around him. Of course he has to put himself in situations where it manifests itself, places where he can see the treatment of POC.

  8. I don’t think you can be guilty of ‘privilege’, so there is no need for the ‘privileged’ party to feel they just by having ‘privilege’ they are ‘contributing’ to it. A better understanding is that we all need to understand how we perpetuate this sort of thing and contribute to an institutionalized system that is inherently unfair. You encounter two people, one is white and one is black. You are (pick one). Do you always address the person who shares your skin color? Or do you make a selection based on some other criteria? In order to fix this, we all need to become color blind.

    1. so sweep it under the rug and lets all hold holds in the dark and pretend it does not exist?… yeah ok.

    2. I fully agree with your last sentence. But on the whole privilege needs to be claimed. It cannot be given, or yielded. Look at all the well to do, highly educated black people, such as the writer of the White Privilege article.
      The problem boils down to belief. The world would be a better place if more people believed that they are equal to the best of us, which would allow them to just walk on when they come across the bigot.

      1. And walk straight out of the bank where you were refused a loan based on your race; or when you are stopped by police for driving or walking or trying to get into your own house while black

      2. Privilege bestowed at birth is absorbed, not claimed. The hardest part about white privilege to me, is getting rid of it. I don’t want it, but I can’t change my ethnicity and so other white people will continue to assume I’m in their club. The world would be a better place if more people believed in the inherent worth and dignity of every individual. As for walking away from the bigot, ask Trayvon Martin’s family how that works out for Black people.

  9. Powerful and I thank you for opening my eyes. We all need to walk in one another’s shoes. That’s the only way we can change perceptions. Thanks for allowing me a glimpse of what it’s like to walk in yours.

  10. My experience (well, one example… of many):

    I’ll start by saying I’m white, so mine is more of an observational than personally experiential. Having said that: My best friend through (and since) college is black. We have lived together, vacationed together… we’ve done just about everything that best friends do… together. And throughout our nearly 30 year friendship one thing has always been true, and remains so to this day. If the two of us walk into a room together (could be a hotel, could be a police station, could be anywhere), and a discussion needs to take place between us and someone of authority… that person almost invariably begins by addressing me. It is simply assumed I speak for us, and that I am our authority figure (This is, of course, not a strange experience to any women reading I’m sure, they typically get the same treatment).

    I didn’t understand white privilege until I started seeing (and being offended by) my best friend being marginalized in almost every conversation we had that was not with our existing group of friends. The only thing that is worse than the activity are the excuses and denials that most often follow it when I confront people about it.

    The thing about white privilege that white people don’t typically get (that I didn’t get until I started seeing it happen, first hand, to someone I cared about) is that it’s not about being rich, or having access to more things, or even having things handed to you; it’s about the fact that you are treated differently when confronted with the exact same circumstances, based on nothing more that the color of your skin. With privilege, your words are (by default) accepted rather than questioned (as are your motives and actions), without it, the opposite is true.

    I’ve watched for years as people commented about how well spoken my friend is… no one feels the need to say this about me. This is because it is expected of me, and a bit of a surprise when it comes to him. How many times have you heard someone say “he is incredibly well spoken” about a black athlete after an interview? Now count the number of times you have heard the same when the person speaking was white.

    A society that assumes white people are smarter, that assumes white people are the authorities, that – simply put – assumes white people are superior… that is a society of white privilege.

    1. Thank you for the great response to the post. You get it……
      I am white and have been saying this for years. I have two bi-racial children, and because I confront the white priveledge, I am told I am just an emotional Mother, or just sticking up for my children.
      Those offended by the White Privilege title….Will for the most part, never understand. To understand means they would have to confront truths they want no part of.

    2. How many times have you heard a black athlete butcher the English language during an interview? Now count the number of times you have heard the same when the athlete speaking was white. Stereotypes do not arise from thin air. They are based on many many observations. The majority set the expectation. If the majority of black people you meet cannot tell the difference between “ask” and “aks”, it is NATURAL to expect it from MOST of them, and to be surprised when the normal mold is broken.

      Its not “white privilege” that white people are expected to have a better grasp of English than black people, that’s WHITE BEHAVIOR.

      I understand better than most this “singling out because of physical characteristics” crap, as I am red-headed and fair skinned. We make up less than 2% of the population, whereas blacks make up 13%. Do you think our “differences” are EVER pointed out or used in a stereotypical fashion? ALL DAY EVERY DAY. I’m supposed to have “temper control problems” because I’m a red-head. I don’t think non-redheads have some “privilege” of being thought of as even-tempered. I think idiotic red-heads have given us all a bad name by having poor temper control. The stereotype wasn’t made up by one individual some day on a whim. It was a pattern of behavior.

      You fit into a group that you don’t want to be in. . . .join the club. There’s plenty of them that aren’t the “black” or “browned skin” ones.

      1. Thank you fro underlining the point… that “WHITE BEHAVIOR” as you put it, is considered superior and the standard by which everything is to be evaluated is exactly the issue. That *is* the white privilege. I think, perhaps, where you get tripped up is in thinking that it is somehow a bad thing to be privileged… it’s not.

        Those that aren’t, though, are *in fact* at a disadvantage… and I’d think (dare I say hope) that any decent person out there would want to rectify that. Not by compromising your own position, but by being a part of the effort to raise others to a position of equal standing. Whether you fit into the “decent person” category or not, I don’t know (and I’m certainly not here to insinuate that you are not)… that’s up to you to decide and act upon, frankly. But, the fact of the matter is… if a group of people is being disadvantaged, the citizens of the country I grew up being told we are do something about it. If not, whats the point?

  11. As a Jewish white career woman living in one of the largest cities in the United States, I have experienced only 1/100 of what my friends of color have. If you don’t understand white privilege but you would like to, here is the best and simplest example I can think of. If I jaywalk in the middle of a street because maybe the crosswalk is half a block away, and a police officer sees me, absolutely nothing happens to me. When a friend of color does this, they receive a ticket and a fine if they are lucky, worse if they are not. You have white privilege if you can walk down the street, be in a park, drive your car, even just hang out in your own home, and never have it occur to you to be on guard or fearful.
    Here is one more that just happened two days ago. I was shopping in the grocery store all the while hearing a young child crying. I happened into the same aisle and started playing peek-a-boo, and high fiving him. It was enough of a distraction for his parents to be able to keep shopping as we kept running into each other. When I went to check out, they were in front of me having already paid and bagging up their groceries. The child was eating some crackers that they had just paid for, and was perfectly happy and still wanting to high five. I wondered to myself why the parents hadn’t just let the child eat the crackers while they were shopping as I used to do when my kids were little.
    I’m guessing the reason was because they were people of color, and had at some time been accused of stealing or not planning to pay for the crackers.
    To Lori, thank you for digging into your pain to try to help people understand.

