The Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere – yes it’s real – tackles the notion of white privilege and white people’s responsibility to challenge racism, but can it help move people beyond race?
What is the essence of the story and how does it relate to the assigned topic?
The newspaper feature is about how white privilege affects young people. This article relays the experiences of a young white student who was transformed from somebody who knew nothing of what was going on into somebody who actively fights against white privilege. Claire Fox relayed how being a member of the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere (AWARE) has opened her eyes to see how “white privilege” is destroying their lives.
What is the significance of the story and of the issue it addresses?
White privilege may be invisible but it exists. Claire Fox was not even aware of the silent privileges she had and when they went through the classes on anti-racism, she said, “I was so ashamed, I’d leave the class bawling!” (p.12) The emphasis of the story was the process of Claire’s transformation. They were made to use “white” as a descriptor of somebody, like “white professor” or “white driver” and observed how these people felt being called white. Many reacted saying they felt uncomfortable being called “white”. The older whites were compared and according to her, they were defensive. The younger whites were largely unaware because they were more exposed to multiculturalism.
How might this issue affect you?
I expected to find stories about white people getting the so-called “privilege”. It is true that they get more education opportunities, better job opportunities and easier approval of loans, or they don’t get stopped or investigated by the police for being offenders. What I picked was a story of a young white female who realized how abhorring it is to have the white privilege. The issue affects me because like Claire, I happen to enjoy such privileges and I did not do anything about it. I now come to realize how guilty I am for allowing people to discriminate against race.
What is your point of view on this issue?
The country was once enshrined with white supremacy and although government and civil society lobbies for equal rights and privileges, the ghost of white privilege still exists. In racism, one just have to avoid doing something to discriminate because of race and it will be alright. But in white privilege, being passive and not doing anything about it makes one guilty. The members of the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere (AWARE) were doing right to openly fought against the special privilege whites are getting everywhere.
How does this story make you feel? Why?
I get to see racism and white privilege to be destructive. It destroys all that it affects. It destroys even those that it tries to give privilege. An African American, Chinese, Indian or Native American may look at a white person and think of him/her as “bad” because of the privileges he or she gets. And I empathize with those innocent whites who were honestly unaware that they get better privileges than others because of their race. I wish the alliance would spread and influence many so they will be enlightened like Claire Fox and me.
Will you do anything differently as a result of reading this story? If so, what?
Not doing anything about it makes a person as guilt of racism. Keeping quiet will make me be like the others who enjoy the privilege that should not be there in the first place. I will have to be vocal about it and make an effort to stop prevalence of these privileges. I will influence my family and friends and share with them my realizations. When I get a better or special service, I will have to speak out and condemn the act. If I do not do anything about it and just enjoy the privilege, I will be as guilty as the rest and white privilege will continue to destroy the lives of many.