I am deeply disturbed about the recent events of the death of George Floyd by a police officer and the ensuing riots in Minneapolis and around the country. I have remained silent too long for fear of saying the wrong thing. Today I want to share information on white privilege by Peggy McIntosh; and racial trauma by Resmaa Menakem.
I hadn’t really known about or understood white privilege until after the death of Philando Castile by a police officer during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016.
[White Privilege is] the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits, and choices bestowed upon people solely because they are white. Generally, white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.
—Peggy McIntosh, quoted in the Racial Equity Resource Guide
Here is a link to the work of Peggy McIntosh and her article white privilege, unpacking the invisible knapsack.
Several years ago I attended two mental health conferences and heard Resmaa Menakem speak on racialized trauma. I bought Resmaa’s book “My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” and found the book very enlightening. I highly recommend Resmaa’s book, and his website where he offers a free Racialized Trauma 5-Day eCourse.
White privilege (or white skin privilege) refers to societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people in some societies, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. With roots in European colonialism, the Atlantic slave trade, and the growth of the Second British Empire after 1783, white privilege has developed in circumstances that have broadly sought to protect white racial privileges, various national citizenships and other rights or special benefits.
In the study of white privilege, and its broader field of whiteness studies, academic perspectives such as critical race theory use the concept to analyze how racism and racialized societies affect the lives of white or white-skinned people.