Brett Fish has some great conversations about white privilege happening over at his blog, you should definitely check it out! One of the big things that is coming out of my research is that a key catalyst for helping white people in South Africa move from a position of apathy (or an inability to even “see” racial privilege) to being active about racial justice is other white people who challenged them to start thinking differently. Which is why what Brett is doing is awesome. So if you’re curious, skeptical, or if you are already passionate about racial justice and want to learn more, head over! (Recently on Irresistibly Fish, Nkosi shared some of his views on what white people can do to help make South Africa a more just society, sparking a great conversation. And oh, one of them was pay your domestic helper a living wage… that sound’s familiar? :D)
As a lot of the white privilege literature and conversation comes from an American context, I shared a few ramblings about what I have noticed in the South African context– the biggest thing being our perception of loss can blind us as white people to the privilege that still exists for us in this country… but that doesn’t change the fact that we are privileged. Here’s the start,
I’m a target of crime. I have to leave the country in order to find work. I do not have leaders in government who are my race. When I’m stopped by a cop, they most likely do not look like me. I’m not privileged, I’m a victim.”
These are some of the sentiments that I’ve heard (explicitly or implicitly) and read as I’ve talked with people about the topic of my master’s research, which includes issues of white privilege. Peggy McIntosh wrote an article called “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” where she lists all the unrecognized benefits she has as a white person living in America. At first glance, it’s hard to tell if these benefits come from a history (and present reality) that systematically privileges white people, or if they come from being part of a racial numerical majority. (I mean, obviously she’d be able to find band-aids that match her skin colour, if the majority of people buying band-aids have white skin).
To read the rest of this article, head on over…