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The notion of white or male privilege is a term that has eluded some people for awhile. In most cases, white privilege is sometimes confused by racism. It must be understood that there exist a thin line between white privilege and racism. The term ‘privilege’ is used to refer to a particular favouritism in perception of individuals basing on their racial or gender inclination. For example, there is always a notion that whites are given privileges in terms of perception that they receive from their behaviours, conducts and activities. Male privilege, on the other hand, is when males are given privilege over women (McIntosh 77). However, more often than not many recipients of these privileges do not seem to understand the concerns raised by the critics. For example, males do not understand why they are considered privileged in things such as school curriculum. In other words, there is usually high level of denial that men or whites gain privileges over females or nonwhites respectively.
The phenomenon of white or male privileges is a known issue that has concerned many researchers. Thinking through the issue emerges as an important aspect in the sense that those who are deprived of certain privileges see it as a problem while those who gain from the privileges don’t see any problem. In order to understand what white or male privileges is all about, it is important to highlight some issues that constitute the ‘privilege’.
White girl vs. Non-white girl
White privilege is a case where a 16-year-old white girl gets pregnant, and the community views that as normal and that it is a personal or rather family issue that should not bother anyone. Normally, such occurrences are considered normal challenges that every family faces hence should not cause any hullaballoo. However, when a non-white girl, say from the Latino or African American is pregnant at the same age, she is branded as irresponsible and entrenchers of societal social decay. This notion is driven home by the general belief that nonwhites are less responsible in every aspect of their lives.
When a white student performs dismally in school, and sometimes fails to pass exams that enable him to proceed to the next grade. The student is forced to change school severally and proceed to the next grade despite failing in certain exams. For example, a white student attend four schools in six years, some of which she failed, went and did some bridging courses in a community college and comes back to the college and is admitted. The student’s intelligence will not be questioned. However, if such a thing happens with an African American student, they are branded as less intelligent and sometimes are even considered not fit for a college education. At times, such a student is even believed to have just managed to reach such a level through affirmative action.
The gun violence
In the recent past, the debate on gun violence in the United States has dominated the media coverage, with trigger happy individuals killing innocent people with no remorse. Issues have also arisen over the manner in which these individuals are being treated with caution when they are whites. In many cases, when a white is involved in a shooting spree in an elementary school, they are considered to be having psychological problem. However, when it involves an African American person they are first thought of as naturally violent before someone think of them as having any mental issue. This kind mindset is entrenched in the society to an extent that people are made to think along this line all the time.
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The privilege in these cases highlights the scenarios where the society is made to belief certain things happening to a particular race are normal yet when they happen to others it’s considered not normal. The basic interpretation here is that in the case of white privilege, the whites who are the majority, are instinctively taught from childhood that they are not accustomed to certain issues and that if it happens, then it should be considered a normal event or rather normal issues in the society without bringing race into the picture. However, the denial among the privileged makes the whole stigma difficult for the underprivileged, hence the lack of any strategies to counter it. Interestingly, the trend is more or less a covert than an open issue. While many accept that it exists, there is less motivation to talk about it even among the underprivileged (Jackson 432). Logically, these privileges targeted to benefit whites are not even structured but come with some little twists that are hard to recognize if one is not aware of the concept.
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White privilege is real in our society. It is only important that we accept it and find away of countering it and working towards minimizing it. To reward a white person more than an African American in the same job description, and provide defence on such is not the way to solve the problem but it’s a means that only entrench the whole notion among the people. The privilege is an outcome of a mindset, which might not be in anyway structured but is created in the minds of the people. It could also result in whites aligning themselves with their fellow whites as friends, especially in learning institutions.
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