Essay on White Privilege

Published: 2021/12/28
Number of words: 1248

Question: Is white privilege a useful concept in the quest for racial justice? Why or why not?

Racism and discrimination are examples of problems bedeviling American society. These challenges require feasible measures and strategies to solve. If not addressed, these issues may have adverse effects on people. White privilege is one of the fueling factors, encouraging racial inequalities; that is, those benefits that appear to merit white descents at the expense of the people of color in America. Non-whites mostly believe that the whites are systemically entitled to special treatment and they enjoy this advantage at the expense of others, especially the blacks. The white privilege concept stems from the historical development and progression of American society and it exists in the present day. Even though its definition appears segregative, white privilege ideology is explicitly used by activists in order to create awareness on the importance of racial justice, and equality in treating people from different races.

Historical privilege associated with the white race includes access to education and health. This notion is valid noting most of the historical American scholars were whites because they had a chance to attend schools and attain a better education. In the past, most racial groups did not have the adequate privilege of attending school. Instead, only whites were permitted to attend schools so that they could extend their supremacy over people of color. Historically, white privilege fostered a positive relationship between the whites and security personnel, such as the regular police. Consequently, they would easily ask for security support and protection from the police without any suspicion. These two factions connected without any problem. Notably, a white privilege allowed whites to own property in America without collaterals, verifications, and regulations (Jacobson 2017). Access to health is another area worth scrutinizing in this forum. In the past, whites had access to better healthcare compared to people of color. This approach demeaned people of color, thereby creating an overt rift between whites and other races.

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Slavery also encouraged the white privilege concept, depicting them as superior over other races. They played the master position in all territories across America, mistreating people of color. Slavery and slave trade are two vices that were globally condemned in the world. For example, the 1861 southern slavery state establishment had people of color working for meager wages or without payment, a technique that enhanced the white privilege concept (Anderson 2017). The justice system was biased during this period, noting the whites had all privileges in the court. The people of color had no say, and they were punished unjustly without a fair trial. This trend was exhibited by the segregation of seats in public transport as whites had front seats portioned for them while blacks sat at the back. Also, white privileges were rampant in institutions of learning and places of work. Most of these settings had whites as heads, and so they had the privilege of deciding how to manage people.

White privilege is still currently prevalent, as whites appear to enjoy some freedom. They are more likely to look less suspicious, unlike people of color who have high chances of being suspected by police on the ground of their outlook. For example, the killing of Trayvon Martin by a white individual, George Zimmerman exhibits this belief. Martin had put on a jacket with a hood and Zimmerman instantly shot him. Zimmerman was then charged with second-degree murder (McClure and Cherise 2018). Increased incarceration and killings of people of color on the belief that they are brutal and that they look suspicious, demonstrates the white privilege concept. In another instance, officer Randall Kerrick shot and killed Jonathan Ferrel, a 24-year old football player, on the ground of suspicion without justifying the reason why the boy approached him (Golash-Boza 2013). These instances exhibit problems that people of color have with security authorities, which is uncharacterized for the whites, who appear to have a smooth relationship with the police officers. Another observation portraying white privilege is the high number of whites in public service positions and institutions of national importance. On the other hand, people of color are more likely to be vindicated in drug-related activities than whites.

Notably, the white privilege concept can be useful in the quest for racial justice in American society. This ideology has several weaknesses and strengths that can be used as a driving force for eradicating racism. One of the weaknesses lies in the institutional implementation, as well as its promotion. By definition, white privilege accounts for the superiority of whites over people of color. In some way, this notion acquits whites of suspicion of crime-related activities while people of color are commonly perceived as aggressive and violent, which increases their chances of being portrayed as bad people. This perception heightens segregation.

One of the strengths of white privilege is that it is just a mere human to human treatment, relating to handling benefits that whites obtain from whites and other people. Extending these benefits to other races can help mitigate the discrimination in society, as it will encourage equality and better treatment of each other; that is, people will have a conscious mind when handling their colleagues. White privilege discriminates against people of color, noting whites tend to favor themselves while disregarding others. Notably, this perception also makes them have a cordial relationship with authorities. If the same desirable relationship can be forged such that the people of color also connect well with police and other law enforcement personnel, then discrimination can be minimized significantly (Anderson 2017). This way, there will be a significant drop in the rate of blacks incarcerations, as well as race-related killings. Generally, white privilege act as a benchmark for society to learn how to treat one another by fostering justice and equality.

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Racial discrimination is an adverse vice, and as such, a feasible mitigation approach is worthy of solving it. Having a desirable ideology about the diverse race aspect of American society is one crucial step in mitigating this problem; that is, people should view it as a feature that encourages diversity. Instead of fighting against each other on a racial basis, society should be empowered through learning so that people can understand the merits associated with diverse cultures (Jacobson 2017). People should be trained to acknowledge that racism and discrimination exist in society. From that knowledge, open forums about these vices should then be encouraged in society and that strict regulation should be instituted to control operations of the government institutions concerning this problem. That is, most premises, both private and public, should embrace equality and fairness in handling people regardless of their race.

In conclusion, white privilege, a historical ideology in American society, is useful in encouraging racial justice and equality. By definition, it is segregative yet helpful in curbing racism and discrimination. Increasing awareness about this concept can create a society where people are mindful of each other in terms of protecting one’s rights and freedom. On the whole, the solution to racism and discrimination in American society rests with people’s consciousness and mindfulness of each other.


Anderson, Carol. 2017. White rage: The unspoken truth of our racial divide. Bloomsbury, USA.

Golash-Boza, T. “The problems with white allies and white privilege.” Al Jazeera (2013).

Jacobson, Matthew Frye. “Stamped from the Beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America.” (2017): 165-166.

McClure, Stephanie M, and Cherise A. Harris. Getting Real About Race. 2018. Print.

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