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This post is about white privilege. It’s a tough topic, but one worth talking about both in the case of racism and with regards to our broken economy. This post talks specifically about how we can work towards an inclusive society that values all people equally without erasing cultural differences or history; here are some ways you might be able to do this:
educate yourself on systemic oppression by reading books like “White Fragility” and “The New Jim Crow.” You might also want to read up on the civil rights movement–particularly Martin Luther King Jr.–in order to understand what it took for marginalized groups (like African Americans) to gain equal standing in American society since then.
talk respectfully: if you talk to someone about privilege, they are probably feeling defensive. Be gentle and take your time explaining what you’re trying to say.
be a good ally: for many people who don’t experience white privilege on the daily, it may be difficult or confusing as to how best support others from marginalized backgrounds–but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try! Your allies can include everything from engaging with social media posts by black activists (and other POC) in order to keep up on current events, donating money when possible (or volunteering!) at organizations advocating for civil rights issues like Black Lives Matter, understanding where racist microaggressions come from and why they are so hurtful when said carelessly while not perpetuating them yourself, and learning more about the complex history of white supremacy in America.
be a good friend: it can be hard to know what to say or do when someone has experienced something like racist microaggression because they are so hurtful–but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying! Try asking some questions and listening without feeling compelled to fix things for others just yet; then check out resources from organizations like MomsRising on how best to support people experiencing racial injustice. Be patient with your friends who may need time before discussing their experience with racism openly; there’s no timeline in which everyone is ready at the same moment.
be a good student: if you’re not already reading texts by black authors and thinkers, it’s a good idea to start–even if you’re not yet in the classroom or don’t have any black friends. Check out texts by bell hooks (Ain’t I A Woman), Toni Morrison (Beloved) and James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time).
be an ally: these days we often think of white supremacy as something that happens only when there are organized groups like the KK. But racism is part of our every day lives! White people can be allies by recognizing their own privilege, learning about how race intersects with other intersections of identity and power including gender/gender presentation, sexuality, ability status etc., advocating for marginalized communities within social justice spaces and holding themselves accountable to speak up when they witness others being racist.
check your privilege: this is a phrase that you might have seen popping up in social media posts and on tumblr lately, but what does it mean? When someone says “check your privilege” they are calling for the person to think about their position of power and how it affects other people’s experiences. For example, when white Americans talk about racial discrimination against African Americans or Latinos we often don’t experience these biases ourselves because our skin color protects us from prejudice or mistreatment. So before expressing an opinion on race issues remember to check your privilege!
This post has been updated with new content by Leslie Jones – thanks Leslie! 🙂
Step Four: Add links back to previous blog posts and social media platforms.
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Image Title: “The Check Your Privilege Meme” Image Description: This is my favorite way to respond back when someone says “Check YOUR privilege.” Content (text): The check your privilege meme is popping up in social media posts and on tumblr lately, but what does it mean? When someone says “check your privilege” they are calling for the person to think about their position of power and how it affects other people’s experiences. For example, when white Americans talk about racial discrimination against African-Americans, they may not know what it is like to live in a society where the police are more likely to shoot an unarmed African-American than white Americans. If you’re reading this article and thinking “check YOUR privilege” please keep reading!
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