  12. This post was profoundly touching and heartfelt. I hope it was deeply appreciated by the requestor. The fact that he has a black “friend” as eloquent and emotionally healthy as you is a privilege itself. I hope he appreciates it.

  13. All people continually access the world we live among. These accessments tap into our knowledge and experiences. The sub culture you growup among has a large impact on how our assesments are filtered. Sub cultures within the US are distinct and color has unfortunately been used as a primary tool of division. It is assumed by many to be the primary distinction because if a person can access sub culture of a person or suroundings then navigation can tap into simular situational experiences. Bias based on color is real and getting more prevalent. The safety of social norms for those who have benifited from “white privledge” are breaking down. People are afraid and jumping to judgement faster. This country has a generational defficet of defigning sub cultural differiences by color. I see the only option of progress is to go deeper, past color, and start making an effort to actually understand differing subcultures. People of color in the US are tied to a lower socioeconomic stigma. This stigma has contributed to the cycle of depressed economic growth and continued raceism. Assessments based on color are lazy cultral identifiers!

    1. I’m sorry but that’s all we do anymore is learn about cultural differences. I can treat a person who is different from me with kindness and respect without knowing the specifics of their culture. Alaskan natives have cultural differences depending on the region they live. Spanish and Latino people are usually referred to as Mexican, and not all people who are from the middle east are Samoli. If we need to learn anything, it is the economic inequality faced by all people who are in the low income range. How have we allowed 1% of our society to control 1/2 of the wealth is beyond me. Lets stop fighting with each other and ask that 1% to give it back because they sure as hell didn’t work for it.

  14. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am a 57 year old white women. I have ‘white privilege’. I have had it all my life. I still have it. Up until 1 year ago I had never heard the term before. So I googled it. I read the definition several times, trying to comprehend just what that meant. Your letter further opened my eyes to the injustices that non white people have known and lived for years. The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that there is a problem. I recognize. Thank you again for sharing. Bless all who have showed interest and placed a post here.

  15. I grew up drowning in an ocean full of many streams of white privilege and its related prejudices. Episcopalians were better than Catholics, and Christians higher on the scale than Jews. English/Scottish/French/Dutch background was better than German, much less Italian (unless nobility) or any form of Hispanic. We humans use countless ways to filter others using arbitrary and fairly groundless metrics. Homosexuals were the punchline of a joke. Until I went to camp at the age of 10 I didn’t know any black people at all. Camp was well integrated, though–skin color was a nonissue. I didn’t know anybody who was gay (of course, as it turns out, not true). The only people I met with disabilities were wounded in a war. It was a horrible, unforgiving world. I hope it disappears. My father said that it would take 400 years for black/white prejudice to subside, until there were enough intermarriages so that there would no longer be an “us” or a “them” having to do with skin color.

    1. Your post really started to sound like “All Lives Matter” All the ethnic groups you mentioned all share one thing in America, white privilege but you preferred to talk about some imagined ethnic hierarchy. You and your father are wrong if you believe the only way for white privilege to go away is via miscegenation.

      1. She is saying that she grew up in a world in which there was a great deal of prejudice. She listed a slew of examples and basically said that black/white prejudice is the worst of it, so bad she doesn’t know how it will be overcome. It is okay that she doesn’t know how to overcome it in the world. She obviously cares and works to overcome it in herself and her surroundings.

  16. Individuals with skin that is not white have a raw deal in modern American culture. People with black skin, in particular. The prejudice, hateful acts and behavior towards non-whites, I just don’t understand the reasons for all of it. Reading history books is no help. They’re written from the perspective of white men. (I’m a white female, by the way.) Skin color should not have any effect on how one person treats another. But discrimination exists. The effects exist. Denying it does a disservice by undermining the sense of legitimacy to feel wronged for those who experience it. A person should be able to get angry, to announce it, and to have the acts recognized as wrong. And for privilege to cease to be such.

    Look, I was picked on as a minority during childhood too. Several times there were threats to beat me up, merely because I was Jewish. I remember one child telling me that Hitler should have finished the job, and I should watch my back.There were mocking comments about greed. (By rich kids, I will add; ironically, my family was one of the least affluent in the area.)

    But it’s not the same as having dark skin. It just isn’t. The scales are tipped in favor of white people. It’s a despicable fact. But it is a fact.

    For other white folks like me, I think there are several things WE (I include myself!) must do:
    -Ask questions. I commend the author’s Facebook friend for asking, whether it was done tactfully or not.
    -Listen without judgment when people come forward to share painful experiences. It’s not a contest to prove one person’s experience is worse.
    -Acknowledge the injustices, the harsh treatment, the nasty words, the abuse, the wrongheaded policies, the sheer mean-spiritedness, and sympathize, even if we can’t empathize.
    -Try to relate by drawing comparisons to injustices you’ve experienced personally if necessary, but do not assume we are facing the same challenges as people with black skin do. Look at the news, then try to argue the challenges are the same!
    -Acknowledge that there’s a problem, that black people have had some horrifying experiences and continue to encounter white privilege every single day.
    -As the author said, speak out when we hear things said or see things done that perpetuate the problem. If nobody speaks, then nothing changes.
    -Learn more. Don’t wait for Black History Month. I know I need to do more research!

    I admit it. I don’t like the term white privilege. I think it can be divisive. That’s the point! It highlights differential treatment and says that it’s wrong! I shouldn’t like it. I should squirm when I hear it.

    I extend a heartfelt thank you to the author for further educating me on the meaning of white privilege. I had my first discourse about this while in law school. It was a terrible shame that it took so long to have such a discussion. But I’m grateful that a fellow student, a friend, pointed out the disparate treatment. If nothing else, I hope more people will open their eyes–and their minds–to what has been happening for so long, and the pressing need for change.

  17. While reading the list it struck me how many of these things also happen if you are a woman, let alone when you are a woman of color.

    1. While reading this it struck me how many of these things happen to everyone, regardless of color, gender, social status.. that is called life.. sometimes it’s hard and your feeling get hurt.

      1. Your response is clear, Jacob: “This isn’t about race” and “don’t be so sensitive.” It is a troll response that lacks introspection.

      2. People are praising this author for her observations and perceptions of what happened to her, but ridicule Jacob when he makes a very valid observation. I can relate a story to each of her 10 where a similar situation happened to me or a family member. And im a white man. Almost all of her examples showed no proof of happening BECAUSE of her race. I moved to a new town – a mostly white rural western kansas community, and had kids knock on my doors at 2 am, leave nasty ‘gifts’ on my door steps and tp my car. Was it because of my race. Nope. Maybe its cause i was new teacher and teenagers think its cool to pick on a new teacher? Or just because these teens were jerks and liked to do this crap to people. Jacob is right, this can and does happen to all kinds od people regardless of race, social status, or gender. Does some racism occur? Yes for sure. Does this prove white priviledge, no. Read the (currently) first comment on this thread by Duke Sota… if people keep focusing on white priviledge instead of addressing the problems, like poverty, lack of high school education, kids growing up in fatherless/one parent homes, drug use, gang activity, crime in general, etc… then nothing will happen. Its more of a cultural problem than a race problem.

