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Day 2: Privilege and Whiteness


Thank you for taking this challenge! If this is your first day of joining us for the 14-Day Equity Challenge, welcome. If you are returning after previous engagement with the challenge, nice work! We are glad you are here.

This challenge is designed to push you out of your comfort zone, think critically about difficult topics, and grow in your understanding of the ways people and systems perpetuate (and have the power to eliminate) racism. We’re excited to invite you to this opportunity to dive deeper into racial equity and social justice.

View other challenges: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14


Day 2: Privilege and Whiteness

What does it mean to be White? When addressing racism, this is a question that we often forget to ask. Whiteness and privilege are two components of systemic racism that can be hard to recognize, especially for white people. However, when white people learn to step out of their comfort zones and view the world from an outside perspective, white privilege becomes much easier to see.

Whiteness describes the domination of white culture and beliefs as the standard for our society. It allows white people to feel normal, accepted, and outside of race. Whiteness means that white people rarely have to think about their racial identities, because they live in a society that has made white the social norm.

Privilege is a product of whiteness. White people are given unearned benefits and advantages that make success more likely in white-dominated society. While people of color face specific challenges and barriers as a result of racism, White people are exempt from this and in fact benefit from the systems that oppress people of color. Recognizing the impacts of whiteness and privilege is an important step in deconstructing these systems.

Today’s materials will challenge White participants to step outside of their comfort zone and reflect on how whiteness impacts their everyday lives.

If you have…

Watch this short video
 on the difference between equity and equality

Listen to this podcast
on white privilege, white centering, and white exceptionalism

Read this article
on the invention of whiteness

Want to learn more about privilege and whiteness? Visit the RACE Exhibit at the YWCA Cass Clay Administrative Offices to see our display on the invention of whiteness!

Reflect

Once you have completed today’s challenge, we encourage you to take a moment to reflect.

  • How did the challenge make you feel?
  • What is something you learned?
  • Did you notice anything about yourself after taking the challenge?
  • Consider sharing this new awareness with a friend or group to help deepen your understanding of the information.
  • Share your thoughts online using #YWCAEquityChallenge

Share each challenge online with #YWCAEquityChallenge
Day 1