Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

Is the concept of "white privilege" counterproductive?

Asked by Demosthenes (11150points) 1 week ago

It seems to either lead to strong rejection and resentment, a mischaracterization of the concept, or the dreaded “white guilt”.

Do you think emphasis on racial strife obscures class issues? I think it’s obvious that a lot of privilege comes with wealth and that these racial lines seem to also often be class lines. A common response to “white privilege” I hear is “a lot of white people are poor”, which goes to show that we view “privilege” as being tied to wealth.

Bring on the shitstorm. Lol.

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45 Answers

filmfann's avatar

White Privilage doesn’t just mean wealthy. It also refers (wrongly) to a perception of decency. Yes it’s ridiculous, but they see white people as being raised better.

kritiper's avatar

No. It is a name for reverse discrimination, and it points to all who are white.

Zaku's avatar

No. I think the general situation in Western nations (and especially the USA) is very broadly describable as most white people having little or no accurate awareness, empathy or sympathy about how many advantages they have over non-white people in practically all areas of social, economic, legal and cultural situations.

The term “white privilege” however may be somewhat in danger of being misunderstood, mainly thanks to aggressive counter-reactions… by those white people who have little or no accurate awareness… etc.

Demosthenes's avatar

I guess I’m just finding it hard to separate what is white privilege and what is class privilege. It’s true that white and Asian people often have access to better resources, but it seems to be a matter of class and affluence (i.e. black and Latino people of the same socio-economic level would have access to these resources as well. When we talk about “black and Latino” and “white and Asian” together are we really talking about race or class?). When something disproportionately affects black people, it’s framed as racism. When something disproportionately affects white people (like the opioid epidemic) it’s framed as a class problem (i.e. it affects poor, rural whites).

It’s true that “white privilege” is supposed to refer to more than just economic advantage. But I think the term is so resisted and so framed as being only about economics, that the existence of poor white people is seen as disproving the concept of “white privilege” by some.

JLoon's avatar

It’s more than a concept, it’s a reality.

But the fact that it’s poorly defined even while it’s being widely debated, means that it’s often counterproductive for both people of color and whites.

canidmajor's avatar

Put two men in the exact same suit, submit resumés that describe the same qualifications, the automatic assumption by the vast majority of employers will be that the white man is more qualified.
Two women, dressed almost identically, with similar mannerisms and speech patterns, walk into Macy’s. The brown woman is followed around the store and watched carefully. The white woman is not.
Assume that hiring a brown woman for a job that has been traditionally held by a white man is a stunt, before considering that she may be as qualified
Get the picture? That’s white privilege.

It is not counterproductive.

janbb's avatar

White privilege simply means you’ve never had to consider your race, that is, the color of your skin, as something that has held you back in achieving what you want. It’s not so hard to understand if you think about it.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

On a CNN documentary last year they went to a prison and interviewed black and white prisoners. Some black prisoners had life sentences for non violent drug offenses while they said that white prisoners must have done something horrible to get the time in prison.

White privilege exists. We must be able to speak about it to change it.

I got ostracised in university, 20 years ago, for being honest about my mental health issues and know how it feels to be jerked around for some bogus reason.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is no question that racial turmoil is utilized in masking what are in reality issues of class. In fact this is essential to the maintenance of the status quo. Better that those at the bottom fight one another over the scraps than that their attention focus on those steadily restricting the crumbs allowed to escape from the plates groaning with fare on the table above.

Demosthenes's avatar

@janbb I can understand that and to be clear @RedDeerGuy1 I’m not denying its existence. I’m just asking if sometimes it is misapplied and used to gloss over issues that are really about class more than race.

(In the same way that race can hold one back, as a gay man, I would acknowledge the existence of “straight privilege” and that for many, their non-straight sexuality can be a hindrance, whereas no one is held back by being straight, hence why I think “straight pride” is such a ludicrous concept).

@stanleybmanly that’s exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Demosthenes Oh. I don’t know then. I would go trial and error and see if what works.

stanleybmanly's avatar

If ever the increasingly dispossessed white folks figure out that they, are being played to dog black folks and immigrants for somehow depriving them of their birthright we might stand a chance. How people can be at one another’s throats and not notice who EXACTLY it is, that is walking away with THEIR money should be a topic worthy of discussion.

hello321's avatar

It’s not a “concept”. It’s a description of reality. Many good answers above, so I’ll try not to repeat.

