October 30th, 2020

Understanding what is meant by ‘white privilege’


By Letter to the Editor on July 4, 2020.

It’s been said that; “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I am proof that you can! At the age of 73, I’m still learning new things and I try to keep an open mind and listen to others. As a white male, I have always been annoyed when I’d hear someone use the phrase “white privilege.” I erroneously thought that just because I was a white person, it was assumed that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I like many others, have gone through several times of hardship in my life.

I recently decided to look up the meaning and discovered this explanation: White Privilege: “inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.”

Now I get it! In case someone reading this doesn’t, let me give you a couple of examples.

Let’s say I apply for a job along with a black male who is the same age, same qualifications and the same education. In most cases, who is most likely to get that job?

My family and an Indigenous family try to rent an apartment here in Lethbridge and we both have the same income, children, etc. Which family do you think is most likely to get the approval to rent the apartment?

None of us can select our race, so I am not going to apologize or feel ashamed because I am white but I now can acknowledge that I finally understand what white privilege means.

Doug Cameron

Lethbridge

Share this story:

9
24 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
biff

right on, doug.

Resolute

Do you think the actual history of identifiable groups affects how a member is treated? Relying on past personal experience to color one’s expectation of the future is not discrimination, it is called learning from the past. We all do it. If we did not, every decision that comes along would require a full assessment of one’s all available data – but almost all of that is historically derived so back where we started! Basically, it seems impossible to move forward without an understanding of the past. Ergo parenting, education, mentoring. And when it comes to social interaction, people treat strangers based on their attitude, behavior, appearance. And reputation – of that person specifically, and of all groups that person is associated with. If a stranger belongs to a group that one has had positive or negative interactions with you tend to treat them with that “profile” at the back of your mind. So… what would give rise to your “white privelege” (I take that to mean a preferred treatment from your examples) vs any other treatment upon meeting your candidates? History. Oddly enough, exactly what the blm association and the left are attempting to destroy.

biff

res – your comment here is perhaps one of the very best examples of what sustains white privilege, and the foundation upon which it originates.

Dogknox

Maybe the change should start with the persons crying discrimination; lead by example. Can’t blame anyone for renting to who they want to rent, how about a white drug addicted man asking to rent? History cannot be changed we all learn from the past!

Dogknox

biff I had rented to a Native Canadian in the past, within a week instead of two people living in the house twelve had moved in! They had done costly damage and left a mess when I got them all out!! I ask; am I a begot when I refuse or even consider to rent again to a Native Canadian? NO… I can’t afford to chance it again! The only way to change attitude of our community is to see a positive change in them… So far I have seen very little change for the better! They are quick to cry “White Privilege” and “Discrimination” I say actions speak far better then words, change their demanding we came first attitude act decent you will be treated decently!

Seth Anthony

An acquaintance of mine works in the real estate / property management industry, and she has said exactly the same as Dognox. Landlords have rented to aboriginal people, and lost tens of thousands in income due to months of non-payment of rent, and the total trashing of the dwelling. She has also mentioned incidences of the appliances being stolen / sold.

Why would any landlord risk significant financial loss? Why would any landlord risk giving someone a chance only to receive a kick to the head? It’s terribly unfortunate, but what else are they to do? (Especially considering references are easily faked).

DougCameron

Resolute: I wrote a very simple letter that gave the definition of “White Privilege”. Nothing more, nothing less. Somehow, you managed to try and spin this into something completely different. Have fun. Peace Out.

Dennis Bremner

I have questions/observation that may give some food for thought. When a group of people strives daily to be different,to be their own culture, have their own language, be their own government, be their own NATION why is it considered a failure on the white mans part if they do not integrate well or are not accepted? If a group strives daily to be NOT part of your society, should that not be the rule to follow? When a white man applies to rent at the same time as an Indigenous in white society, the white person probably wins the majority of times, as you say. Why is that “white privilege”? If that is white privilege I have a question? Try to rent a house on the reserve, how do you think you will do, lets say, if you and a local Indigenous person show up to rent the same house, would that be indigenous privilege?
For a Nation that strives to be totally separate from Canadian Society on a regular basis, why is continuing the exclusion considered privilege? Does the First Nations get to pick when they want to be part of Canadian Society whenever they wish and then declare when ever they wish to not conform and we have no say?

Is privilege a preservation of your Nation/Society exclusive to First Nations, the Metis Nation or the Quebec Nation Only? Does the First Nations get to exercise total control and exercise their rule of law over their lands and what happens there and that’s not Indigenous Privilege? Yet if whitey attempts to do the same thing that is somehow racist ?

Go to Quebec City as an Anglo and try to rent a house at the same time as a Quebecois is trying to rent it. Odds? . So we now label ourselves as racists or “whites with privilege” because people who do not want to integrate into Canadian Society are not at the top of the whiteman’s list? Think about that!
Society is based on excluding people who do not want to conform to rule of law. When a group/Nation decides that your rule of law does not apply to them, then I think the rule of “natural de-selection” takes place and this is what we call “white privilege”?
I am obviously one of the few who does not feel that your definition clears it up for me, in fact it raises more questions.

Where does the “Canadian Nation” fit or does it, anymore?

Totally curious as to answers I will receive.