Please look through here and see how many of these statements apply to you and then we will talk (well, I will write and if you want to talk, call me up). This is from Peggy McIntosh’s, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack.”
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live. Well, if I had my own money, yes.
3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
10. Whether I checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against
the appearance of financial reliability.
11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
- I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
- I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
- I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
- I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute
the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t
been singled out because of my race.
20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazine featuring people of my race.
21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.
23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get inor will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
- I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
- If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or
situation whether it has racial overtones.
26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.
This is something almost all of my teachers have talked about or brought up in class over the past 2 semesters. And when they talk about it, I feel like all eyes in classs go to me because not only am I usually 1 of 5 white people in my classes, I am (as you all know) typically the most vocal, but this is when I get quiet. I get quiet because I know that my life is, has been and most likely will be easier than those around me and that I work with.
With that said, I, just as much as the next white girl want to think that I have it tough, that living in south central is scary(which it is) and that traveling back to Texas for all my friends weddings will be expensive (which it is) and that grad school is killing my social life (which it is). These are all real problems for me. The thing is that these problems aren’t affecting the greater good of human kind. These are true #whitegirlproblems. I love Betty Walker as much as the next white, privileged girl, but I as I get deeper into my education as a social worker am more and more aware of the validity of my “problems.”
With thatttttt said, the problem with my social work classes making me feel that way is that social workers should believe that all problems are valid and finding ways to help/understand/educate you on how to change. Here is the thing about my problems, they really aren’t a big deal (in the grander skeem of things), BUT I know tons of WHITE people with problems that ARE. I also know tons of people who know nothing about other people’s (especially other types of people’s problems.)
SO, I am writing a book. It will be called Social White Girl: The Social Work World from a White Girls Perspective. This is not a book about how to get into the junior league, how to have the prettiest deb dress or how to meet your boyfriend in the best tent at rodeo cook off. This will be a book educating my friends/family who want all of those things(I kinda do too), on problems that they need to know more about like the school to prison pipeline, that their money could be used for good, the reasons why adolescents aren’t just “boy crazy” that their brains are truly just growing. Don’t worry, this wont be boring. Think Chelsea Handler meets Brene Brown.
This will happen. I will be doing a book tour, 1st stop Robyn Roberts. I will be called a racist for talking about because I am white (nothing new), but I believe our invisible backpacks need to be visible and we need to be aware of our tools and use them to help others. We need to be, as I was called tonight in class, their “white allies.”