    2. Jacob and Luke,
      What is the excuse for the racism experienced by lawful, educated, middle/upper class black people raised in highly functioning families?

      Take black and white out and replace with male and female. Would you say women experience fair and equitable treatment and opportunities in our country? No? Why not? Because they’re women and the system was created by men to benefit men. More succinctly, the system was created by white men to benefit white men. That’s not YOUR fault, but is a reality. We won’t get past it if we don’t acknowledge and accept it.

      1. Emmie, I had a similar thought. Perhaps a more descriptive label is white Male privilege because white women are often treated similarly to the OP.

        But in my opinion, perhaps there should be no labeling at all as it only adds to the conflict rather than bringing us closer together. Yes, there are some people who benefit from or are excluded due to birth, something over which no one has control. Wouldn’t it be more productive if we tried to lift each other up by each of us sharing our knowledge and resources to help each other? I don’t mean “charity” because I’ve seen people of color (black, brown, yellow, red and white) take advantage of situations created by white guilt. That, again in my opinion, is not the right way. People will be people; we’re all human and do things to each other. But painting any one group with a negative brush pulls everyone away from the best each individual can be.

  18. Thank you, Lori, for having the patience to explain, kindly and gently, for the Nth time, that water is wet.
    And for having the character to ignore it when people argue that it’s not.

    People are listening and learning. Realization is slowly dawning. Maybe some day it’ll be enough to change things. Until then, stay safe, stay strong, stay awesome.


  19. The author suggests when we see acts of racism we should address it. I would like to comment on that.

    One year ago I moved to Milwaukee from the west. In the 12 months that followed, I have seen more acts of racism than in all of the preceding 47 years. It is quite unbelievable. What happens when I see these things is my brain just freezes, and I stand there with my mouth open in shock — because I simply can’t believe it.

    There have been far too many incidents to recount them all, but I will share just one: Recently my daughter and I were shopping in an upscale store, and we were in line behind a very angry white woman who demanded to see the manager. This woman was so angry when she spoke she spit all over the counter. She pointed to a young black woman who was standing nearby and said, “I want the name of that woman who refused to help me.” The manager replied, “She doesn’t work here.” (It appeared to me that the young woman was waiting while another woman was trying on shoes). The angry woman said “Hmmmp”, put her nose in the air, flipped her body around, and marched off. The implication was that if a young black woman was going to be in this store, it’s because she’s working there.

    Now, what I should have said was, “Don’t you think you owe this woman an apology for the scene you created?” Instead, I stood there with a dropped jaw — my brain frozen — because I could not believe what I just witnessed. I just couldn’t believe it.

    The young black woman didn’t say anything either. She just stood there looking tired. Not tired like she had worked all day, but tired of it — like this scene was not all that unusual.

    I remember the look on that young woman’should face, and I think to myself of myself: Girl, you have got to do better.

    Here’s the white privilege: my own child would never be on the receiving end of that kind of treatment.

    1. I have to say I have mistakenly thought someone “worked at a store” and their color was not the reason for my mistake. Believe me I might very well mistake your child as employee. They are are a veriety of reasons why I might make those assumptions. However I don’t get huffy and I apologize for my mistake. Mistaking someone as an employee is not necessarily a racial bias, but perhaps there was something else in her behavior that led you to that conclusion.

  20. As a white teacher in an a all black school I am sometimes hurt by comments made to me because I’m not black. A black school board member complained publicly at a board meeting about white teachers being hired, asking if anyone else had a problem with that. Students have told me their parents hate white people. At a shopping mall parking lot, a kid and total stranger leaned out of his car and called me white trash. To me, white privilege is more about unfairly being better able to get jobs, buy property, and gain affluence. Sadly, racism can happen within any race, and I have hope that more conversations and articles like this will lesson fears and lead to racial harmony.

    1. Unfortunately I have had some similar experiences.. I love and have friends of all races and do my best to respect different cultures and the feelings of others. I went to a university that had a black studies program and I took an elective class each year learning about other cultures or movements. The class I took was the Black diaspora. When I walked in I was hoping to just be a normal student getting ready for the class. Instead I was told I was in the wrong class , or what are you doing here? I was told these things because of my skin color. This saddened me because we all should learn about others. Then the professor would expect me to respond to questions about the white race from class members. As if I represented the entire viewpoint of the white race from the past to future day white people. I felt uncomfortable responding to these questions and had to explain to the class That I only represent myself, my own views, not all views of the white population. I was even told by one student that it was my fault that she lost her African language. I cried one day from all the pressure I went through. But I have to say I learned so much. How some black people have been hurt from a white person. How some are raised my the hurt their parents have encountered. I feel if either side continues to hold this hurt in their hearts that we can’t more forward, we can’t improve.

      I have seen people racism (especially in the south) It hurts my heart to even wittiness these acts from afar. I do believe there is racism on all sides.

    2. You’re a teacher; you should learn to differentiate between bigotry and racism. I’ll let you do the legwork and figure it out.

      1. Racism *is* bigotry. There is a difference between being smart and acting smart and you do not have to do any legwork to find it; you are one fine example of the difference. Carry on but do try to get it.

    3. Cathy I can understand how words can be hurtful but as Dr Joy Degruy so clearly explained the difference between white racism and black racism .I can say I hate white people and I can hate you all the way to the bank. That will not stop you from getting a loan or buying a home . But if whites hate blacks it impacts health coverage ,economic and financial growth. That’s what racism does. It impacts the common core of life.

