Understanding White Privilege
I’m always looking for new ways to help others understand white privilege and racism, and gain more knowledge myself. Today I found a website that I think is pretty helpful. It has comic strips with characters talking about white privilege and racism in quick little snippets that might be easier for some to digest.
The image above is one of many anti-racism cartoons that you can find on Ampersand, a political cartoons blog by Barry Deutsch. The blog features a number of political cartoons in various categories and I suggest you check it out if you’re a fan of human rights and equality. Some very thought provoking stuff there.
What’s interesting about the cartoon above is the irony in white Americans’ perception that they are somehow not participants in racism. If we were to take the white male in this cartoon as representative of the “white race” and the black male as representative of the “black race”, we can see that whites have made their success as a race by standing on the backs of slaves…and this is a fact. Slaves built much of our government, our economy, our way of life. We whites milked millions of dollars (and perhaps more) off of the backs of slaves who were free labor for this country for hundreds of years, allowing white families to live in privilege, educate generations of their children in higher learning and accumulate enormous profits from the labor of their slaves, who obviously received no pay.
Not only that, but many families of color are still coping with the generations of abuse, discrimination and poverty that black Americans suffered at the hands of whites. Those scars don’t heal as quickly as some would like to believe. They are scars of inequality in education, scars of violence and abuse, scars of economic redlining and inadequate healthcare, of job insecurity and discrimination. Generational poverty prevents numerous families of color from sending their children to college because of low incomes, limited access to mentors and community leaders and discriminatory blockades put up by whites who prefer to keep their communities and schools mono-racial and hoard money to their own neighborhoods.
For whites to say that they play no part in racism, simply because they are “nice” to people of color is as ridiculous as saying that racism no longer exists because we have a black president.
We all play a part in racism, ALL OF US. And the only way to deconstruct the role we play is to take action AGAINST racism each and every day. It’s not enough to say “equality,” we need to MAKE IT HAPPEN.