What Is White Privilege in America?

Dr. Robin DiAngelo deconstructs “white privilege,” using her own personal experiences to explain how many White Americans are disconnected from assumptions built around race.

Dr. Robin Di Angelo (Photo: Vimeo/GCORR)
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In this video, Dr. Robin DiAngelo deconstructs “white privilege,” using her own personal experiences to explain how many White Americans are disconnected from assumptions built around race.

While some argue that white privilege doesn’t exist, or that poor Whites are excluded from this social reality, DiAngelo argues that white privilege is, in fact, very real. The problem is many Whites have been conditioned to view race as something that only applies to people of color.

DiAngelo, who holds a Ph.D. in Multicultural Education, has worked for decades as a consultant and trainer on issues of racial and social justice.

DiAngelo writes on her website:

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“I grew up poor and [W]hite. While my class oppression has been relatively visible to me, my race privilege has not. In my efforts to uncover how race has shaped my life, I have gained deeper insight by placing race in the center of my analysis and asking how each of my other group locations have socialized me to collude with racism. In so doing, I have been able to address in greater depth my multiple locations and how they function together to hold racism in place. I now make the distinction that I grew up poor and [W]hite, for my experience of poverty would have been different had I not been [W]hite”

“I try to help White people understand racism as the very fabric of our society. I think the most profound example of everyday racism is segregation, that most White people live in racial segregation,” she says in the video below. This racial segregation is most deeply reflected in places like where White people live or attend church.

DiAngelo adds: “I have had to think very deeply on what it means to have grown up in a primarily White neighborhood, to be born into, to go to school, to study, to learn, to play, to worship, to love, to work and to die in segregation and not have one single person who loved, mentored or guided me convey that there was any loss.”

Watch her 22-minute talk in the video below.

Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr. Robin Di Angelo from GCORR on Vimeo.

The video was published online by the General Commission on Religion and Race in 2016. The General Commission on Religion and Race is an initiative the United Methodist Church that “focuses on bringing about full and equal participation of the racial and ethnic constituencies” in the denomination.

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