Why Do White Americans Ignore Their 'White Privilege'?

Question: Why do you think white Americans ignore their "white privilege" that is a direct result of the history of slavery in this country? For example, I often hear whites comment, "I didn't own any slaves ... so why do I owe an apology/money/etc?" I just want to scream, "Yeah, but you ALL directly benefit from it."

Luke Visconti's Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


Question:

Why do you think white Americans ignore their "white privilege" that is a direct result of the history of slavery in this country? For example, I often hear whites comment, "I didn't own any slaves ... so why do I owe an apology/money/etc?" I just want to scream, "Yeah, but you ALL directly benefit from it."

Answer:

Most people do not think of "history" beyond their own experience. I would also say that my enlightenment has also led me to understand that the history I was taught was "whitewashed."

 

Although you're absolutely right about all white people benefiting from white privilege, most white people have never given it a thought.

 

Although there are bigots out there, the underpinnings of comments like "I didn't own any slaves" are almost always ignorance, not bigotry.

After a Typhoon of Publicity, Harvey Weinstein Charged with Rape

Allowed to turn himself in with pre-arranged bail already taken care of.

REUTERS

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An official wedding photograph released by Kensington Palace on May 21 / TWITTER

The marriage of American actress Meghan Markle and Britain's Prince Harry on Saturday was anything but the traditional royal protocol for a wedding at Windsor Castle in England. From a sermon by the first Black leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States to a soul-stirring gospel choir, it was clear that Markle is taking her African-American heritage with her as she begins a new life as one of Britain's royals.

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In an age of increasing racial confrontations, a business must have zero tolerance for discrimination.

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Executives from Nielsen, New York Life, TIAA and Toyota Motor North America talk about communicating their commitment to D&I management and backing it up with actions that get results.

At the 2018 DiversityInc Top 50 event, more than 400 people were in attendance during the day to hear best practices on effectively managing diversity and inclusion.

Moderator: Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

Panelists:

  • Angela Talton, Chief Diversity Officer, Nielsen
  • Kathleen Navarro, VP & Chief Diversity Officer, New York Life
  • Steve Larson, Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion, TIAA
  • Adrienne Trimble, General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Toyota Motor North America

Starbucks: Don’t Close the Stores, Close Corporate Headquarters

Starbucks CEO has an epic fail in grappling with his racism problem. He is unprepared, and has no clue about how to be prepared. Don't expect this to end well.

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 18 years of experience publishing DiversityInc.

In the aftermath of the racist incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks store, the company is going to close 8,000 Starbucks stores on May 29th for hastily prepared diversity training.

It's a mistake.

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