I recently saw a post by a Facebook page that promoted conservative news. It claimed that white privilege was a myth created by the Democrats in order to demonize Conservative Republicans in the mainstream media. It shared a chart made on Microsoft Paint that showed the number of activist groups created for African-Americans versus the number of activist groups created for white Americans. The black side showed about two dozen organizations. The white side showed none. Their logic was that because of the high number of activist groups in support of minorities, that black people have a good deal of privilege- not white people.
Instead of arguing with this statement, I’ve decided to embrace it and take a look at the privileges I have as an African-American. These are things that white Americans do not have the privilege of receiving, and I’d like to talk about them all in order to create a balanced dialogue. So here is my list of five things covered under what I like to call, “Black Privilege”:
1.) Store clerks and mall staff following me throughout a department store.
I have the honor of being accompanied by security guards and workers doing inventory when I walk into a clothing store. They just make sure I don’t steal anything. They do it in a way where they go unnoticed by most white customers, but they follow close enough behind where I can still feel their breath on my neck. Comforting.
2.) Being mistaken for Dayquan.
White people will never have the honor of being mistaken for Dayquan. Yes, I know my name is Joe, but that’s part of the fun! Whether it’s Dayquan, Rashad, Jermaine or Will Smith, I always seem to get mistaken for someone I have never heard of before and that has a suspiciously “urban” sounding name. I’m probably super similar to them in the way that we’re black. It’s fine.
3.) Getting my own sidewalk to walk on.
Many white people love giving me and other black friends of mine their very own sidewalks. In fact, if I’m spotted walking down the street by a white man and his dog and we happen to be on the same side of the street, he’ll usually cross over to give me my space. And if they can’t get off of the sidewalk, they’ll just pick up their phones and pretend to text. So considerate.
4.) I never have to be offended.
If I ever hear anything remotely offensive and/or racist, and I begin to speak up about it, I have the assurance of a white friend telling me that it wasn’t racist. If I didn’t have someone telling me not to be offended or that something wasn’t racist, I might actually take offense to jokes made in poor taste, or even something a certain political leader has said.
5.) I never have to remind myself of times when I have been mistreated because of my race.
I mean, it happens so discretely and at such a frequent rate that I don’t have to tell myself it happens. I just get to live my life and experience it first-hand. These moments are just given to me as free-bees.
After looking at my list of five examples of Black Privilege, I hope you can see that Black Privilege is real. While it’s important to be thankful for the rights that all Americans get to share, I think it’s also important to take a look at these unspoken rights that won’t be covered in the Constitution. I didn’t ask for these privileges, but I have them nonetheless. I’ll try my hardest to not disrupt the rest of society.