I will be generous and say that I appreciate your interest in integrating class into your understanding of race. You can’t really discuss race without class and vice versa. However, you need some way to refer to specific privileges that come with being a part of a select group. What else would you call the privilege I have to walk around any suburban neighborhood in the US and not have the cops called on me? I have never had to have the conversation that black parents have to have with their kids on how to minimize your chances of getting murdered by a cop.

There are just so many experiences that we take for granted that constitute privilege. And we’re not even talking about structural race and class privilege or intergenerational privilege or trauma. To use the term “counterproductive” in your question is odd. Is it counterproductive to call a table a “table”?

Anyway, this is a very large topic, and it’s a bit depressing that you’ve been privileged enough to enjoy a college education and still find these basic “concepts” challenging.

Demosthenes's avatar

@hello321 I guess what I meant by “counterproductive” was that “white privilege” seems to be met with a lot of resistance outside of liberal bubbles and even within. I’m speaking anecdotally, of course, but I know a lot of people who just flat out reject it (and not all of them are white either) and part of the reason they reject it is because they characterize it as being exclusively economic (i.e. that white privilege means that all white people are better off than all non-white people) or minimizing agency (i.e. “I’m fucked and will never succeed because I’m not white”). I know that’s not what it’s supposed to mean (at least not entirely), but that’s a popular idea of it. So I’m wondering if maybe there is a better term or a better way to characterize it and I’m also questioning why the popular idea of it is so wrong and why it is so likely to be rejected. “Productive” I guess would be that it’s starting a conversation and causing people to recognize the ways in which they’re privileged, but I see a lot of the opposite: rejecting the concept outright and refusing to even entertain it.

Strauss's avatar

@janbb White privilege simply means you’ve never had to consider your race, that is, the color of your skin, as something that has held you back in achieving what you want.

White privilege is never having to tell your children how to interact with the police.

White privilege is being able to make a road trip and never having to worry about “sundown towns”.

White privilege is never being stopped for “driving while Black”.

White privilege is (historically) not worrying if the college you are allowed able to attend qualifies for your veterans’ education rights.

White privilege is (historically) knowing that you will not qualify for a veterans’ home loan due to the neighborhood rather than your creditworthiness.

White privilege is seeing history books filled with people that look like you asserting rights and ownership over lands and lives of people who do not look like you.

janbb's avatar

@Strauss I agree with all of those examples; just was trying to reduce it to a simple statement. But for sure, all of those and more.

Strauss's avatar

@Demosthenes part of the reason they reject it is because they characterize it as being exclusively economic

White privilege is so much more than economic. It’s endemic and systemic in this society, and it has been nurtured for the better part of 500 years.

@janbb Thank you. I was citing you, not correcting you!

sadiesayit's avatar

@Demosthenes, I think what you’re describing, at least about how race and class interact, is a part of the discourse on intersectionality.

I don’t know that initial resistance to a concept should be the bar for whether it’s discussed. Most people resist most things that are new, initially, regardless of their merit.

Just because racism is hard to address doesn’t mean it’s not important to address…. and just because racism isn’t the only issue doesn’t mean it’s not a significant one.

hello321's avatar

@Demosthenes: “I know that’s not what it’s supposed to mean (at least not entirely), but that’s a popular idea of it. So I’m wondering if maybe there is a better term or a better way to characterize it and I’m also questioning why the popular idea of it is so wrong and why it is so likely to be rejected.”

I’m confused. Are you looking for a better term to describe reality, or are you looking to describe reality to your reality-challenged friends so that they have less to object to?

Kropotkin's avatar

It describes reality, but I’m going to side with @Demosthenes on this one.

I really hate the framing, because it describes prejudice against black people as a privilege for white people.

Just rhetorically, this makes no sense to me, and it’s just bad propaganda. Racists love it, they get to tell poor white people: “look, the rich liberals are saying you’re priviliged and they want to give black people advantages at your expense!”—or words to that effect.

Most white people will not face the unique discriminations and prejudices faced by black people. But most white people are still working class, and still have all sorts of stress and class disadvantages to deal with.

By all means, tell an affluent white liberal that they have “white privilege”. Most people aren’t being denied jobs because they have a name that “sounds black”—it’s because there aren’t enough jobs, and there’s a hundred or more applicants for every and any shitty job out there.