    4. I completely agree with you and the lady who wrote about white privilege. Wah no one has to come to realize is that the privilege goes to who ever is in the majority. Living in the Atlanta, Ga are I am clearly on the minority. I live in a predominantly black upper middle class neighborhood with wonderful black neighbors since 1998. While we don’t socialize we are friendly having many a yard conversations and look out for each other. I couldn’t ask for better neighbors regardless of race. However, in the workplace and at school I am in the very tiny minority and I assure you I take a beating almost on a daily basis. One instance that stands out blatantly is when I applied with a department in the city of Atlanta. I was the only white applicant in the room. When walked in the receptionist have me a blank look when I asked where the bathroom was and in a very agitated tone and manner told me where the bathroom was. When I returned I overheard the receptionist telling the person reviewing my resume to make sure and call every one if my references and leave no stone unturned. It was very clear that the receptionist had power in the decision making process and didn’t want me hired. Another insurance I was hired and asked by a high level person interviewing me why I would want the position. When I explained my truthful and sincere reason the interviewer said I see your previous experience is all within the same area so you must not want to drive far. While it us true that I’m only going to drive a certain distance, it was by no means the only reason for my interest. My interviewer was looking for any reason to not take me as a serious candidate. It was astoundingly clear and obvious as the whole interview which would normally last an hour lasted 10 minutes. I have so many if the same type experiences in the work place that would take too long to list. I am often treated at school like I am taking something away from a black person just by being there. The disrespect and comments are too many and stupid to comment. I trained at Kroger as a co manager date college. I’ve always been a hard worker and not afraid to get my hands dirty. Part of my training was in the deli. One deli worker said that I never probably had to do any real work before like cleaning out a chicken fryer. After I told her I worked at Wendy’s in high school she changed her attitude. So while white privilege is alive and ongoing so is the privilege of the majority of which I haven’t been in since 1998. I just wish white and black would cut the carp so to day! I have also been told before by a man that the only reason I got a particular job was because I was female. Hogwash, I worked my behind off in college and my references said I did a good job, etc.

    5. The situation you have described is one part of your life. You can make the decision to move or get another position to escape negative treatment. ‘It’ follows people of color around. It’s constant. You have a choice. Peopleb of color don’t.

    6. Cathy, I’m sorry you had to experience those negative things, but, IMHO, when a person of color “hates” on you, it should only confirm that white privilege exists and that is a very sad reaction to it. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Instead of pointing out how you are a victim of racism, try to understand the driving force behind the treatment you find objectionable. That driving force is mistreatment of Blacks in our society. Go ahead and feel the pain, but try to imagine multiplying that by 1,000 or a million. Feel the pain and use it to try to better understand your African American students. Because you can drive out of that school or mall parking lot and blend back into the world of white privilege. And don’t you agree that our children really, really, really need more Black teachers? Try not to take comments like this personally, and it might help you lead others to a world with more racial harmony. That’s a wonderful goal!

  21. Thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately I don’t think much wil change in our life time.

    I often heard, “I don’t think of you as Black” when I worked in a corporate setting. My well meaning colleagues didn’t realize that I grew up loving the beautiful diversity of my people, so what they meant as a compliment sounded just plain ludicrous. Early in my career a mentor recommended that I read “Black Rage” which helped me navigate the exhaustingly insulting white collar world.

    No one should have to go through life aware that strangers are uncomfortable with the color of their skin. As a universal blood donor (o negative) I’m sure many people offended by my skin tone would accept my blood to save their life.

  22. People seem to think that “white privilege” means you are a racist. I was never aware of it until I was in my 20s. I had long hair, a ton of earrings, a heavy metal t-shirt, ratty jeans and Doc Martin’s. I was at the mall with a friend and looking at CDs, when I noticed two of the employees move close to me, one in front and one behind, flipping through the racks. As I moved through the store, they quite obviously were staying close to me. After we leave, I said something to my buddy who simply called it “instant inventory”. Because of how I looked, he explained, store managers would ask workers to discreetly follow people (yeah, teens in retail are good at being discreet) at the store they felt were “questionable”. What, me, questionable? I naively talked to a black friend about it, and they said it was like that for them all the time. My experience gave me the tiniest glimpse in to their life, but I also came to a pretty sad conclusion. I could shave, put on different clothes, pull my hair back, take out my earrings, and poof…… how people perceived me was completely different. They couldn’t change their skin. I will never know what it is like to be black, but I recognize my privilege very clearly. I also gave up preconceived notions and stereotypes as best I can. Everyone gets a blank slate in my life and get to earn or lose my respect equally. My grandma Catherine was one of my greatest inspiration to be that way, and I can never thank her enough for that part of my soul.

  23. If I were still teaching high school U. S. History, this would be required reading. Thank you for writing it.

  24. I was driving from Portland to Seattle for a meeting in a rental car, and got lost after stopping for gas. Got pulled over by a very congenial cop, who asked me if I knew I was going 10 mph over the speed limit? I said I didn’t, explained the car was a rental with a sprightly nature (took a moment to scold the car), and that I was lost and late for my meeting. He wrote me a warning, told me to Be Careful, gave me directions, and said have a nice day. He went back to his car and took off, I rolled up the window, put the car in gear, and just before pulling out onto the road said, “Now, *that* is white privilege.”

    1. The thing is, though, I don’t think of this as a privilege, really. This is what I think ‘should’ happen for anyone in that situation. It isn’t so much that whites are privileged as that everyone else is denied the common decency whites take for granted.

      1. Yes, and that is what makes it a privilege. Being treated with respect in situations where everyone should be treated with respect, and not everyone is, based purely on skin color.

      2. Perfectly put! “It isn’t so much that whites are privileged as that everyone else is denied the common decency whites take for granted.”

  25. Hi Lori,
    I value your life experiences despite how painful they may be to share for you it is important for everyone to hear about them. I personally don’t like terms that separate’s races more than they already have been. Putting term’s on people like white person, black person, brown person etc is not appropriate because some individuals may look of one race but are multiple races- you can not lump them all into one category just by judging them on the color of their skin.
    Most people would consider me a “white girl” but I am Latino, Native American, European/Spanish, Irish.
    I have as a person who appears to be white, still experiened many of the same situations that you have. Now I don’t wan’t you to feel unvalid in any of what you have experienced by me saying this because none of these situations are warranted and some definitely have to do with “white privelage” or perspectives that were taught to individuals. 1.This boy possibly could have had a crush on you or your sister & might have been trying to get your attention. He could have also just been bitter cuz he didn’t have money to just build a pool. Boys are like that sometimes. 2.As a child I was taught at about the same age as your sister what the N word was when I heard it on TV and my mother taught me that is a word that has alot of pain behind it, it should never be repeated and if you ever hear someone saying it stand up to them & make sure they know you are not ok with that behavior. She showed me lynchings, beatings, & helped me to understand exactly why we stand up to it. It confused me as I grew into an adult why so many African-Americans used that term when it causes them so much pain. I know now, reality of life doesn’t always make sense but we have to continue to fight for what we believe in.
    3. I had a similar situation happen to me in college. I disclosed I had Epilepsy to my teacher in a written note so that if I needed to record assignments & review I would not get in trouble for using my phone. He took this as a platform to make fun of people with epilepsy in front of the class by saying things like” the bright colors of the walls are going to cause some of you to spaz out”, “watch out for the lights”. I left the class because I personally disclosed this and he chose to berade me in front of the class, but it has nothing to do with white privelages, just a persons ignorance, lack of care, and choice to harass for their own personal laugh or gain.
    4&5 I can see this but also see that it can be viewed from other perspectives as well. The truth is life isn’t fair even when we work hard for it. Having a background that gives you a privelage because they need more minority in the school is a privilege; it would be the same as if someones parent was an alumni. It doesn’t mean you both didn’t work hard, get good grades, and do extra curriculars. Some people have the ability to just be happy for their friends despite the advantages. It could happen to a person of any race.
    6. Just hearing this frustrates me, I am sorry you have to deal with moments like this. I can’t understand your perspective here but I can empathize. I overheard a lady not too long ago talking about how she doesn’t care about history, doesn’t wan’t to visit historical places to learn because her husband was a history teacher and always wanted to share that with her. It upset me that she not only had a lack of understanding for what comes before us but also for her husband. So, I can sort of understand your frustration here, I am sure not to your extent though.
    7. I have worked in the service industry for 10+ and have experienced this first hand from all races. People of any race can treat you with disrespect. This has happened to me at conventions, banquets, wine events, weddings, etc. Most of the time people treat servers/waitstaff as servants & are rather rude. They believe that they can boss you around because they are paying you. We still appreciate respectful people.
    8. Totally get this, most of my bosses have been white males & I would live to see more diversity & women in the workplace. I have been sexually harassed a few times and powerless to do much because the times I have spoke up I was let go within a week. Annoying!
    9&10 I definitely can’t relate to either of these, but have some friends who have explained similar situations. I have also grown up in gang neighborhoods & have had my own influence of keeping my head down so I don’t get raped, pulled in to sell for sex trafficking, or iniated.
    All I am saying is don’t just assume everything is white privelage and we should all do our best to eradicate hate against each others races.
    Best to you

