Whenever I have been immobilized or unmotivated – whether in business, social or personal life – I have found that the best antidote is education. Learning something new, or even the intricacies of something I was already aware of, gives me a boost. It takes me outside myself. It pumps me up. And it teaches me gratitude, if nothing else.
So I’m taking a course on White Privilege. I have come to believe that I cannot work for justice and equality if I don’t understand my own place in the system. As I sit on my sofa in front of my gas fireplace I can’t ignore the fact of my great privilege. I have noted for years that my white hair and white skin has allowed me in an emergency to go in restaurants all over the world and use the restroom. That’s privilege!
But I had no idea of the extensive list that i enjoy when I put it in the juxtaposition to people of color. So I’m going to write about issues that particularly bother me. There is not a lot I can do except to always be aware of those around me, talk about what I learn, speak out.
Just as exercise if you want to join me, Think about your own list of privileges. I’ll give you a starting point that I took from Peggy McIntosh in her article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. I recommend that you read it.
Sexual Orientation Employment Families’ relation to
Class Physical ability education, money
Region Handedness housing and
Religion Language neighborhoods
Gender Nation of origin Families’ languages of origin
Gender identity Ethnicity
Staggering isn’t it?