In fact, I think the term is so bad, and so counter-productive in terms of creating actual class solidarity and uniting white and black people along common class interests, and antagonising white people along racial lines, that I can only speculate that it was invented by a liberal.

Demosthenes's avatar

@hello321 The latter.

@Kropotkin Well said. I think the term and the way it is discussed (even if it is describing a real phenomenon) obscures the class issues at play by inflaming racial tensions and helps create a white victimhood and resentment mentality, which obviously solves nothing.

hello321's avatar

@Kropotkin: “In fact, I think the term is so bad, and so counter-productive in terms of creating actual class solidarity and uniting white and black people along common class interests, and antagonising white people along racial lines, that I can only speculate that it was invented by a liberal.”

I think what you are disagreeing with is the liberal use of the term, rather than the term or reality of the situation itself, right? Liberals generally remove class from any discussion because they are capitalists and it doesn’t serve their class interests to bring class into it. But that doesn’t mean that the phenomenon doesn’t exist.

What term could you possibly use to describe the discrepancy between the real experience of a 35-year-old carpenter and a black 35-year-old carpenter?

I might agree that there are multiple approaches to pragmatically approaching uncomfortable subjects with people who may disagree with you. And sure, maybe “white privilege” doesn’t work for these people. Maybe I’m wrong, but I suspect that it isn’t the term that causes some people to reject the reality of racism – it’s that they actually don’t believe it exists.

And while agree with you that liberal framing almost always weaponizes terms in cynical ways in order to secure their class interests, I don’t agree that racism is entirely a manifestation of class conflict. Racism is – and has always been – a tool used to erode working class solidarity. And that’s why we can’t use the liberal framing. But removing the ability to talk about actual phenomenon as a political strategy seems disingenuous and likely to lead to the same problem. Black Americans would then be right to claim that anti-capitalists are merely “class reductionists” and blind to the unique experience of black workers.

hearkat's avatar

White privilege exists regardless of economic status. Class privilege exists within the concept of caste – so wealthy non-white people are still discriminated against. They overlap.

However, class is the bigger issue, in all honesty. Those in power use racial, religious, gender and sex issues to keep their worker ants distracted, divided, and easy to manipulate. It’s almost 4 years old, but this essay is a good explanation of that concept: https://time.com/3132635/ferguson-coming-race-war-class-warfare/

Blackberry's avatar

Both class and white privilege exist.
We’re just in a transition period where things are shifting to more class instead of race.

It was a joke a long time ago that the mere sight of a black person or black family could realistically lower your property value.

It’s not a radicalization to claim that race probably prevented some black people from bulding generational wealth in the past, which obviously affects the future and long term planning.
But now, wall street people crashed the economy in 08 for fun and everyone suffered.

Blackberry's avatar

Also just a quick observation, that you asked if the concept is counterproductive, using the reasoning that it basically “hurts white peoples feelings” which is another example of white privilege.

I also think youre asking this question in bad faith and are basically trolling with the “prepare for the storm lol” comment.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Blackberry Lol no, that is not what I said. I don’t give a shit about “hurting white people’s feelings”. But I do care when conservatives can use the narrative of “white people have it bad too” to discredit any actual push toward racial justice. Yes, my focus is often pragmatic, but that’s because I care about getting shit done and not just symbolic victories and virtue signaling.

And well, of course I’m prepared for the storm when I’m routinely attacked for asking fucking anything here. I’m not interested in asking toothless echo-chamber questions that don’t start any discussion and just allow everyone to jerk each other off in agreement. But I’m also not going to pretend that it’s enjoyable being attacked every time I ask a question that’s vaguely political.

JLeslie's avatar

The concept of white privilege is one thing and real, but the term white privilege definitely can be counterproductive in my opinion. Like all terms people perceive and interpret it from their POV.

Recognizing being white makes moving through life easier in general is something that we should all be aware of. The problem is when white privilege gets broadened into white guilt, I don’t think white people should feel guilt about the past. Guilt about slavery and segregation? That was before my time and I was not involved in it. I believe we should judge people based on them as individuals, which means not judging them on their ancestors. I do think that favoring minority candidates for jobs is justified in some circumstances even today, definitely in the past, to help make things right after years of discrimination.

I think it is important to raise people’s awareness of the inequities in society, because as we become more aware of society and ourselves, we can correct where we have been prejudiced and unfair.