    1. “1.This boy possibly could have had a crush on you or your sister & might have been trying to get your attention.”

      The idea that abuse automatically is excused by the idea that it means a boy likes you is a whole other problematic mindset. Boys are only “like that” if they are allowed to…well, exist as particularly privileged characters.

    2. Megan,
      The author isn’t assuming that everything is white privilege, like you suggest. They note that discrimination and oppression are intersectional, and that their experiences can’t necessarily be distilled down to ‘just’ being about race. I think implied in this is also that many people will have had experienced similar experiences based on privileges related to sexism, ableism, classism, etc.
      But not being able to ‘prove’ that an experience is only about race, doesn’t mean that white privilege doesn’t exist. Other privileges exist and intertwine with this, but that doesn’t dismiss the existence or impact of white privilege, and don’t mean that it’s not the main thing underpinning these situations.
      Going through the author’s list and individually explaining why you feel like they should be interpreted in another way, seems really derailing, and disrespectful. It feels like you are discrediting and disregarding the author’s experiences.
      I have learned that one of the most important things we can do for each other is listen and hear, and not try to discredit someone’s experience of oppression. If you have a different experience, or opinion, and you want to share that – that’s by all means your right, but to do so in someone else’s arena, to do so in direct response to this article, seems really problematic to me.

      1. I totally agree, Paula. This is a way to deflect and minimize the issues of race and white privilege. It is dismissive, disrespectful and causes more pain. Living in a system that oppresses a person has physiological, emotional and physical effects. Reading her response affected my breathing and blood pressure. I found it extremely difficult to breathe and my frustration levels were at a point where my head felt like it would explode. The frustration leads to anger; that is being channeled through the Black Matter Movement and all the other movements for justice and equal rights. Peaceful protest will not stop because we are tired of not being heard. In one of my FaceBook post, a friend of a friend expressed her fear of a “full revolution”. Yet, in the same breath, she deny’s there is a problem. Why fear a revolution if there is no problem. I told her a revolution comes about to effect change; and usually that is change to an oppressive system. I think it is a valid fear that white people carry because they know this is system wrong. They know there is a problem. It is hard to reach people like Megan, because they are not open to listening. The truth is too painful. It is a difficult conversation for all. But, to survive as a united nation we must work through that pain. We cannot have open and honest dialogue without a willingness to acknowledge that this country was built on a system of white supremacy. At least she was honest to say she does not agree and that is her right.

      2. To be fair, I don’t think Megan said the author “should” have interpreted things differently, I think she was saying they “could ” be. I think she was trying to understand the authors position, as evidence by other things she said. Although none of us can ever truly appreciate others experience, I do appreciate those who at least try, even if they don’t get it right, it’s much better than those who don’t. It’s a good starting place!

      3. I agree with Paula. Poet Leroy Moore often talks about racism in disabled activism. White disabled people are the ones who get on talk shows or get interviewed, etc. Leroy Moore is the creator of Krip Hop and I urge everyone to read him.

        W. Kamau Bell has taught me that white privilege is that I don’t automatically ask myself, “was that racism?” every time I have a negative encounter with a white person. I don’t live with that constant doubt.

    3. “Boys are like that sometimes” would be an example of male privilege. I know “this boy” from my childhood (I mean the type): the boy who pulls your hair or grabs you or teases you or knocks your books off your desk at school and when you say something your teacher or your mama says, “he just likes you; boys are like that sometimes.” Now, use those same words but on an adult situation: a man yanks a woman’s hair and pushes her work papers off her desk at work. Or the catcalls from guys on the street. Or even more subtly, the man who reaches over to touch your hair unsolicited and unwanted, or responds a little differently to your ideas in a meeting at which you’re the female who tossed out an idea or asks why you don’t smile more because it makes you look pretty (this said in a professional setting), or even the guy who commiserated with you about “the old boys network” that hit you both passed over for promotions, or the coach laughing about the boys taking so long in the locker room saying “they’re worse than the girls and you know how long the girls take!” father teaching his son to “stop throwing like a girl” —or any number of micro aggressions that seem normal if you’re that guy but are unwanted, unsolicited, and then unsavory and sometimes supplemented with “he must like you” or “he feels threatened by you.” Why are boys given a pass with “boys will be boys.” Think about what we rally mean when we say that: boys will be boys means things like “irresponsible, oblivious, uncaring, physical rather than emotional, aggressive, ambitious, mischievous, disrespectful,” and it’s written off as funny, typical, and part of their right in the world.
      If some action or assumption feels like it involves a long-standing cultural narrative like “boys are like that sometimes,” then be wary of the difference someone is being subjected to based on something that they were born with,. And finslly, “passing” itself suggests that there’s a standard of whiteness that someone would “pass” as. A tan Caucasian woman would never be said to be able to “pass” as black, said as though that were a good thing or normal thing.

      1. And autocorrect on the phone just adds to my many typos. Tiny screen, adult fingers.

    4. Funny how a black woman very thoughtfully wrote about her personal experiences with racism, and a white-passing woman had to come and explain why those weren’t necessarily about racism and why those experiences aren’t unique to her.

      If you’ve never been questioned or had someone try to invalidate your words after you opened up about how you and your family have experienced racism over the years, that’s white privilege.

