Women and Gender Studies
September 3, 2008
Tim Wise addressed a portion of the student body on issues concerning race and white
privilege. The issue of white privilege affects everyone including those people Mr. Wise called
black and brown. The topic of race is always interesting. Our society has come a long way, but
there is still a lot more progress to be made.
I like to think I am not a racist person. I will not deny though that racism is still very
prevalent in society today. Mr. Wise quoted some statistics that showed how more than half the
people classified as “white” in our society believe there is not a problem with racism in today’s
society. This is crazy! How can people not see that people are judged everyday based on skin
color, knowledge, religious beliefs, affiliations, and many other aspects that make us all
different? I date a black man and have been in a relationship with him for four years. When we
go out people sometimes look at us like we are not supposed to be together. I know that this
relationship would not have been possible only a few decades ago. I cannot even begin to
imagine the consequences of being involved in a public interracial relationship before the Civil
Rights movement or even some time after that. It would have been practically impossible.
Mr. Wise spoke a great deal on white privilege, which I was able to relate back to the
class readings from Tuesday, September 2, 2008. Mr. Wise made an excellent point when he
expressed that in the short run “white” people are having the extra advantage from being
privileged, but in the long run it will become a disadvantage. This is true. Our society is
becoming so diversified that one race cannot remain “on top” forever.
The most interesting point Mr. Wise introduced was that being labeled as “white” was
actually a trick the nobles set in motion when America was first being colonized. White people
receive all this extra privilege based on a trick to separate light colored people from those of
darker and brown colors. I did not know this bit of history.
The day to day life of a white person is different than that of a person that is not classified
as being white. As a white person, I take my day to day activities for granted at times. I do not
think about when I get into my car and drive to school that I probably will not get pulled over by
a police officer based solely on my color. If I do get stopped by the police, I do not have to be
concerned that I better be one hundred percent polite and keep my hands where the officer can
see them. I do not have to worry that when I apply for a job that I could possibly be denied a
position because of my color. I also do not have to worry when I leave my house everyday that
numerous times during that day I will be reminded about what inferior race I belong to. This is
Some “white” people see people of color as inferior, not good enough, and ugly. The
thing that is funny about this is I wonder how many “white” people tan their skin so that they
appear to be darker. I have seen plenty of girls on the Georgia Southern Campus alone that were
“white,” but their tan was so dark I mistook them to be black or even bi-racial before I took a
second look to realize they were in fact “white.” Tanning is a fad, but I find it ironic that “white”
people cook their skin to make it darker.
Basically, I was unaware of the issue of “white” privilege before Tim Wise’s program
and Introduction to Women and Gender Studies. Learning of white privilege has opened my
eyes to new things I did not know I take for granted and do not account for it as a result of my
skin color. I hope I can take the information I have learned and think before I participate in
different day to day actions if it could possibly be made possible to me only because of the light
skin tone I posses.