I agree that socio-economics is the biggest divide in the country. This not only goes to money, but also to conforming and Xenophobia. America has shown that we will elect a Black president. That does not mean racism is gone, but it does mean if you have a Harvard degree, speak standard English with a middle of the road accent, wear a nice suit and are well groomed, that you can fit in with the upper classes. In fact, I would argue it is more about social class and conforming than race or ethnicity. We can’t even say Obama spoke well, because that is supposedly offensive, when we can say it about white people. People twist race discussions into pretzels.

Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to poverty, about all people, and I think he was right. The poor white people in Appalachia are in dire straights just as Black people are who are poor. The thing is over time there has been much more working against Black people to get out of poverty, but all poor people are at a disadvantage.

I was told by my parents and grandparents to be wary of policemen. I was taught to put my hands where they can be seen. I don’t doubt for one second that Black people are harassed more than white people and killed more often by police, but the current narrative that tries to make it sound like only Black people are abused by the police is not helpful in my opinion, because it gives racist people opportunity to show video of a cop killing a white person unjustly and then makes it easier for white people not to listen. The narrative should be accurate that it happens more to Black people, and should be a major focus of police brutality.

@Strauss I really don’t understand the mortgage thing. I have heard it before. I absolutely believe redlining happened in the past, but now, what I wonder is when they release stats on Black people paying more interest or being denied a mortgage is that comparing apples to apples? White people with the same income, same credit, buying in the same neighborhood? I am just wondering if the real problem is the system against the poor rather than race, although I completely acknowledge the system working against people of color creates the income disparity.

When I change the position of my pocketbook when a black man comes near me, what he does not realize is I change it when any man, hell any stranger male or female, comes near me if it previously was in a position that made it easy to grab.

@canidmajor Not challenging you here, just curious, have you seen actual statistics or some sort of show maybe that demonstrated that about Macy’s? I worked in retail for years, and I did not experience this. We are taught in retail that the majority of theft is done by middle aged white women. When I worked in retail I did call security to watch Black men who came in pairs or even larger groups wearing baggy clothing and who did not stick together, but rather kind of fanned out. I also called security when they were white, Hispanic, girls, boys, women and men, it didn’t matter. Back then Black people were more likely to wear baggy clothing, that was their style where I was living, so maybe they were watched more, but I didn’t see them getting arrested more. All about the clothing and the behavior. You said they were dressed the same, so that is why I am very interested in what you wrote. People don’t get arrested unless they stole something. Being watched, security constantly watches lots of people in a store and so are all the employees watching. People shove items under their babies in their baby carriages.

I once saw an Oprah episode where this white guy went out on a street to see how he was treated, and then the same guy did make-up to look Black and the audience got to see the difference in how strangers treated him, BUT he was dressed completely differently too, so I think the little experiment was not a fair portrayal of what really happens. Not that anyone should be treated badly, I am just saying dressing differently changes the dynamic also, and I think it changes it even more than skin color.

Blackberry's avatar

@Demosthenes

“It seems to either lead to strong rejection and resentment, a mischaracterization of the concept, or the dreaded “white guilt”.”

You didn’t say this?

Resentment:
noun
bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.

Why would someone feel resentment when discussing white privilege…?
I’m confused, maybe you can help me understand.

YARNLADY's avatar

A teacher recently described the way Bernie Sanders was dressed was a symbol of White Privilege. I think that is an example of racism. Some people see everything in terms of race, which is wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

@YARNLADY I was focused on the shoes Jill Biden and Nancy Pelosi were wearing. Tall spike heals at their age. I wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or annoyed. Or, wearing skirts on a cold day when needing to be outside so long.

Interesting about Bernie. I think that has more to do with age. If a 70 something Black Congressman who was well known came dressed for a Vermont winter it would be seen as cute also. James Clyburn comes to mind. I love him. I do think it was odd not to wear a dressier overcoat, I assume he has one, but it didn’t bother me at all.

When Jimmy Carter wore a sweater he received a lot of harsh criticism. I know people who voted for him who saw the sweater and thought what the hell is happening.

