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White privilege affects minorities

According to a panel discussion last night many whites are unaware of the privileges they receive that can lead to oppression of other races .

The panel, consisting of three University professors, agreed the only way to overcome white privilege and racism is to recognize its existence and take action. Marshall Rose, director of the office of equity and diversity said white privilege comes to whites whether they seek it or not.

“White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, code books, visas, tools and blank checks,” said Peggy McIntosh from Wellesley Collage Center for Research on Women in a flyer passed out.

Jeannie Ludlow from the women studies department understands she receives advantages for being white. Understanding it’s there is only half the battle she said.

“If we all educate each other on racism it will only fix the problem partially because it needs adjustment through the economic system as well,” Ludlow said.

This suggested awareness will help everyone, but Rose said this is not enough

“Apologizing for it will not fix it,” he said. “Action needs to be taken to fix it, just like the late Rosa Parks did.”

Change comes from recognizing the problem said John Warren, a professor with the department of Interpersonal Communications who said many people are still suffering from racial discrimination.

“It is easy to say things are better,’ he said. ” But things are still far from perfect.”

Kendall Clark, who hosts an anti-racist Web-site whiteprivilege.com, defines this privilege as whites being in advantage over non-white persons on several conditions.

Simple conditions like watching TV and seeing people of one’s shared race is not available to everyone, which may make one feel inferior Rose said.

Several people, including Rose, feel their skin color plays a role on how people judge their financial reliability, or if someone of color is late to a meeting it will reflect upon the whole race.

A flyer passed out at the meeting suggested whites can assume, if pulled over in a traffic stop they were not singled out because of race, whereas other races do not share this same assumption.

This favoritism has been shown locally with the dress codes of Sky Bar and Uptown/Downtown singling out urban wear, one audience member said. Ludlow suggests many whites ignore this because it does not directly affect them.

“Until racism affects you, many will choose not to stand up against it,” she said.

Ludlow also points out many white people will also not stand up against racism because they are thinking to themselves “Racism is bad, but if I point it out that someone is being segregated, maybe I will hurt their feelings or I might say it wrong.”

Because of this fear “many white people are stopped in their tracks of interfering,” Ludlow said. “But this is a convenient way to not challenge the system.”

Challenging the system is exactly what the panel urged their audience to do during last night’s meeting. Ludlow wants to march in a white T-shirt and Timberlands to Skybar with a group of people in similar banned clothing to challenge this discriminative system.

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