A Discussion on White Privilege


Hannah Velette, Copy Editor

White privilege. It’s a hard topic to talk about, yet in light of this past year it seems impossible to not talk about. Some people may agree or disagree with the idea of white privilege, while others may not even know what it is. Regardless, it’s both an important and difficult topic to address. While conversations like these aren’t easy to have, I can genuinely say that attending the Sharing Diverse Perspectives discussion on white privilege was definitely worthwhile.

Before we even started the presentation, the session started out with clear reminders that respect would be key in having these conversations. We were to refrain from interrupting, allow others to share their opinions, and remain nonjudgmental and open to others’ views. Fortunately, everyone in this past discussion was very respectful and engaged, and I think these guidelines are what helped facilitate this open environment. 

The conversation then flowed into a short discussion of what exactly white privilege is– that white people don’t have to experience certain situations that people of color have to endure, which doesn’t necessarily that all white people have “easy” lives. We then did a short activity ranking how strongly we agree or disagree with statements regarding privilege and racism. 

We finally entered the main part of our meeting: the actual discussions. We were introduced to a few questions to consider, and we broke off into breakout rooms with a teacher as a moderator to discuss these questions. My group was assigned the topic of how the media can play into racial bias by reporting on individual cases rather than overarching issues. We rejoined the group to discuss large issues, like how racism impacts education and healthcare, and small issues, like how people may live in their own little “bubbles” where it’s easy to forget about larger issues. 

Our second breakout session in small groups was similar as we broke off to discuss how racism has become more subtle and how people may not even realize they did something offensive, and we once again rejoined the main group to discuss these issues. I can’t emphasize enough how respectful and insightful everyone was, and they made the discussions so much better.

The finishing slide may have been one of the most important ones of all. It listed what you should do to address white privilege, and it revolved around the idea of being able to listen to others’ experiences, amplify their voices, and use your own voice to speak up. I left the meeting feeling like some sort of progress was made, but if you’ve seen the news the past few days, you may be feeling very differently. It’s times like these, though, when these discussions are needed most, so I would highly recommend attending a future session if you’re interested. 

The upcoming dates and topics are January 27: “The Opportunity Gap,” February 17: “Stereotyping and Microaggressions,” and March 10: “Mental Health and Social Media,” and you can click on this Google form if you’re interested in attending. Hope to see you there!