Being ‘white’ is a racial category that emerged during the colonial era.
This invisibility of the racial category ‘white’ has two important consequences:
a) naturalizes racial differences by implying that only persons who are not members of the dominant group
have racial identities
Can't have a meaningful discussion about races without discussing whiteness
b) obscures understandings of the social inequities associated with race by blinding members of the
dominant group to how the disadvantage of others works to their own advantage.
Blinds white people to their own advantages
The concept of ‘white people’ refers to those persons, typically of European descent who are
able by the virtue of skin color or perhaps national origin to be perceived as ‘white’ or as
members of the dominant group.
White race is not a real thing in biological terms but being ‘white’ certainly has meaning in social
Both white people and people of colour live racially structured lives. In other words any system
of differentiation shapes those on who it gives privilege and as well as those it oppresses.
What is Whiteness?
Whiteness is more about how you are likely to be treated in a racialized society than it is about
who you are in any meaningful sense.
Whiteness is a location of structural advantage of racial privilege that is historically, socially,
politically and culturally produced.
Whiteness refers to a set of cultural practises that are usually unmarked and unnamed.
To study whiteness is to assign everyone a place in race relations. It is to emphasize that dealing
with racism is not merely an option for white people – rather it shapes white peoples lives and
Components of White Privilege
Being Born to be white is to be born into Belonging. To be white is to be born into an
environment where one’s legitimacy is far less likely to be questioned than would be the
legitimacy of a person from a racialized community.
Being White you're seen as belonging to the nation - the White nation
Coined term Accidental Citizenship - the birth right citizenship of individual born in north
america to non citizen parents particularly muslims that were born here. You're not
"from" here just "born" here. You're not Canadian … you're Canadian born
Belonging is not just the right to be in the country but legitimacy to powerful positions.
You are less likely to be questioned with white privilege (as a doctor, as a lawyer, etc).
White privilege is structural advantage that is historically, socially, politically and culturally
produced. These privileges often involve better job opportunities, better schooling, better
housing availability and better treatment in the criminal justice system.
White friend was able to prove his innocents of murdering a white women in the 1950s in