My Definition of White Privilege

Everything isn’t always black and white

Tom Egelhoff


Since this is my blog, it should be up to me to define my idea of what is, or is not, white privilege.

The concept of privilege came into its own in the eighties, when the women’s-studies scholar Peggy McIntosh started writing about it.

In her writings she describes her vision of who gets what based on their particular race.

She lists 26 points that she uses to determine if you’re privileged — or not privileged.

Privilege in the 60s

When I went to college in the 1960s in Texas, gas stations had four restrooms, and two water fountains. (The photo above is accurate)

At the theater blacks sat upstairs and got soda and candy only after the last white customer had been served.

At the drive-in, blacks parked in the back — whites in the front. There were no blacks in my college classes.

I would say that’s a glaring picture of white privilege.

Blacks in the south in the beginning of the 20th century were literally second-class citizens by every measure.

White Privilege Today

Since then, the two largest cities in the US have had black mayors. We have black and Hispanic Supreme Court Justices. Our federal legislature has black senators and congressmen and women.

We’ve even had a black president that was re-elected to a second term. It would seem that success regardless of race in today’s world would be much easier than in days gone by.

White privilege is not eroding; privilege of all races is expanding.

Some Final Thoughts

Racism in the United States has come a long way since my college days but there’s no question that more should and will be done.

If we do have a race issue in the US to my mind it would be a lack of equal opportunity.

But included in that same issue is the behavior of the races and how that behavior affects available opportunities.



Tom Egelhoff

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