White people should check their privilege

Kali Daniel

Before everyone begins saying, “it’s not about race,” know it is 100 percent about race. This country was built around institutional racism, and unfortunately today’s amendments do not make up for the years of privilege white people have ascertained.

That being said, white people can do their part this Black History Month — and every day, honestly — by recognizing white privilege in the following contexts:

• White people do not have to worry about their skin color or personal factors inhibiting them from getting a job.

• White people do not have stereotypes regarding class, responsibility and social factors that would negatively impact them getting a job.

• White people are described first by their characteristics and achievements rather than the color of their skin.

• White people can buy bandages to match their skin tone.

• White people’s hair products are not labeled “ethnic” and set in a separate place from the rest.

If any white person disagrees with any of these points, realize that is the ultimatum I am trying to show — in our society, white people are allowed to voice their opinions no matter how bigoted, racist or privileged they are. This short list does not skim the surface of the racism so ingrained in our minds that we hardly notice. The more you notice, the more you can advocate for change.

This Black History Month, white people can become allies to the rally against institutionalized racism by encouraging others to ask questions in a tactful manner, by pursuing reality over white-washed history and by supporting causes promoting black excellence rather than targeting discriminatory stereotypes.

White people must also understand that if they have offended a person of color, part of white privilege is being able to try and justify their offense, rather than apologizing. If a black person tells a white person something is racist, ask for explanation and attempt understanding rather than launching into the defensive.

Until white people recognize the privilege they have to say “color does not matter,” color will always matter.