Richards: White Privilege

“White privilege is a measurable thing. It’s far too easy to dismiss the perceived experience of a person of color so studies have demonstrated that it is an objective, measurable reality as much as it is a subjective reality.

Numerous examples abound. A white man at a used car dealer will be offered a price that is an average of $200 lower than the black man who checked it out earlier that morning. White children aged 12-17 are more likely to use and sell drugs than black children 12-17, yet black children are about twice as likely to be prosecuted for it. When identical resumes are sent to businesses with the only difference being one has a stereotypically white-sounding name and the other has a stereotypically black-sounding name, the white resume is far more likely to get a call back than the black resume.

A similar thing is demonstrated when calling on apartment availability. “Tammy” will be told that an apartment is still available while “Tamika” will be told it is not, even though Tammy and Tamika are the same person and called five minutes apart. There are numerous studies that demonstrate these things.”

What many white folk fail to understand is that white privilege, while an established fact, is not the problem. The problem is that people of color are not given the same privilege. If Dontae went to the same college, has the same work experience, and has the same community involvement as Donald, then if Donald is called for an interview, so should Dontae. Studies demonstrate that it does not work that way. That’s a problem.

Let me add that the concept of white privilege does not mean a white man was hired simply because he was white. That’s a common rebuttal against the idea, but it is not a legitimate argument against white privilege for it misses what white privilege actually is. Most people are hired because they’re qualified. White privilege means that a man was more likely to be interviewed for the position because he was not black. That’s a problem. That is a serious problem.

To demonstrate such preferential treatment—and I’ll grant that it’s often unbeknownst to the one demonstrating it!—is contrary to God’s purposes in this world and is an attack on the image of God in man. That’s a problem.”

-J–T Richards

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