Acknowledging white privilege

Living in the United States, where our president is an African-American, many may argue that white privilege is no longer is an issue, at least not a relevant one. 

Everyone living in the U.S. is supposed to be equal under the law, no matter the race or background. But in the past few years alone, there have been many stories of black men and women becoming victims of their skin color.

This is shown in the widely publicized race-related cases of Trayvon Martin, Kendrick Johnson and the tragic death of Florida A&M alumnus Jonathan Ferrell. Men or women of Caucasian descent are rarely victims of occurrences similar to the cases above.

I remember reading the story of Yolanda Spivey, who was having a hard time obtaining a job in the insurance industry. After two years of unsuccessful application attempts, she decided to change how she applied through the online job search engine,

She never chose to disclose her race but only listed her qualifications, which included 10 years of experience. With little to no callbacks from any potential employers, Spivey created a new profile, changing her race to white and her name to Bianca White. The same day, she received a phone call and countless emails. During the week, she continued to receive corresponding emails and phone calls.

These stories have changed my perspective of the world I live in and continue to do so. However, many whites remain unaware of their advantages. White privilege is real, even if it is not thrown directly in your face. People of other ethnicities will be confronted with many more hurdles in various areas of life.

Think about the stereotypes involved with people of Arab descent in airports. Whites rarely deal with the strange looks and uneasiness of others when they board a plane.

I have personally experienced being followed in a store unnecessarily. I have even seen Instagram posts of teens wearing blackface for Halloween, mocking the brutal history of African-Americans.

The reality of this situation is clear. The struggles a Caucasian person deals with on a systematic level are nothing compared to the struggles of other ethnicities in America. U.S. citizens of other ethnic backgrounds are treated unfairly based solely on the color of their skin, what they believe and how they look, not the content of their character.

Should whites be aware of this privilege? Of course they should, especially whites in positions of power whose ideas dictate our future. Acknowledging white privilege may make a huge difference and open doors for different ethnic populations that may be searching for jobs or opportunities. Once whites develop an understanding of these biased views, a true change can happen.

There is no need to point fingers or bash a system that is already damaged. It is also unnecessary to issue an apology about white privilege. The real healing comes from acknowledging the truth and choosing to educate ourselves and those around us.