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Acknowledging White Privilege: Stand with Those who Suffer from Your Benefit


Now is the time for people of privilege to stand up and speak out. An entire class of American citizens receive the cold shoulder from our government, daily. White privilege allows us to speak up while facing less consequences than people of color. The United State’s justice system is convoluted and fueled by ignorance and complicity.

The country is on fire.

Years of oppression, injustice, and brutality have been bubbling over time to transpire in a period when we are facing uncertainty. With the virus, we have come to question everything. Head first into the unknown is our new reality. Illogical tradition has been instilled in us, and we are facing it now. In the unknown, tackle what you do know.

Black lives matter. This is something we know, despite those who chose to dismiss this fact as an opinion. As a white, privileged female, I notice my benefits from a system catered to lighter skin. Too often, white people receive biased justifications compared to people of color. For example, the heinous murder of George Floyd.

We know the heartbreaking story, and are witnessing the tragic injustices following his death.

The Black Lives Matter movement started in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Trayvon was an unarmed, 17 year old African American teenager walking in his Florida neighborhood. Botham Jean, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and too many others lost their lives to police. Click on each name for details. BLM’s goal is “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities”.

How can we as white people help them?

Specifically, how can we as white females help them? 

I am not at-risk for police brutality, discrimination, or prejudice based on my race. Therefore, I need to be on the front lines of the fight. One way to do this is by marching. If you are unable to attend marches in your city, donate. Another option is to be a system of support. Support is fundamental to any cause. Basic morale and ethics should be enough of a driving force to stand up for fellow human beings.

Donations are not exclusive to money. Gather materials for protest donations. In cases where funds are low, deliver your donation or help package supplies. Support comes in many forms. For example, spark a conversation with peers or via social media, post flyers across your city raising awareness to the cause. Check out this GirlSpring article highlighting more ways to help!

ANYTHING is better than nothing. It is vital to provide constant support through actions that prove allegiance to the cause.

First of all, the first step is understanding privilege and how it affects others. So, what is privilege? It is defined as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group”. If you are white, you have privilege. I am white, and I acknowledge this.

I am privileged. Okay, great, so what?

Use your privilege to help others. Educate yourself then educate others. Learn the reasoning behind your privilege. Look into history and see how this came to happen. Once you see the historical context of it all, you might further realize how convoluted and ludicrous these ideas are.

What about sexism?

Yes, this is another deep-rooted injustice plaguing history. However, we have to acknowledge that skin color is a key factor of bigotry. I must say it again. If you are white, you have privilege. The extent of this privilege is debatable based upon gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. We are here to focus on privilege due to skin color.

Educate yourself & others on terms relevant to white supremacy.

Overt and covert white supremacy occurrences are displayed at the bottom of the page. Terms like “racial profiling”and “cultural appropriation” are terms we hear often. However, some are foreign and even daunting. We must learn these terms, not to utilize them, but to stop others from using them. For instance, tokenism.

Tokenism is “the practice of making only a symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.”

Tokenism is extremely common, yet the word is rarely used. The “bootstrap theory” is another example. This states that if you work hard to achieve a goal, you will achieve it. It is apparent that this theory is biased towards those with adequate resources. A person of color could work harder towards a goal without ever achieving it. However, opportunities are hard to obtain without reliable access and information. By default, people of color begin their lives with less access to basic needs and information than white people.

By defining these terms and acknowledging them in everyday life, you are one step in to being enlightened about how you are benefiting from a racist agenda. Knowing these terms and letting others know them can help spread awareness to this cause. In a broader sense, keep an open mind. Listen to those being oppressed, learn from them, let them know you care. It can be tough to learn that you prosper from the suffering of others. But it is more difficult to be the one suffering.

Here are some amazing resources for understanding privilege and using it to help people of color.

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I’ve had this series idea in my mind for quite a while now…so here it is! As a Korean-American, I can’t speak to the unique experiences of other marginalized groups in the US, but as a fellow minority I empathize with your hardships, acknowledge your struggles, and will continue to amplify the voices of all POC 💕 UPDATE: turning off comments as the amount of conversation here is blowing up my alerts and the amount of mental effort required to keep up with everything has been very straining, as well as the conversation here is quickly turning aggressive and derisive for everyone. Please DM me if you have specific concerns/questions about the series(but please do a google search first)! Please see my repost rules highlight before sharing ✌️ 〰️ #blackhistorymonth #whiteprivilege #privilege #checkyourprivilege #racialequality #illo #illustration #digitalillustration #procreate #illustrator #illustratorsoninstagram #draweveryday #sketchbook #digitalart #drawingoftheday #ladieswhodraw #womenwhodraw #pdxillustrators #illustratorsoninstagram #womensupportingwomen #feminist #designer #womanownedbusiness #portlandartist #womenofillustration #femaleillustrator #femaleartist #womanartist #femaleartists #womenartists

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White supremacy is a system of structural and societal racism which privileges white people over everyone else, regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred. White racial advantages occur at both a collective and an individual level. We just updated this chart, which presents *some* of the ways people practice and reinforce white supremacy that they may not be aware of, or even think of as “white supremacy”. If you are unsure of what any of these terms mean, please feel free to look them up. There is an abundance of scholarship and research on each of these things. Image Source: Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (2005). Adapted: Ellen Tuzzolo (2016); Mary Julia Cooksey Cordero (@jewelspewels) (2019); The Conscious Kid (2020). #AntiRacism #AntiRacist #TeachersOfInstagram #WhitePrivilege

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Sela is a HS junior and a member of GirlSpring's teen leadership group, Springboarders. She runs a chapter of GirlSpring at her school where she seeks to empower other girls' voices.

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