Year 10 History and Politics pupils discuss issues around Black Lives Matter, June 2020.
‘White Privilege’ by Libby
White privilege is a term used to describe unearned rights and benefits afforded white people in Western society because of the colour of their skin. It is a term some people find discomforting or disrespectful, but I believe that it is based on a factual statement that people with white skin have benefited on their basic rights because of their skin colour. White privilege is not detracting from the hardships a white person has gone through in their life, simply that the colour of their skin has not made it any harder.
There are many reasons why white privilege is so controversial. Firstly I believe that there is a guilt towards the feeling that you don’t have an extra worry of being threatened, treated worse or even not getting the same opportunities as others because of the colour of your skin. However, it isn’t your fault, you didn’t choose your parents and where they have come from, so why are black people being mistreated by something they can’t control?
Secondly, white privilege isn’t a new term, it was coined by Peggy Mcintosh in 1988. The reason it has been brought up recently is because of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Another phrase much like white privilege is silence = violence, meaning that by staying quiet and not speaking out you are agreeing with the matter. White people are being pushed to speak out on this matter because black people are more than three times more likely to be arrested than white people in the UK. Often, if a white person speaks out they are more likely to be heard.
White privilege has been used in so many positive ways. For example, Serena Williams’ husband Alexsis Ohanian stood down from his position at his company Reddit so more black people can have the opportunity for higher paid jobs because they don’t gain from the privilege that Alexsis did. Teaching kids about diversity and other cultures is a vital way to change white privilege and abolish this unnecessary racism towards black people.