I’m not really apologizing for being white, but what I am sorry about is that I reap the benefits of the ”white privilege.” I really don’t even need to do anything, certain ”invisible” benefits are just handed to me because of my racial ethnicity, and my families’ social class. While I will never fully understand what other people of ethnicities go through, on a daily or long term basis, it does not mean I am blind.
Living in Sweden, I am a foreigner, but I know I am more accepted because I am white. There is an increasing amount of fear mongering and racism against those who come from the Middle East and/or are Muslim. Despite us being in the same category 1.) We’re not born in Sweden… thus 2.) We are foreigners. I have not felt any prejudice against me- but have encountered the increasingly blatant opposition of Muslims from Swedish parties such as the New Swedish Democrat Party ”whose manifesto describes Muslims as ‘seriously jeopardizing the Swedish nation’, has also sought a ban on face-veil and halting immigration from predominantly Muslim countries”.
But how can I prove I am this ”little rich white girl?”
One. Little: I am 5’1″ (155 cm)
Two. White Girl- Guess which one I am.
But how does this all lead back to white privilege? Well, I’ve never felt that I had to change my name on my resume to increase the chances on me being hired, like José Zamora who changed his name to Joe on his applicants. That was only when he started getting the call backs. There have been numerous studies on the effectiveness and power of names, and how people attach certain qualities when they hear a person’s name, without really getting to know them. (Okay, but if your name is Glitter, I’m sorry. Going judge your parents a bit.) And it is a well known fact that a lot of people have a name attached to their ancestry heritage, African name, Indian name, Chinese Name, etc. but change it once they move to another country to increase their chances of succeeding. Right now, as it stands, in a lot of cultures being born white gives you an unfair advantage.
White privilege continues even in this day and age, because only 15 black executives have ever made it to the Chairman or CEO position of the ”Fortune 500.” And only since 2009 has there been a Black woman CEO who was in the ”Fortune 500” list. More statistics thrown at you, black men between the ages of 16 and 24 have an almost 50 percent unemployment rate; for whites, it’s 16 percent. In the United States, a black child is almost four times as likely to live in a poor neighbourhood as a white child is. Twenty percent of white kids are in single-parent homes, 52 percent of black kids are. The incarceration rate is six times higher for blacks than it is for whites.
My home country, Canada, and my current place of residence, Sweden, is not America, so these stats don’t fully represent everywhere, but it’s still staggering. Also with Canada being a close neighbour, white privilege is present. Even when comparing only the white people and non-white people with the same education and of the same age, white people earn more or comparing only the foreign-born white Canadians with the foreign-born non-white Canadians, white people earn more. Even with second-generation, white Canadian-born compared to non-white Canadian-born, white people still earn more. And this is a country that promotes it’s lack of racism and cultural diversity.
Some may be wondering, why would you be upset about this? You should be taking full advantage and hope such privileges continue. But I personally believe diversity is one of the strongest driving forces of a successful company,business, world etc. whether diversity comes from race, religion, sexual orientation, family upbringing or if you are a coffee or tea drinker. Racial profiling is a horrendous and indecent thing, fear mongering and attaching negative attributes on certain races because of misinformation and unprogressive media just does more harm than good.
Finally, if I am to be hired, promoted, awarded, etc. I want that to be because of my skills and not because of my skin colour.