Racism And White Privilege In The Education System

3417 words - 14 pages

Many people in the United States society believe that people of all cultures, races, and ethnicities are now on an even playing field. People with this belief support their logic with the argument that since equal rights for people of color and women have been required by law for some time now, we are all inherently as equal as claimed in the Declaration of Independence. Many believe that race is no longer an issue, a viewpoint frequently referred to as color-blindness. National polling data indicated that a majority of whites now believe discrimination against racial minorities no longer exists. (Gallagher, 96) Color-blindness allows a white person to define himself or herself as politically and racially tolerant and then proclaim their adherence to a belief system that does not see or judge individuals by the “color of their skin.” (Gallagher, 98) Many Caucasians in particular are of the opinion that because they listen to hip-hop or cheer for their favorite black, professional sports player that they are not racist. Still others believe that because they have a black president, we see black people in the commercial of products we consume, or enjoy television shows with black people that they are actually acknowledging race. In order to examine and dismantle this series of misconceptions, we will turn to the work of various scholars of social justice and privilege, including Peggy McIntosh, Patricia Hinchey and Johnathon Kozol as well as the story of Patricia J Williams. Through a careful examination of these works with the support of some key statistics, it is the goal of this paper to demonstrate the existence of a privileged and unprivileged America, despite the color-blindness many may profess to have integrated into their perspectives.

In actuality this passive acceptance of and ignorance of the existent racial hierarchy and a common association of any race with products and styles that blacks are whites both enjoy only perpetuates stereotypes and racism both institutional and micro alike. By associating the potential existence of racism with consumption, a form of rationalization is that we now live in society that does not recognize and reward race, but merit. In turn, whites do not inherently realize the privileges that they are born with. Peggy McIntosh actually used the terms unearned entitlement and unearned advantage to describe disproportionate lead that whites have over blacks (McIntosh, 103). The fact of the matter is that most white people are in denial that they have been born with unearned entitlements that minorities do not have and according to McIntosh this is because they have been taught not to recognize it. As much as white people have been taught not to recognize that they have been given white privilege, blacks and minorities recognize that they do. Although many believe that the playing field is now level, is apparent that there is an uphill struggle for people of color. But how should one first recognize this...

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