    5. I had the same thoughts as I was reading. Similar things have happened to me as a white girl. I don’t automatically assume WHy people are stupid and hateful. They just are. Everybody has discriminations occur unjustly. Everybody has to learn to push through them. Not everybody seethes inside for the rest of their lives after dropping them all in a bucket with one label. I am glad the author finished Harvard and flipped the bird to her detractors.

      1. Several comments (Stacey’s, Megan’s) are perfect examples of how to be dismissive when folks of color talk about their experiences with racism. Your “similar” personal experiences with hardships or disrespect are not an indicator of the absence of racism or the actuality of white privilege.

      2. Stacey, your third sentence is the definition of White Privilege. As I wrote above, Black people always wonder if it was racism, because that’s what racism has done to them. As a white woman, I don’t have to walk on eggshells in case I get profiled. I don’t get followed in boutiques. I also know that if I was followed in the boutique, it couldn’t possibly be for my race.
        A bank wouldn’t change a 20 for me unless I opened an account. I walked out and didn’t wonder if it was because of my race. My friend next door had the same thing happen, and she was certain it was racism. That’s white privilege. I don’t want it, I didn’t earn it, but it is there. And if I show racism or privilege, please let me know so I can improve myself. I’m not fragile.

    6. …Did you really just try to explain away the author’s LIVED experiences? As if she has somehow misinterpreted these very real instances of micro-aggressions and racism? So, your post is EXACTLY the reason she even had to write this in the first place. How do you even begin to make this about YOU, when (as you stated at the top of the post), you are seen as white?

      You missed the point, Megan.

    7. Ok, stop centering, Megan. Really? Your experiences are important but you are still centering here. Just stop. And you certainly don’t get to rewrite her experiences and knowledge of this subject. This is white Privilege, fragility, centering and micro-aggression. Omg. Please check yourself.

  26. I love your thoughtful response. Yet what struck me was the privilege inherent in his question. Here: I fixed it for him.

    “To all of my Black or mixed race FB friends, I must profess a blissful ignorance of this “White Privilege” of which I’m apparently guilty of possessing.
    [I don’t actually think I have white privilege, but you people keep saying it, so I’ll humor you and maybe in the process show you that you’re totally wrong.]

    By not being able to fully put myself in the shoes of someone from a background/race/religion/gender/ nationality/body type that differs from my own makes me part of the problem, according to what I’m now hearing. Despite my treating everyone with respect and humor my entire life (as far as I know), I’m somehow complicit in the misfortune of others.
    [By not being willing to believe the lived experience of others is true because I haven’t seen it firsthand, thus making it instantly questionable in my assessment, I feel like I’m being attacked for just being who I am. Even though, in my humble opinion, my behavior has always been above reproach, and thus not part of this “system of oppression” that some people blame for their inability to succeed in a society that is, without exception, fair, equitable, and chock-full of opportunities and unimpeded progress for anyone willing to work for it.]

    I’m not saying I’m colorblind, but whatever racism/sexism/other -ism my life experience has instilled in me stays within me, and is not manifested in the way I treat others (which is not the case with far too many, I know).
    [Despite the fact that I have grown up surrounded by privilege that, even as an adult, I am loathe to acknowledge, I’m 100% sure that it has not affected my world view, and has not created any biases or affected my treatment of others (unlike those obviously biased people who belong to hate groups, or who perform racist or violent acts against people different from them). Is there any research (preferably by people I know personally) showing this “bias” to be a real thing?]

    So that I may be enlightened, can you please share with me some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you?
    [So that I can be reassured of my rightness and goodness (and by extension the wrongness of those who say things about privilege that make me feel defensive), can you please reopen your old wounds by sharing some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you? Note: they must be indelible and therefore clearly identifiable by me as offensive or racist, using my own clearly unbiased rationale. Random, weekly or monthly, run-of-the-mill inequity, injustice, (not so) micro-aggressions, disrespect, having your intelligence or competence or achievements questioned or discounted, and being rendered invisible or overly visible by being singled out and asked to speak for or represent your entire race on myriad issues don’t really count, IMH(and unbiased)O.]

    If I am to understand this, I need people I know personally to show me how I’m missing what’s going on. Personal examples only.
    [If I am to understand this, and not simply write it off as more overly-sensitive, race-card-playing by people whose opinions don’t carry any weight, despite them living this reality to which I am oblivious, I need people I know personally to share their examples of these things they claim are all around me, as being known to me gives them a credibility lacking in the similar accounts and video proof from thousands of other people just like them (including elected officials, respected professionals, celebrities, and just regular folks) who have written about these issues ad nauseam for over 100 years. I don’t know them personally, so I must discount their recollections as I can’t be sure they’re accurate and verifiable.]

    I’m not trying to be insensitive [I’m not self-aware enough to realize that the tone of this entire message is dismissive and skeptical of the experiences I profess to want to better understand].

    I only want to understand (but not from the media)
    [I only want affirmation that my view is correct without facing accountability for it].

    I apologize if this comes off as crass or offends anyone.”
    [On some level, I know it’s crass and offensive but I don’t care enough to find a way of asking these questions that don’t lay bare my disbelief that I am in any way biased or complicit in this so-called “white privilege” that I supposedly possess.]

    1. However insensitive or ignorant you find this man’s question and choice of wording would you prefer to quell his quest for answers and understanding? People don’t ask questions, people don’t seek enlightenment and we continue on the merry go round of ignorance and misunderstanding. Commend the man for his desire to step outside of self and forgive his choice of delivery.

    2. Wow. It’s no wonder why some white people are hesitant to discuss race with persons of color, if this is what they’re met with when trying the best they can to be sensitive. Does everything a white person says have some sort of subtext to you? Is there a way he could’ve phrased his post that wouldn’t have been offensive to you?

      1. In the time it took to pen the question to the author, he could have done some quick research and arrived at exhaustive examples. Placing the onus on Lori to explain his privilege to him through her lived experience is lazy at best.

        In 1988 Peggy McIntosh wrote the essay, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies”, in which she listed 46 examples in which being white has its advantages.


      2. His “question” was presented in about as smug and condescending way as possible. It really gives off a sense of “Sorry. Not sorry” as opposed to an honest request for clarity. And this was too his FRIENDS!

        Here’s a much less confrontational way to pose the question. “I hear a lot about white privilege, but don’t really understand how it applies to me. I’d appreciate if some of my friends, especially people of color, could share some of their lived experiences so I can personally relate. Thanks!”

