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White Privilege by Paula S. Rothenberg

White Privilege (edition 2011)

by Paula S. Rothenberg

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187189,962 (4.3)2
Title:White Privilege
Authors:Paula S. Rothenberg
Info:Worth Publishers (2011), Edition: Fourth Edition, Paperback, 160 pages
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White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism by Paula S. Rothenberg



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This volume of essays approached a difficult topic with care, introduced to me new ideas, caused me to think in new ways, and offered an extensive bibliography for me to continue learning, something I plan to do.

One sentence I read radically re-framed my understanding of white privilege, so that I could relate to the problem very concretely instead of abstractly. It wasn't even a great sentence. It simply equated whiteness with "property." With this definition as part of "whiteness," I was able to understand how the possession of whiteness has value just like any other kind of capital. It's a kind of wealth, and it's a wealth that I can't be divested from and that others can't ever acquire. Once I accept this--and it's hard not to--it's easy to separate out notions of meritocracy and answers of easy liberalism ("why can't we be friends?") from the undeniable fact that white people are privileged by their whiteness, and act in life as if they are not. Just this simple coupling of whiteness with "property" gave me a way to understand my privileged status without defensiveness or guilt.

There were many other great ideas, some of which were uncomfortable to read but none of which were unwelcome. I learned a great deal and I have a lot to think about now, which is a lot to say about a thin book of essays. ( )
  poingu | Jan 29, 2015 |
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