I said - as gently as possible, that I had a real problem with that. Everyone around me gazed at me as if I'd turned green . "We cannot exclude anyone!" Why not? Asking a climate change denier to sit on the committee is akin to asking a fervent Nazi to help us save Jews, I answered. Plus ze is homophobic and racist.
I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a patter of
assumptions that were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main
piece of cultural turf; it was my own turn, and I was among those who could
control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want
to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways and of making social
systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to
anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I
could also criticize it fairly freely.
In proportion as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color.
Straight privilege is similar.
- If I pick up a magazine, watch TV, or play music, I can be certain my sexual orientation will be represented.
- I do not have to fear that if my family or friends find out about my sexual orientation there will be economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences.
- I am not accused of being abused, warped or psychologically confused because of my sexual orientation.