White privilege

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It's impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. ~ Malcolm X

White privilege is a term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white.


  • White is a metaphor for power, and that is simply a way of describing Chase Manhattan Bank.
  • I am constantly observing my actions, words, and behaviors while processing what my being white has done to affect certain responses and outcomes. The same is true of observing how others interact with me. How does my being white affect what they say and do to me, and how they behave around me?

    It is an important part of my commitment to actively dismantle the white skin privilege that persists in America today. While I remain much invested in the ongoing work of deconstructing institutional injustice and systemic racism, I am also committed to being hyper-aware of and hyper-sensitive to how I am manifesting and/or receiving privilege. I believe justice requires both. I also believe I can't condition myself to see or to rebel against institutional privilege if I can't first see them in myself.

  • Whites have inherited wealth that was ostensibly generated on the backs of African Americans. What's passed down through generations is an abdication of responsibility for this legacy and for the spoils that even working-class whites continue to reap from it. The situation is akin to finding a bloodied bag of money at your doorstep every month and spending it freely without seriously questioning where it came from or whose blood has been spilled to make it possible.
    • David H. Ikard and Martell Lee Teasley, Nation of Cowards: Black Activism in Barack Obama’s Post-Racial America (Indiana University Press: 2012), p. 54
  • American families are in the process of passing along a $9 trillion legacy from one generation to the next. ... Hand in hand with this money, I submit, what is really being handed down from generation to generation is the profound legacy of reproducing racial inequality. The legacy is difficult to discern because the language of family heritage hides it from our political consciousness.
    • Thomas M. Shapiro, The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality (2005), p. 32
  • It's impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism.
    • Malcolm X, Speech, May 29, 1964, in The Harlem Hate-Gang-Scare, p. 69

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