Zaku's avatar

I think teacher’s abuse of the term against Sanders is both an example of having lost so much perspective that you shoot your own position in the head, and also an example of crazy clothing codes – the error is the clothing codes themselves. Don’t go after the individual people! Not for following nor breaking the code. Yes, it’s true that until the teacher’s stupid comment, white men could more easily avoid stupid toxic shaming for what they wear than women could (unless you get into that the men can’t wear bright colors or patters or a skirt or heels or a flowered hat if they wanted to), and that technically is one example of their white/male privilege (and a small example, not worth confusing everyone about)... BUT the problem in that one small case is the stupid culture of shaming people for savage dress codes, and we’re all victims of that. Call out the culture, not the people.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Blackberry What I mean is that some white people, when they hear “white privilege”, hear it as a minimization of their struggles. I’ve seen evidence of this across the internet and in real life. To them, “white privilege” means “white people are better off for being white, they don’t suffer as badly as minorities, and they shouldn’t complain” so it creates resentment when they think of the hardships they’ve encountered and square it with being told they’re “privileged” by virtue of being white.

I know that is not what it is supposed to mean, but that is how it is perceived and that’s why I’m talking about its efficacy in practice, not denying its existence.

@Zaku I had to laugh a bit when a couple days after posting this question, “white privilege” enters the news in a negative light. Kind of illustrates my point that the term is so misused or applied to such minor cases that it’s lost its impact. Many will look at this incident and say “I knew white privilege was BS”. I don’t think that, but what I think it shows is that “privilege shaming” doesn’t solve anything. It only creates backlash and doesn’t start any conversations about what’s really at issue here (i.e. the clothing codes, as you point out).

Zaku's avatar

@Demosthenes Yes, exactly. I find that the term can produce worthwhile conversations in calm intelligent discussions with thoughtful people. Not so much in Internet forum discussions with other sorts of people.

And the typical low attention span, incomprehension and dysfunction of online and media conversations has this term headed down in flames to a meaningless demise, along with “social justice”, “liberal”, and so many others.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think that it is rapidly becoming increasingly difficult to disguise what are in the end struggles of class as peripheral issues. The economic realities in which we are immersed will at some point force the issue. I’m wondering whether or not I want to be around when it happens. I suspect I might not.

hello321's avatar

@Demosthenes: “Kind of illustrates my point that the term is so misused or applied to such minor cases that it’s lost its impact. Many will look at this incident and say “I knew white privilege was BS”. I don’t think that, but what I think it shows is that “privilege shaming” doesn’t solve anything. It only creates backlash and doesn’t start any conversations about what’s really at issue here (i.e. the clothing codes, as you point out).”

But I’m still begging you to explain to me what term you would use to describe white privilege? And – this part is critical – how do you keep that new term from being abused and weaponized in ways that will come off as unuseful?

This comes back to what I believe Kropotkin was getting at in his response above, although he didn’t answer my question so I can only guess. It seems that he was opposed to the cynical weaponizing of terms – not the actual reality of the phenomenon being described. Take the Clinton campaign weaponizing “sexism” in the 2016 election. Sexism actually exists. But the Clinton campaign claimed that opposition to right-wing policies or war criminals was “sexist”. This type of dangerous weaponizing for political gain had the effect of making sexism seem as though it doesn’t exist, and that it’s only a tool used to gain political power.

So, yes – we can agree that the term “white privilege” can be weaponized and used in absurd ways. But what would we possibly call it if you, me, and a bunch of jellies decided to discuss the very real difference that exists between white and non-white people in the US?

Kropotkin's avatar

@hello321 I’ll try to explain myself as best I can.

“Privilege” carries connotations. It’s not merely some advantages or rights that others don’t have. It’s that they’re gained unfairly. It’s like having something extra that you don’t really deserve, or didn’t really work for, or got because of some unjust entitlement.

It is also commonly associated with wealth. People think of privilege in terms of wealth.

People generally want to be fair, and like fairness. A sense of fairness (regardless of differing perceptions and definitions) is probably innate in all or most of us.

Considering the above points (you can think they’re wrong if you like) what “white privilege” does is to literally tell people that they’re benefiting from or even contributing to unfairness (or even that they’re rich whites!)

Except people want to be fair, and mostly think they’re being fair, which creates an antagonism and provokes defensiveness. It places the focus on the dominant group (whites) and imparts some sense of guilt for our supposed advantages.

It also says nothing about the relative experience of blacks. “White privilege” is defined by the absence of negative experiences and attitudes that non-whites do ordinarily face. It’s sort of useless if one doesn’t already know much about what those are already.