      3. To Fondi:

        Throwing this out there: I’m white. When I first started seeing terms like “white privilege” and “intersectionality,” my knee-jerk reaction was to ask others if I was like “that,” (meaning unintentionally racist or privileged)… Pretty soon after, though, I saw probably the best possible tumblr post about what to do as a white person wanting to learn more about privilege. I’m paraphrasing this, though not by much, because the wording was really what made me remember it:

        (This is in first person as that poster, who was a person of color)

        “I’m not your babysitter. If we’re friends and vaguely on the subject, it might be okay to ask. If that’s not true? Do your own damned research. You can use google to inform yourself better when there are countless essays, articles, blog posts, videos, out there. Specifically asking me [OP] about this because I’m your black friend makes it *my* responsibility to teach you. It’s not my responsibility to teach you, it’s your responsibility to learn. I deal with white privilege all day every day–I probably got onto [tumblr] to stop dealing with it for a while and just look at pictures of cats. Asking me to delve into this painful thing just for your education is part of your privilege.”

        That was all I needed. Sure enough, there are *plenty* of resources available, written by people gracious enough to share (Thank you, Lori, for sharing!)… It’s not okay for me to roll up to my friends and assume that they will teach me. I have google, and I have a brain. When links to articles and blog posts (like this one) pop up on my tlist/fb feed/tumblr dash, it’s my responsibility (as someone with privilege) to read, learn, and doubly my responsibility to help spread the info.

        And as far as “does everything a white person says have to have subtext to you?” goes… Unfortunately, when it comes to stuff like this… it carries subtext whether we want it to or not. That privilege is at least some small part of the subtext.

      4. Well, first, it’s very tiresome, burdening and painful for POC to explain this stuff with white People. So, your fragility is very present here. Talk to a white who does this kind of work to help you. I’m always available.

    3. First, thank-you Lori for taking the time to evaluate and then articulate so masterfully such great examples of what white privilege is, and then pinpointing in each example why it was so. I also thank your friend for asking you and others to share personal examples. I perceive this man to have a heart that really wants to understand. Yes he could have Googled the term, but instead he asked people he knows and trusts. That right there is a mouthful, and meaningful. He trusted you to tell him the truth, your truth. In his world of privilege, often times ‘white privilege’ is only an issue after something horrific has been done to some underprivileged, undeserving, African American who the media is character assassinating. YOU are accomplished black women, cultured, educated with the country’s elite. He wanted and needed your story, your truths, because YOU he could believe. Even with the last 8 years of total disrespect towards the POTUS, based on white privilege, he needed to hear it from someone HE knew, after all the POTUS is a politician (let that mean what it may).

      I believe he was sincere in his question and saw no shade. I think he wanted to understand, and move out of his comfort of privilege. Lori knows this man. I think if she thought he was being anything other than honest and sincere, her response would never have been written. He wrote this question to people he knows, people he is friends with. Nothing about his author makes me think she would have put as much thought into her response if she didn’t feel his sincerity. I think if she thought he was blowing smoke, her response, if she responded, wouldn’t have been this introspective, lengthy, or on her page.

      I hope he allows his heart to be effected by what has been written, and ignores some of the harsh criticisms posted about him. Lori, great teachable moment, and excellent lesson plan delivery.

    4. I am ” white” of Italian roots. Yes, I do know what it is like to be hated for the color of my skin. My sister and I were harassed by a gang of black kids years ago. I have curly hair and was teased because of it. I was made fun of because I wore glasses. Need I say more and now everyday of my life as a woman in my 50’s with three grown sons I am reminded of white privilege everywhere I turn. Some of my dearest friends are black. They are not good but great people. It’s time to stop the race card and get over the resentment. Attractive people are privileged…they probably will get the job first…skinny people are privileged and it goes on and on. I pray that we all see beyond the exterior who we really are and it not only starts with white but black as well.

      1. Please read every single comment and reply here. That’s your homework on understanding what it means to center and fragility.

    5. You nailed it Natasha… thanks, another “white privileger” (Hanson) thinking he’s so damn clever and intelligent, that he’ll convince all these ignorant black folks here, just how wrong they are about systemic oppression and racial discrimination in America, it doesn’t exists. The same way the “holocaust” never happened. It just seems so unreal and apathetic when you’re explaining this to people who have actually experienced it… Why not used that energy to educate white folks, that “yes, we are all Americans” and No, Black folks are not out to “Kill us all…” mantra.

  27. Thank you for sharing. I remember reading a book some years back called “Having our Say” by two sisters who were 100 years old or there about. I was amazed how every aspect of their lives was affected by their skin color. I am 63 and grew up in a relatively small town of mostly white people. I did not know how difficult and demeaning life could be for “black” people. (Please forgive me if this is no longer an acceptable term) I now have a grandson who is biracial. I am becoming increasingly aware of how different his life is and will be from mine. My desire is to be sensitive and treat everyone with kindness and fairness.You are helping me see life from a different perspective.

  28. I am conflicted after reading this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad I did. But I feel like a lot of the discussion on white privilege is made to make me feel guilty for something I can’t control. I wish the discussion could be expanded to talk about all privilege without denigrating another’s experience. I’ve had many of these same experiences, but not because I’m black. I’m white. But I’m Jewish. There are lots of experiences, but not just one time things either. Even something as simple as I have to take vacation time for my holiest holidays to not work, but most others get their holy days off as holiday. In essence getting extra vacation time. Or trying to have my kids not go to school those days, no guarantee they won’t miss a test. That’s privilege too. Some of my black friends have looked at me like I couldnt possible understand when I empathize with what they’re saying about having discussions with their kids they shouldn’t have to have. But I just had to talk to my pre-school age daughter about not singing her favorite songs or saying prayers out loud to not draw attention to herself, which made her sad because she’s so proud to be Jewish. I think we all have a long way to go in dealing with any and all privileges.

    1. You sound like the people who try and counter Black Lives Matter with Ali Lives Matter. It ain’t the same.

    2. You are trying to make this about you. The topic is white privilege and how it exists within our society. All the author wants you to do is to acknowledge it exists and to stand up for what’s right. There are other prejudices in which you are referring, but that is off topic.

      1. I believe this reader is showing a bit of empathy with their own examples; not attempting to discredit the author. Had she empathized yet provided no personal example you may trample her for speaking out of turn as well. Can we not agree that she is simply trying to understand in her own way.

    3. She writes very clearly about intersectionality. I will speak from personal experience. I am middle class, white, female, a Unitarian Universalist and Pagan, I am heterosexual, able-bodied and neurotypical. Like you, all these intersect to inform my privilege. Being female and of a monority religion (that is seen as A. not a religion B. Devil Worship) I don’t benefit from male privilege, nor religious privilege. Now my religion makes me an invisible minority, so I can choose to keep it to myself. Even though that feels like a micro aggression in and of itself, especially like for you when it comes to my children, I do have a choice in potentially dangerous situations. So there are ways in which I feel I can very personally empathize but I know quite frankly that my white privilege trumps all of it. And I can understand why Black folks would see my “disadvantages ” as not quite the same.

    4. Clearly the author was discussing how racism/sexism has impacted her life, and explaining white privilege which you very clearly have, and a pretty large ego as well based on the fact that you’ve somehow made this discussion about racism against blacks about you and your religion. Woe is you. Heaven forbid you have trouble getting more vacation days than everyone else does because of your holy holidays.

