“Whether bad or good, whether justified or unjustified, our beliefs and attitudes can become so strongly associated with the category that they are automatically triggered, affecting our behavior and decision making. So, for example, simply seeing a black person can automatically bring to mind a host of associations that we have picked up from our society: this person is a good athlete, this person doesn’t do well in school, this person is poor, this person dances well, this person lives in a black neighborhood, this person should be feared. The process of making these connections is called bias. It can happen unintentionally. It can happen unconsciously. It can happen effortlessly. And it can happen in a matter of milliseconds. These associations can take hold of us no matter our values, no matter our conscious beliefs, no matter what kind of person we wish to be in the world.” ⏤Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Biased
Watch and read these 4 short introductory videos and articles on privilege and bias.
Understanding Our Privilege
University Chancellor Susan E. Borrego reflects on her life as an emancipated minor and dissects the emotionally charged conversation surrounding race relations in the United States. This raconteur uses her powerful first-person account of “White Privilege” and “Black Lives Matter” to underscore the responsibility each one of us has to bring about change.
Everyone makes assumptions about people they don’t know. Melanie Funchess of the Mental Health Association will teach us to recognize these assumptions and work toward a common understanding.
tWitch on Privilege
Stephen “tWitch” Boss, the DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and a star on So You Think You Can Dance, has built a major following on TikTok with his wife (and fellow SYTYCD star) Allison Holker Boss. One of the couple’s videos has gone viral for the way it simply and perfectly explains white privilege. In the video, the couple each holds up 10 fingers. As the song plays and Big Mamma reads off statements, they put down a finger for each one that is true for them. While tWitch, a Black man, puts his finger down for every single one, Allison, a white woman, only does for the final statement. It illustrates plainly the privileges she has had as a white person in one powerful video. [Video: 1:01]
News Media Spreads Myths About Black Families
This study examined representations of families, by race, in national and local news and opinion media coverage–on television, in print and online. The findings of the study indicate that news and opinion media do, in fact, perpetuate inaccurate representations of Black families across several different areas of coverage.
[Summary approx. 3 min to read; full report approx. 2 hours to read.]
There are many fantastic resources to help educate us on privilege and bias in America. Consider some of these additional resources to grow in your knowledge and understanding.
How Do We Overcome Our Biases? — We all have unconscious biases, and we overcome them by walking boldly toward them. [Video 17:41]
How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time — Baratunde Thurston explores the phenomenon of white Americans calling the police on black Americans who have committed the crimes of … eating, walking or generally “living while black.” In this profound, thought-provoking and often hilarious talk, he reveals the power of language to change stories of trauma into stories of healing — while challenging us all to level up. [Video: 16:50] [Extra video after talk: 2:07]
White Men: Time to Discover Your Cultural Blind Spots — White men rarely, if ever, are required to examine their own culture. In this timely and provocative talk, Michael Welp, PhD, co-founder of White Men as Full Diversity Partners speaks to his own experience becoming conscious of his white male culture, bias, and privilege as key tools to effective partnership across difference. [Video: 16:47]
Kids Speak Their Minds About Race — In a special report by Anderson Cooper, kids give honest feedback on racial and social issues. [Video: 6:25]
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man: White Allergies — Matthew McConaughey joins Emmanuel Acho as they discuss racial issues impacting our country. [Video: 12:58]
Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr. Robin DiAngelo — DiAngelo discusses whiteness as a racial identity and the concept of White Fragility, which is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. [Video: 20:01]
Seeing White Fragility — This video provides a crash course in how to identify and overcome white fragility in order to a) improve our racial literacy, b) become better allies, and c) amplify black and brown voices in the interest of achieving equality and justice for people of color. [Video: 6:23]
What Happens When I Try to Talk Race with White People — You can choose not to see the sky, but it exists. That’s how Renni Eddo-Lodge responds when somebody tells her they don’t see race. Trying to raise the topic in white-dominated social circles often led her to an immediate shutdown, one that might spring from others’ fear of being wrong, she says. [Video: 3:25]
