46 Effects of White Privilege on Daily Life:

What can you do to challenge white privilege on a personal level? How about on a communal level? A national level? A global level?

  1.  I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
  2.  I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
  3. 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.
  4. I can be reasonably sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
  5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, fairly well assured that I will not be followed or harassed by store detectives.
  6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely and positively represented.
  7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
  9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
  10. I can be fairly sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
  11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another woman’s voice in a group in which she is the only member of her race.
  12. I can go into a book shop and count on finding the writing of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods that fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can deal with my hair.
  13. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance that I am financially reliable.
  14. I could arrange to protect our young children most of the time from people who might not like them.
  15. I did not have to educate our children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
  16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.
  17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
  18. I can swear, or dress in secondhand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
  19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
  20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
  22. I can remain oblivious to the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
  23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
  24. I can be reasonably sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
  25. 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.
  26. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
  27. 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.
  28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
  29. I can be fairly sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
  30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.
  31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
  32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
  33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
  34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
  35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
  36. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.
  37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
  38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative, or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
  39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
  40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
  41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
  42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
  43. If I have low credibility as a leader, I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
  44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions that give attention only to people of my race.
  45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
  46. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

Eight Perceived Benefits to Living in a White, Heterosexual household:

  1. My children do not have to answer questions about why I live with my partner (my husband).
  2. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
  3. Our children are given texts and classes that implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.
  4. I can travel alone or with my husband without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
  5. Most people I meet will see my marital arrangements as an asset to my life or as a favorable comment on my likeability, my competence, or my mental health.
  6. I can talk about the social events of a weekend without fearing most listeners’ reactions.
  7. I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.
  8. In many contexts, I am seen as “all right” in daily work on women because I do not live chiefly with women.

McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies.” 1988

Wise, Tim. “400 Years Head Start and Advantages.” (Circa 2015)