Tag Archives: White Privilege

In the vein of DuBois

Among the most well-known American sociologists, W.E.B. Du Bois is unique in a couple of ways. He does not shy away from speaking from the first-person perspective, wanting his readers to know what it is like to face social inequality from personal experience. Also, he speaks about global issues, but specifically about America, which he is especially situated to do as a citizen. His views are poignant and were ahead of their time, as we are still experiencing today – and in some ways just now recognizing – the issues he discussed.

In this article, http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2014/jun/18/white-privilege-real/, the author displays some parallels to Du Bois; she speaks from a first-person perspective, and about her own personal experiences. She examines the issue of white privilege and how many white people outright deny its existence, much less have discussions about it or work to fix the problems it causes. As she argues, anyone (not of color) who grew up in America is almost guaranteed to have benefitted from white privilege; but that there is a fervent refusal of white guilt, even to the extent of creating separate histories for people of color – which she states is itself part of white privilege. She goes on to express her concern, similar to Du Bois, that it may be that the only way a white person could understand white privilege would be to live in the skin of a black person – which she notes is inherently not possible.

As a black woman, the author speaks from a place of personal knowledge, and discusses how her life has been affected by the issues still present in this country. If Du Bois were to read this article, I think that he would praise the author. Du Bois was intent on expressing to his readers what the issues of his society were like for the individual – whom is especially partial to an issue – not just from an objective stance. Du Bois’ work is inherently subjective, and the author of this article takes a page from his book – using some more modern examples – citing disassociation from racism in film for example, and asking the reader to consider a sort of racial role-reversal. I believe that Du Bois would be saddened that the issues he faced in his time are still present today, but that he would also appreciate that people of color today are still taking up the fight for equality, and trying to make people face issues that are pervasive and silent.