White Privilege Essay

1169 words - 5 pages

Ms. McIntosh made a particularly resonant statement about halfway through her essay; “my skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make.” I have always been free to move around the country, to make my own choices, own my independence and enjoy the freedom of my liberation. Considerations she includes on her list of privileges never actively entered into my decision making process. I was always able to find suitable housing and employment and educational opportunities to advance myself in anyway I decided. This made me wonder if in fact I had earned through merit and achievement all I believe I have to date.

When I married and had a child, it was a simple proposition ...view middle of the document...

In retrospect, I now see that the ethnic breakdown of employees hired in the Tampa market was disproportionately white. The hiring bias was systemic, by that I mean not overt selection, but accomplished through carefully crafted selection criteria that favored candidates who possessed business acumen, academic credentials, and interpersonal skills almost exclusively found in people who have succeeded in national universities, large corporate environments, and as officers in the military. Throughout my employment with the firm I never encountered a single employee who had graduated from an undergraduate institute that was not a national or internationally ranked university. This fact in and of itself may not seem biased, but this hiring criteria eliminated all candidates from regional schools and local schools.

This elimination criteria alone can be imputed to have reduced the ethnic pool of candidates substantially. The demographics of Tampa in 2010 were 26% black and 23% Hispanic and 46% white. I was in high school during the 80’s, the demographics were more evenly distributed between the three groups during that time. The increase in whites over the three decades is attributable largely to intrastate migration. This makes it safe to assume that the number of whites representative of Tampa in 1992 was somewhere between 33-46% of the total population.

The first hiring meeting I attended was held in an auditorium large enough to hold three hundred people. My recollection of this first meeting is that the audience was fairly diverse, at least as diverse as the University of South Florida student body, which was much less diverse than the city of Tampa. I graduated from USF in 1991, the total black population of the school was less than 10% of the student body and the same was true of the Hispanic student body. There were lots of reasons put forward for this phenomenon by the university administrators, namely the preference of college bound black and Hispanic students to enroll in traditionally black southern colleges or catholic colleges. I remember this because one of the significant vocal complaints of many of my white male classmates was that the public universities in the South gave scholarships to attract black and hispanic students with grade point averages as low as 2.0 when they had grade point averages over 3.0 and no chance of receiving scholarships.

The employment selection process began with this orientation, the total...

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