What do whites do with their white privilege?

When Connie posed the question: What do you do with your white privilege? I thought about this question while reading Rothenberg’s White Privilege (2008); Rothenberg states the first steps after understanding how white privilege manifests is to “take the first steps to dismantle it on both a personal and institutional level.” While she emphasizes that all individuals experience white privilege differently by vocalizing these unique experiences with one another, we can gain a more comprehensive understanding of white privilege. Although Rosenberg gives no exact instructions on how to deal with white privilege, she makes it clear that whites have the ability to choose how we “spend”—as Connie explained— this privilege.

When thinking about how to best utilize our privilege, I looked back on an article my friend, Alex, had sent me earlier this year. The article outlined 13 different ways to be a “Racial Transformer.” The guidelines addressed the various ways in which white privilege and racism manifest. The first “grouping” of steps was about understanding and observation; this entails listening to other’s experiences—especially people of color—and looking for situations where “coded racism” exists and exposing it. The second grouping dealt with action, which called for individuals to be vocal about injustices, go against the grain, use political voting, utilize social media to speak out against racism, and use material gains to donate to social change causes, or boycott those that are problematic.

Overall, I found the article useful in outlining what can be done with white privilege. Despite the cartoon, the article explains what significant actions whites can take—something I’ve had difficulty articulating. What I liked most about the article was demonstrating the specific ways individuals could be a “race transformer” instead of saying “stand up.” Just as Rothenberg explains, the article also emphasizes the need to listen to others to gain an understanding of how others experience white privilege—both white people and people of color. I also think that the use of social media is often underutilized; our generation is deeply involved in participating in social media and it may serve as the best channel to raise awareness of injustices and promote causes of social change. The article may not encompass every aspect needed for racial transformation, but it does a good job getting us started.