Wednesday, December 15, 2010


In our fifth session, we explored the meaning and impact of white privilege on the lives of people of color and on whites themselves.  As Nelson Mandela said, "I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed."

The following are comments from some of our 21 participants after the session:

I find it intriguing that often our motivation for working toward racial inclusion is not, or may not be pure.  Sometimes it includes factors of self satisfaction.  But, even when this is true, the goal is worth the effort if the results more than compensate the fuzzy motivation.

It is interesting that centuries have passed and very little progress has been made to erase the racial issues in us.

I feel confident our efforts do and will make a difference and will correct social change regarding any privilege. 

Our group was trying to think about how to make connections with the people of color in our area that could have Unitarian Universalist leanings.

The idea I found most interesting is that white privilege is subtly insidious and how hard it is to b e aware of white privilege issues. 

One powerful idea for me is that “race” is an unnecessary construct that is often, if not predominantly, malevolent in its impact on both the oppressed and the oppressor. 

White privilege penetrates areas where we are unconscious or unaware of its existence. 

I find it interesting that diverse ways are not inherently better or worse but a way to become more self-aware and less inhibited.

If we acknowledge white privilege then action is required.  Some may not wish to give up privilege.  What would the benefit be?

What can I do about white privilege when I am almost never in a situation where it seems to appear?

The concept of white privilege, although existent, is not useful.  It makes white people feel guilty about their racism and stymies action.  It also does not identify the “oppressive society” (capitalism) that profits from and perpetuates racism.  I don’t believe white people were born racist—it is against their natural humanity.

How can whites fight against white privilege without being condescending?  How can we act so that we are perceived as authentic?

How to learn to recognize my unconscious prejudice is the greatest concern

I can’t see the privileges I have unless I really look at them.