What does it mean to be white? Do I have white privilege?

Photo by Michael Brochstein

Race as a concept and identifier has evolved over the years, and we know it today as a grouping of people based on shared physical characteristics. While modern scientists agree that race is only a social construct, and has no real biological significance, it still impacts our lived experiences.

“Whiteness,” as we know it today was not a commonly used identifier until the 17th century. European Americans during this time embraced ideas like race, and whiteness, as a way to justify slavery. Even if whiteness, like race, has little basis in science, it too influences how we move through the world, and how the world treats us.

“White Privilege,” can be thought of as a built-in protection against racial discrimination, among other things, for those with light/white skin complexion. It takes on many forms, and can be hard to identify, especially as those of us that society treats as white are not used to being defined by our race.

Many might ask themselves, am I really privileged in any particular way, just as a result of my skin color? Is anyone really at a disadvantage due to their skin color?

Check out this checklist and see how many of these apply to you.

Did anything on the list surprise you, or bring about more questions? Share with us in a comment below.

-Your friends at Undoing Racism

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