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Does white privilege exist? Show more Show less

White privilege, the notion that white people are afforded societal benefits that members of other races are not, has seeped into our lexicon to explain racial disparity in wealth, race and health. But are racial privileges responsible? Does white privilege exist? Can it adequately explain individual experiences? Or are other factors at play in creating racial inequality?

Yes, white privilege exists Show more Show less

Inequalities in our justice system, financial system, and health system expose the privileges white communities are afforded.
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White privilege gives whites a financial boost

White privilege provides increased wealth for white families and fuels the racial wealth gap.
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Context

White people are much more likely to be born into wealth than minority groups. This increased wealth gives them a head start that members of other races are not afforded.

The Argument

At the core of white privilege is a wealth gap. White people have a much higher median household wealth than minority communities ($111,146 versus $7,113 for black household and $8,348 for Hispanic).[1] This financial head start means white people are more likely to own their own home (73% of white households own their property) while blacks (45%) and Latinos (47%) still have to spend a large percentage of their income on rent. The financial head start also means white families can afford to invest in their children’s education at higher rates than black and Latino families. They may be able to afford private schooling or provide extra tutors in subjects their children are struggling in. This improved academic performance manifests itself as increased college graduation rates among white students (34%) than black (20%) and Latino (13%) students. As white students unlock the career benefits of a degree, they are then more likely to secure a higher paying job and the cycle of white privilege continues.

Counter arguments

Just because white families are on average financially better off than non-whites does not mean that they are somehow afforded additional societal privileges. In order for ‘white privilege’ to be contributing to the wealth gap, there must be some form of government policy that gives white people a financial boost, while holding other races back financially. Otherwise, the wealth gap cannot be attributed to white privilege, but another societal factor or current. This policy does not exist. Therefore, white privilege does not exist.

Framing

Premises

[P1] White families have a financial head start on non-white families. [P2] This affords their children privileges that they carry throughout their lives. [P3] Therefore, white privilege is real.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] This only meets the criteria for white privilege if there is a policy deliberately helping white people gain financial supremacy. There isn't.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.demos.org/sites/default/files/publications/RacialWealthGap_1.pdf

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This page was last edited on Friday, 14 Feb 2020 at 15:35 UTC