White Privilege Shapes the U.S.

White Privilege Shapes the U.S.
By Robert Jensen
Department of Journalism
University of Texas

Here's what white privilege sounds like: I am sitting in my University of Texas office, talking to a very bright and very conservative white student about affirmative action in college admissions, which he opposes and I support.

The student says he wants a level playing field with no unearned advantages for anyone. I ask him whether he thinks that in the United States being white has advantages. Have either of us, I ask, ever benefited from being white in a world run mostly by white people? Yes, he concedes, there is something real and tangible we could call white privilege. So, if we live in a world of white privilege—unearned white privilege–how does that affect your notion of a level playing field? I ask. He paused for a moment and said, "That really doesn't matter."

read the rest at ChickenBones: A Journal for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

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