      The difference is, no one will look at you and your daughter and immediately judge you on your appearance. You will not move into a nice neighborhood and be made to feel like you don’t belong. You will not walk into a high end store and be followed around or assumed to be an employee because obviously you wouldn’t be shopping there. You will not ever have an employer choose not to hire you because or your skin color that you cannot hide or change. You and your daughter can choose to not say prayers or sing songs out loud if you feel like that would endanger your for some reason, and then you’d just pass as any other white person. Black people can’t stop being black. Keeping their mouths shut doesn’t make them look any lighter.

      1. Many Jewish people “look Jewish.” The sad thing is, when I was a girl, many of my Jewish friends wanted nose jobs so they wouldn’t look Jewish. They were beautiful just the way they were. No child should even contemplate getting surgery to stop looking like their race or ethnicity. Because of my lived experience, I support Black Lives Matter.

        I think this comment section has morphed into a major conversation about race sparked by the original essay, rather than simple comments on the essay. Every time someone white tells their “me too” story about oppression, we white people should keep in mind that Black people go through all this PLUS racism. We can support Black people without feeling some twisted rivalry as to who has it worse.

    5. The difference here is choice. You choose to follow the Jewish faith (although I’m sure you may disagree on that) however, when you walk out of your home
      how many people automatically know you’re Jewish? A POC is automatically recognized.

      1. Actually, my son is routinely harassed on the street for looking Jewish and/or gay. Notice I said looking, not being. My son’s religion and orientation have nothing to do with a bigot’s perception of him. Asymptomatic carriers of bigotry, like Typhoid Mary, harm others without even realizing it. If they realize it and continue to do harm, as Typhoid Mary did, then they should experience the consequences as Mary did.

  29. Thank you for this incredibly insightful response and post. I’ve shared this on FB because you’re incredibly articulate, direct, honest and wise. Some of this I knew but reading a personal list rings truer than any idea ever could.

    Thank you. I’ve learned a great deal in the last five minutes and for that I’m grateful to you.

  30. Thank you Lori. I was just feeling sort of irritated at the white privilege concept this morning. Now I am feeling very grateful for your gentle tutorial.

  31. I love this discussion and all that are opening up, hopefully for everyone to try to understand all sides. I would like to add that so many of your examples struck home with me except in “the reverse”. I was part of desegregation in the 70’s in Kansas City, I was bussed into a school and was the white minority. I had girls shove me, girls hoot as I walked down the hallways, girls drop pencils on the floor in front of me and say “honkie, pick up my pencil”. I was threatened, I was scared and I was on the “wrong side”. Did I have white privilege? I suppose I did when I was among my white neighbors. But it sure didn’t do me any good at school. That said, I don’t begrudge those kids. I look back on it as a life experience for me, I chose not to treat others that way, I never have, and I moved on. It never was a thing of color to me, rather it was people who acted poorly. Just another perspective.

  32. Thank you for posting your friend’s post and your response. I’m wondering what his response was to such an eloquent list of your personal experiences. I plan to like your GoodBlackNews page!

  33. While these are good examples and each one’s conclusion frames it well as an “if you never”, I still kind of feel like this fellow (and perhaps other readers) might miss part of the privilege concept: not only is he failing to suffer from these sorts of incidents, but he’s also correspondingly benefiting from a system that tends to prefer him to others. That, to use a phrase way too many of the racists above use, there is some ongoing degree of built-in “affirmative action” enacting itself on his entire life, and his parents’ fortunes, and so on.

      1. Maybe you shouldn’t refer to an adult in college as a “white boy.” It’s kind of insulting, black girl. Were there any black boys in the class?

  34. Wonderfully written. As a Black, Muslim woman from Minnesota, who’s gone to Stanford and is now a physician in the Army in Texas, I see *so* much of my life in your recounts that it’s almost scary. Thank you for your courage in sharing your, and thus our, stories. As I’ve been saying left and right these days – “Sending you continued love & strength in solidarity.”

  35. Thank you for sharing Lori! I can relate in both spirit and substance to many of the experiences you’ve had. From being called a “nigger” as a high school camp counselor by some kids who didn’t enjoy knowing that I had authority over them, to being singled out as the “lucky one and only” in private elite classrooms, to having really dumb jocks at my Ivy league college tell me I was admitted because of “affirmative action,” to French Farce worthy moments of shock where people have taken to their heels and fled (not joking) when they realized I was the person in charge. Oops.

  36. I am 72 years old and remember my grade advisor at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn because he wanted to place me into a general education program and remove me from the college bound, academic program. Fortunately, my mother put a stop to his nonsense. His name was Mr. West and he told me that I would end up a “domestic”. The day I completed my first Master’s degree, I encountered him, and was happy to inform him about my achievements. I learned early that anyone who tells me I cannot do something, fires my determination. Mr. West was white and years later I learned he was in the American Nazi party. How many lives did he ruin, I have often wondered. Thank you for your post. Dr. Lois Blades Rosado

  37. I read your stories and feel no surprise, only sadness.
    I’m truly dismayed I cannot take away any of your load. I’ve seen and processed many incedences that have affected my spirit. I’ve stepped into divides of injustice many time too. Instinctively I knew I could make a difference by stepping up. I know even that truth is white privilidge. I walk a thin line daily that affects my spirit. I see, hear, anticipate, become enraged and weep for all who live this existence.
    I empathize and feel even that is white privilidge.

    1. “Look! I’m a GOOD white person!”

      Excellent virtue signaling, lady. You’re one of the good ones, right?

      1. You know what, Joe? You’re being a dick here. And in your comment above as well. Please, stop commenting if you can’t be kind. Seriously.

      2. It is terribly sad when solidarity and attempts to understand one another are given so much hostility.

    2. From the bottom of my heart I feel grateful for your beautiful spirit. I have come to learn that white folk standing up against the ugliness of ignorance is one of the most powerful triggers to change. I hope you find it in your heart to spread that view to others

  38. This so well articulates what some people need to hear. I particularly appreciate learning about how this site, that I have valued and subscribed to for a while, came into being. A heartfelt thank you for taking the time to write and share!

  39. Thank you Lori. I remember you from High School and I am sitting here seething what you’ve endured, especially knowing that any/all of our Af-Am classmates have the same stories to tell. You are much more generous with “Jason” than I would have been – which is a lesson in grace I’ll take away from your post (among many other)

  40. Amazing post! I’m reading this and nodding my head because I’ve experienced almost all of this on your list! Would you allow me to reblog thid awesome post?

  41. Fabulous. Sad. Truth. I hope it helps your friend understand. Thank you for a top ten list no one should ever have to write. Thank you for digging up, and sharing, those hurtful memories. Thank you for your strength.

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