White Privilege

When most people think of white privilege it is done so in race theory, a way of “conceptualizing racial inequalities that focuses as much on the advantages that whites accrue as on the disadvantages that people of color experience.” Over the past six days Washington, DC has been hit with a snowstorm that shattered decades old snowfall totals immediately followed by a blizzard with additional snow and unusually high winds.

This occurrence has illuminated yet another kind of ‘white privilege.’ This one not based on race so much as by where you stand economically and geographically in all the white stuff we call snow. Dismally explored on local newscast – if at all – was not the number of inches of snow that fell on the ground but how that snow disproportionately impacted the lives of some Washingtonians.

So Washingtonians with substance and style please remember….

You might be stuck in the house but you aren’t one of the more than 12,000 people living on the streets of Washington or in a homeless shelter.

You may have had trouble getting to work but you aren’t one of the estimated 30% of Ward 8 residents who is unemployed. The total unemployment for all of DC is 12.1%.

You might have experienced a power outage but at least you know your light bill has been paid and will be cut on as soon the work crews can restore it. Some people didn’t have all their utilities before the first flake hit the ground.

You may have had to stand in long lines at and not gotten everything you wanted at Giant, Whole Foods or Harris & Teeter but about 88,400 different people receive emergency food assistance in any given week from the Capital Area Food Bank.

Be safe, be kind to your neighbors, be conscious of your own privilege and know that you are blessed.


4 Responses to “White Privilege”

  1. Wow, excellent post! I also like to consider white privledge in terms of Detroit. There are no grocers located within the city limits is my undertstanding. The city is so spead out population wise, that services are becoming harder to obtain. It is disheartening to me that in this country people are subordinated not only in terms of disproportionate opportunities but access to food, clean water, and basic services like health care, and police and fire protection. You make an excellent point about how these inequalities are amplified by a snow storm, or a flood, or drought, or any occurance that others may not even bat an eye at.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. If you would like to repair the homes of people living in situations you just spoke of (no electric, plumbing, out of work, etc.), please check out the opportunities that Yachad offers. The same group organzing the Our City Film Festival is the group that holds volunteer opportunities welcoming skilled and unskilled volunteers to repair the homes of low-income homeowners.
    Find out more: http://www.yachad-dc.org

  3. Excellent post I just wrote about this on my blog – great to see someone else thought of it.

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