Another perspective on white privilege
By Juliet Letteney, psychology and communications student
In response to “On the topic of ‘white privilege’ by Megan Burnett published by the Rocky Mountain Collegian on Oct. 8, 2015, I would like to share a different perspective on the topic of white privilege. I am a biracial person who passes for white. Essentially, if I were to tell someone I am white, I generally wouldn’t be questioned on that identity. Therefore, I have white privilege.
Privilege is about systemic power and oppression in a society that favors one identity over another. It doesn’t matter how I feel about my privilege or if I want it or reject it; it exists regardless. If someone is asking me to consider my white privilege, they are not telling me I am inherently a bad person, which seems to be what many tend to get hung up on. Any reasonable person asking me to consider my white privilege, or any privilege I hold, is really asking me to think outside myself.
I did not choose my skin color, I did not choose my privilege but that does not mean it does not exist. I do, however, choose to acknowledge my privilege and understand that my perspective of the world is uniquely constructed based on my experiences and privileges. It can be hard to hear that I am treated more preferentially in our society because of something I did not choose. Nevertheless, it is important that I hear it. I cannot erase my privilege by claiming that society perceiving me as white has nothing to do with my success. Frankly, it would make me a jerk for utilizing that very privilege to deny any responsibility in the conversation of race in our society.