Spending privilege

Recently I was on imgfav and saw a picture that was asking why doing something like calling a white person worthless is mean, but saying it to a black person is racism. I think people forget that racism is about power. It is about a majority oppressing a minority. It’s hard to remember sometimes because it’s easier to see oppression than privilege. This is why people who try to fight racism often end up in the trap of doing it to “help the poor minority”. Its hard to accept that you have privilege, that you are gaining something from the oppression of others. Part of privilege is being able to step away from the fight when it gets too hard or overwhelming. To be able to step away and forget about it for a while. That is privilege. Black people can’t ignore racism. The best, and most sustainable way to make a difference is to learn how to spend your privilege. Learn where you can start to affect change. It seems very daunting but remembering that if everyone did something small it would make a big difference helps to remind you that every thing counts. What are some other ways to make a difference?

5 thoughts on “Spending privilege

  1. I think the point you made is very important in regards to this class. Particularly I appreciate your points about racism and power and how they are integrated with one another. People with privilage don’t realize that they can just walk away from issues regarding race when they don’t feel like being bothered. And while it can be overwhelming it is important to continue the fight. Working in groups and standing up against images like the one you saw, is one of the best ways to advocate against oppression, and educate others. I am still thinking of other ways to create change but your post has put me in a great deal of thought which is great.

  2. I think your note towards the end of your post that black people don’t have the option to walk away from race in the way that white people do is really key. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly discouraged about contemporary racism, and I decide to do something else to take my mind off of it, I’m really struck with what a display of my privilege that seemingly small action is. Simply being able to walk away like that is such a powerful statement, and a healthy reminder that not everyone has that luxury. That’s often the most frustrating part of having difficult conversations about race; the white person that you’re trying to communicate with can just get up and walk away and go on with their live, undisturbed.

  3. I agree with many things in this post, but I especially agree with the part where you specifically talk about the relationship between racism and power. Because of that, however, I am reserved in answering such a question as what small differences to affect change in racism because I think that there has to be more done than just small individual change. If the relationship between racism and power is what you suggest it being then shouldn’t the power aspect be where the change occurs? Meaning shouldn’t we be changing the way power looks, who has it, and what it means? If so, we are probably going to need to do more than spend privilege in small ways.

  4. I agree with Chelsey that a big way to make a difference is reaching out to people when they make racist or ignorant comments, but I also think that a way to make a difference is by continuing to educate yourself and continue taking classes on topics such as racism. Taking classes and learning about this topic forces the conversation to go on and by educating yourself, you can properly help to educate others.

  5. I think a big way to make a difference is to reach out to people when they make racist or ignorant comments, and try to explain to them about privilege. Just by talking to someone, you may open there eyes, and think about these issues in a different. I really like this post, because i think privilege is one of the biggest challenges for white people to accept, because it is not something you think about on a daily basis. But that is privilege itself. Black people or minority groups think about there oppression everyday, and we have the luxury to ignore it when we please, and also to join in the conversation when we want. We are privileged in every aspect of our lives, and i think i am still trying to acknowledge this fact in my own life, but it becomes more apparent everyday. The more we talk about these topics, the more comfortable people will become with the fact that they are privileged.

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