White privilege  

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"In the United States, some aspects of white privilege and male privilege are extremely visible. ... Interestingly, few of us publicly acknowledge the existence of a beauty bias or beauty privilege, although we know it operates in multiple and ..." --The Social Work Skills Workbook (2016) by Barry R. Cournoyer


"Because this isn’t what is actually on the Antiracists’ mind. The call for people to soberly “acknowledge” their White Privilege as a self-standing, totemic act is based on the same justification as acknowledging one’s fundamental sinfulness is as a Christian. One is born marked by original sin; to be white is to be born with the stain of unearned privilege [...] Coates is telling these people that they are sinners, in a sense, and they are eagerly drinking in the charge, “revering” him for it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is worship, pure and simple." --"Antiracism, Our Flawed New Religion" 07.27.15, John McWhorter [1]


"While much of the research and work on racism during the last half-century or so has concentrated on "white racism" in the Western world, historical accounts of race-based social practices can be found across the globe. Thus, racism can be broadly defined to encompass individual and group prejudices and acts of discrimination that result in material and cultural advantages conferred on a majority or a dominant social group. So-called "white racism" focuses on societies in which white populations are the majority or the dominant social group. In studies of these majority white societies, the aggregate of material and cultural advantages is usually termed "white privilege"." --Sholem Stein

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

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

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

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

Gina Crosley-Corcoran in her Huffington Post article, "Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person", says that she was initially hostile to the idea that she had white privilege, initially believing, "my white skin didn't do shit to prevent me from experiencing poverty", until she was directed to read Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" (1989). According to Crosley-Corcoran, "the concept of intersectionality recognizes that people can be privileged in some ways and definitely not privileged in others". Other writers have noted that the "academic-sounding concept of white privilege" sometimes elicits defensiveness and misunderstanding among white people, in part due to how the concept of white privilege was rapidly brought into the mainstream spotlight through social media campaigns such as Black Lives Matter. Cory Weinburg, writing for Inside Higher Ed, has also stated that the concept of white privilege is frequently misinterpreted by non-academics because it is an academic concept that has been recently been brought into the mainstream. Academics interviewed by Weinburg, who have been otherwise studying white privilege undisturbed for decades, have been taken aback with the seemingly-sudden hostility from right-wing critics since 2014.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "White privilege" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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