Roy Exum: I Am Very Privileged

Friday, September 22, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

A California professor who teaches sociology at San Diego State told her students she would give each extra credit if they would participate in a “White Privilege Checklist” the other day. Understand, there is no pass or fail but, the more of the 20 statements you agree with, reveals you are “more guilty” of being white and therefore more “privileged” than those who are not.

I had never seen a ‘white privilege checklist’ before because I think the whole concept is nutty but I’m 100 percent white and felt good about my chances with the checklist. For the record, the 2010 census revealed that in the United States 72.4 percent of Americans are white (196 million).

Another 16.3 percent are Hispanic/Latino (50.4 million) and 12.6 percent are black (37.7 million).

So I searched up the wacky list and, sure enough, I made a 100 on the ridiculous exercise. But rather than falling for another method of dividing us as a people, I did it again, but on the second try I substituted “American” for the word “white. This way everybody in our country can give it a try. I believe any person now living in America is privileged and if someone of color can’t check every item they need to revisit the freedoms of our nation.

San Diego State professor Dae Eliott told reporters she believed the exercise helped students see things from a different perspective. “Only through processes that allow us to share intersubjectively, weigh all of our perspectives according to amount of shareable empirical evidence can we approximate an objective understanding of our society.

“It may never be perfect, in fact, I am sure we will always be improving but it is a better response if we are truly seekers of what is truth, what is reality. In a society that values fairness, our injustices that are institutionalized are often made invisible."

Brandon Jones, a student at SDSU, had a better view. “This is another attempt by the left, and Professor Elliot, to divide America. The left’s political goal is to ensure that minorities in America perpetuate that their primary problem is white racism,” he said. “This only furthers the portrayal of minorities in America as victims and does nothing to help contribute to their advancement in society.”

So now it is your turn:


* -- I can arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

* -- I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

* -- I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my own race widely represented.

* -- When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

* -- I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

* -- I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the food I grew up with, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can deal with my hair.

* -- Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial responsibility.

* -- I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

* -- I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

* -- I can take a job or enroll in a college with an affirmative action policy without having my co-workers or peers assume I got it because of my race.

* -- I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

* -- I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated.

* -- I am never asked to speak for all of the people of my racial group.

* -- I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk with “the person in charge” I will be facing a person of my race.

* -- If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

* -- I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

* -- I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

* -- I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

* -- I can walk into a classroom and know I will not be the only member of my race.

* -- I can enroll in a class at college and be sure that the majority of my professors will be of my race.

* * *

“Martin Luther King, Jr. didn't carry just a piece of cloth to symbolize his belief in racial equality; he carried the American flag.” -- Adrian Cronauer

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