What alternative do I suggest? I don’t know. How about “racism” or “prejudice against blacks”. Sure, that will and does get misused too, but it won’t be so obvious and hollow like the Clinton example of “sexism”.

So it’s not just misuse of it by liberals and reactionaries. I think the term itself is bad, and should never have left academic discourse.

JLoon's avatar

The score so far:
36 Responses
9 Distinct points of view
7 Accusations
5 Misunderstandings
4 Personal arguments
3 Useful theories
2 Cool stories

Yeah… really productive :-/

I end where I started here. Somethings going on, but we don’t know what it is. And if the point is to actually change damaging behavior toward people of color, rather than engage in some academic exercise in deconstruction psychology – The white privilege argument is dead.

Kropotkin's avatar

@JLoon Glad one of us is keeping score.

hello321's avatar

@Kropotkin – Thanks for your response. I’m not sure we disagree. I’m in no way suggesting that if we were to craft a politically useful term to describe the very real phenomenon that exists, we should use “white privilege”.

What I am pushing back on is the idea that the project of coming up with a more palatable term to describe what we’re talking about will end up being more politically useful. The project seems futile, and ends up being an exercise in bending over backwards to appeal to a reactionary framing, resulting in another protective layer of “privilege”. :)

Blackberry's avatar

@Demosthenes
Oh I see man I definitely agree. One issue is that there is such a large sample size of white Americans that you’re exposed to many different types.

I personally didn’t grow up around black Americans except for my family and that’s it, but I’ve met and observed all kinds of white people from different backgrounds.
There is a small percentage of people I’ve met that have gotten away with some pretty ridiculous stuff and have shown zero remorse, and instead laughed it off. I’ve just never seen some people behave in such a reckless manner and move on like it was just some adventure, whereas most people have to consider many decisions they make and the consequences for them. I could never ask my mother or family members for thousands of dollars to get out of a jam, or use a connection to get out of a DUI for example. Life is just chaos though so it’s whatever lol.

There were definitely times in my life where I just kind of accepted the fact that some white people can get away with things some black people can’t.

It’s no one’s actual fault, though. Even as a black person in America, I’ve met so many immigrants (and americans) that have humbled me with their stories because some people go through things others won’t experience and that made me thankful for the decent life I did have growing up.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s much deeper a problem than most white people can appreciate, because they have no actual idea as to how deeply ingrained the phenomenon is in our culture. Even the knowledge that it is wrong is insufficient to quell the reaction to peeping through your blinds to witness a black family inspecting the house for sale across the street. And perhaps the worst aspect of this sort of thing is that the anxiety is highest in our stressed up middle class. It doesn’t matter if those black folks clamber from out of a chauffeured car (unless of course you are in Beverly Hills or some other stratosphere) No need to remind the middle class of the perceived direction of one’s socioeconomic status when black folks live across the street.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie I used Macy’s as an example off the top of my head. I spent a decade working retail and I observed this myself, often.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blackberry Great answer. I’m so happy you’re here. I like that you recognize a lot of people have difficult life stories.

No question some people do bad things and get away with it though or have punishments that pale in comparison to people without the same advantages. The legal system I feel does favor white people and especially rich people and especially regarding certain crimes. But, growing up all the kids I knew that had spent time in juvy jail happened to be white. On the other hand, when I worked in outpatient chemical dependence all patients were white, my guess is because most of the Black people maybe wound up in jail when caught. Not fair.

@Kropotkin I like your answer too. It is the word privilege itself that is part of the problem. I was watching The View a couple of days ago and Sarah said she didn’t realize how privileged she was before her children were born to only be worrying about herself. I thought that was such a weird use of the word. Not long ago that never would have been said. People would use phrases like, I didn’t realize how easy I had it, or I wish I had appreciated the freedom at the time, but that it was a privilege? I find that odd.

@canidmajor I worked at Macy’s for a short time and Bloomingdale’s for years. Also, many different specialty shops. Our training about theft was never race related. I’m not arguing with what you observed, just relating my experience. We caught young white girls constantly. Other races too, but just saying I didn’t see a preference in my stores. Every inside theft I can think of was white people. I once was awarded $1,200 for finding a person suspicious inside theft that turned out to be worth thousands of dollars of theft.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie, I wasn’t talking about theft, I said that I observed women of color often being shadowed and closely watched.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor I mean both. Again, I believe you, just stating my experience.

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