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Whiteness The Power of Privilege

Whiteness:The Power of Privilege

Whiteness:The Power of Privilege

TheAmerican Society has been filled with racism and the beliefs that onerace especially the white race is superior to others. Although thisis unwritten in any formal manner, it is socialized in the society asbeing white means that an individual will enjoy some privileges(Rothenberg, 2002). In most of the times, these rights conferpositive results. The way that people grow up being told about theother race is what they live to believe. The values that areinculcated to them in their childhood determine how white people willinteract with those of color (Rothenberg, 2002). There is much morediscussion on the discrimination meted out to people of color whilethe advantages that the whites accrue out of this discrimination areignored. This paper discusses the aspects of white privilege as wellas how it has been invisible. Additionally, the relationship betweenthe class of individual and their races will be considered. Finally,how white privileges have played a role in the way that the author ofthis work was raised will be assessed.

Definitionof Privilege

Rothenberg(2002) defines privilege as the state of dominance that arises due toone’s race or sex. In this regard, the dominance of the whitepopulation in the American society leads to them being conferredprivileges over other races. Additionally, the dominance of malesmakes the females less powerful and, therefore, underprivileged.According to the author, several practices create white privileges(Rothenberg, 2002). One of these is a pattern of assumptions thatthat being of the white culture makes an individual superior overothers. Additionally, this white privilege is brought about by theupbringing as some white children grow up being told that they shoulddespise and not associate with people of color. Moreover, Rothenberg(2002) posits that unfair treatments for people of color whereby theywould be pulled over for reasons that would not justify the act arepractices that create white privileges. The claim that that whitenessis privileged and normalized in contemporary U.S. society means thatalthough people are aware of the racial discrimination in thesociety, they do not stand up against it. (Rothenberg, 2002).Specifically, whites have come to accept that they enjoy a privilegedposition and do not stand up for fairness and equality.

Invisibilityof Privilege

Theinvisibility of privilege means that although several practices showthat being white confers several advantages and privileges, there isno formal writing about the same. Specifically, the white privilegecan only be assumed as it is embedded into the culture of thesociety. The virtual invisibility of these white privileges iscompared to psychological money in the bank which some can withdrawwhile others have overdrafts (Rothenberg, 2002). The modern societysustains this invisibility as cases of racial profiling havecontinued to increase. Specifically, according to Rothenberg (2002),people of color will be more likely to be pulled over for minoroffenses. Additionally, the mass shootings of people of color bypolice are a demonstration of this invisibility. As such, the policeare mostly the people who have furthered the invisibility of whiteprivilege.

TheRelationship between Class and Race in the United States

Inthe US, being of the white race elevates an individual to a highersocial standing than even the wealthy and powerful people of color.For instance, although some whites are brought up in poverty, theirgrandmothers told them that they should not associate with blacksbecause they were wrong people (Rothenberg, 2002). Additionally,whites, irrespective of their social standings, know that they aresuperior to the blacks are entitled to certain privileges that thepeople of color cannot get. The economic system of capitalismencourages American citizens to take advantage of these opportunitiesas the whites consist of the wealthiest individuals who control tradeand industry. As such, they will continue to dominate the society andpropagate the white privileges.

HowThese Privileges Have Played a Role in How I Was Raised

Thewhite privileges had a significant role in how I was raised. In thisregard, I grew up knowing that white people were superior and had tobe treated with respect. However, I was also taught that the peopleof color were lacking and did not belong to the American culture. Asa result, I was told not to associate with people of color, as theywere immoral and violent. Notably, I went to a school that wasdominantly white and where people of color were seen as secondarystudents. In social places, I was only allowed to play and interactwith the whites, as my parents were afraid that I would developviolent conduct if I interacted with the people of color.Specifically, my upbringing was that of praising one race andbedeviling the other. This gave me the notion that people of colorwere outsiders who were only meant to work for the benefit of thewhites. Even when I was helping a black student at the school, it wasmy belief that I was doing it because I was superior and had morethan enough. This mentality was indeed a display of the whiteprivileges.


Rothenberg,P. (2002). Whiteprivilege(1st ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.