White Privilege Checklist — This list is an excerpt from Peggy McIntosh’s essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” which demonstrates the daily effects of having white privilege. [Article: approx. 6 min to read]
What Is White Privilege, Really? — Recognizing white privilege begins with truly understanding the term itself. [Article: approx. 14 min to read]
The Many Ways White Parents Benefit From White Privilege, and How That Can Change — Part of being a good white ally,beyond sharing an anti-racist article on social media, educating yourself, and donating, is understanding there are ways racism shows up in your own life that you might not yet realize. [Article: approx. 8 min to read]
In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on Drugs — When the nation’s long-running war against drugs was defined by the crack epidemic and based in poor, predominantly black urban areas, the public response was defined by zero tolerance and stiff prison sentences. But today’s heroin crisis is different. [Article: approx. 12 min to read]
Riots in Philly: A Glaring Example of the Racial Double Standard in America — The fourth of February is a day that will go down in Philadelphia history: The Eagles won their first Super Bowl ever. The riots that followed would have also gone down in Philadelphia history, infamously, for being violent, disgraceful, and immoral, if they weren’t in celebration of a football win. However, when rioting is in response to a basic human right––the right to live––being violated, reaction is a whole other story. [Article: approx 6 min to read]
4 Ways Americans are Taught the ‘White Savior Complex’ (and What We Can Do About It) — We may think we are doing good when in actuality we are perpetuating racist stereotypes. [Article: approx 5 min to read]
For the Love Podcast: White Women’s Toxic Tears, with Lisa Sharon Harper — In light of the uprisings of the past weeks, it is not enough to perform wokeness. We need true solidarity. True solidarity requires an understanding of the historical and cultural roots and current-day patterns of white women’s betrayals of people of color. It will also require repair. This is a raw, honest, informative, solidarity-building conversation with author and Freedom Road founder and president Lisa Sharon Harper. [Podcast episode: 1 hr 8 min]
Me and White Supremacy — This eye-opening book challenges you to do the essential work of unpacking your biases, and helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves so that you can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. [Book 256 pages]
As you engage in anti-racist work, you may find yourself traveling from the Fear Zone to the Learning Zone to the Growth Zone. Where within this diagram do you most often find yourself at this point in time?
The White Savior Complex
“You want to fix things, I know. So often, materially wealthy westerners rush in to our communities assuming they have the answers to complex problems. Real, equitable and responsible partnerships can be a beautiful and effective way to address something like the world’s ‘orphan crisis’…. which is so vastly misunderstood and therefore inadequately and inappropriately addressed • You do not need to be our voice but you can help support the work that we know needs to be done in our communities. Come beside, let us teach you and lead you for a change. It might feel weird at first, but I promise you that this is an important power shift that needs to happen in the culture of development and missions….
Bias Toward Protests
“I think you were so busy looking for a riot that you missed the gathering of the grieving. I think you were so busy looking for looters that you missed the lament and heartbreak of a community. I think you were so busy looking for trouble that you missed the tragedy of systemic racialized trauma on the bodies of black and brown people. Tonight, tomorrow, and even the next day I beg of you, look again. Look again.” – Rev. Dr. Ron Bell
Media Representations and Public Perceptions
During Pumpkinfest in New Hampshire, a predominantly white crowd destroyed street signs, threw liquor bottles and billiard balls, set fires, pushed barricades, shouted curses at police officers, and flipped at least one car, resulting in more than 30 people injured. Although the two situations are not equivalent, representations from media coverage of this event (as well as riots after big sports team victories) vs. Ferguson reveal the racial biases of media. Even more telling is the different public perception when it is white people who are rioting. Ask yourself these questions: How is it that that behavior of some black people is used to condemn and dismiss the entire Black community and their concerns, while the behavior of some white people is excused and explained away? Why is it when white people riot, there isn’t blame placed on “white culture,” or that whites aren’t seen as inherently lawless, or that all white people aren’t expected to take responsibility for the actions of a few?
A Guide to White Privilege
“I’ve had this series idea in my mind for quite a while now…so here it is! As a Korean-American, I can’t speak to the unique experiences of other marginalized groups in the US, but as a fellow minority I empathize with your hardships, acknowledge your struggles, and will continue to amplify the voices of all POC 💕…”