I can’t help my own privilege

Laura Rogers
Seattle, WA

I know I have privilege in our country, as an upper-middle-class white woman. I don’t need to be told this again and again. Please don’t hold it against me. I’m an ally, if you would just get to know me.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

50 Responses to "I can’t help my own privilege"
  1. Orchidfun says:

    this tells us lots about you

    • Lenorejane says:

      such as?

      • Cobaltbluelady says:

        Clearly these white people of privilege are proud of the rampant racism perpetrated for their benefit!

        • Anonymous says:

          And its ignorance like your words that turns a white woman showing humility to, “we deserve better” you’re just as racist!

        • Anonymous says:

          and its ignorant people like you who turn a humble lady to “I deserve more then what I got” it’s pathetic, and your the racist here! quit this self loathing act and do something productive for society.

        • Seeuintheju says:

          You appear to be the only racist person on here. Quit with the finger-pointing and blame games. Grow up. 

        • Validemail says:

           Oh wow, Cobalt Blue (may I call you that???)…you are such a, like, awesum writer-lady dude!  “privilege are proud of the rampant racism perpetrated.”  that’s like, uhm…an alliteration…or something.  They don’t even know how to TEACH someone to write like THAT, Cobalt Ballou….hey, I like that….did you even KNOW you put all those, like, p’s and r’s together like that???  Or was that just, like, total “in the moment” stuff, ya know, like James Joyce or someone…stream of consciousness….man, I need to take lessons from YOU, Cobalt Ballou!!!  Cobalt Ballou for Writing Czar!!  Call Obama now!!  Call him on your Obamaphone!!

  2. Sperrybar says:

    I identify with you, I’m a white man carring guilt for being glad I am.

  3. Frances Perkins says:

    Misconceptions will never truly vanish on this earth, mere humans that we are.  However, you might help dispell them to some degree in true service to a selfless goal.  Your actions will speak louder than words and convince more than you ever could otherwise.  The more you walk the talk and try to make this a better world for all, without tooting your own horn, the more people will truly respect and appreciate you.  But convincing everybody is only a pipe dream.  As my wise father always said, do your best and then let the chips fall where they may.

    • Validemail says:

       I’m cryin’, Franny…that was…just…beautiful….let the chips fall where the may….omigod….how…how…original….how, oh how wise your father must have been….can I get your autograph???….before you fall asleep in your soup, I mean…?

  4. Dan Henry says:

    One either lives with the privilege of being white in America and suffers the occassional reminder that one benefits from white privilege, or one lives as a minority and suffers from racism.  I think being reminded about my privilege is a very small price to pay for the privilege that I have.

    • Guest says:

       I agree with you wholeheartedly. I also think that people need to remember that there are several forms of privilege — class, race, gender, sexuality, etc. If someone is poor and White, that does not mean that they don’t still live with WHITE privilege. Just like a wealthy person of color lives with privileges that come from his/her class status. I believe owning that privilege and really acknowledging that privilege is so much more important than feeling guilty. No one holds it against you, but if you are upset that you are being told over and over, then maybe you really do need to be reminded. (this is less of a reply to Dan, now as it is my own comment, I apologize…)

  5. Cobaltbluelady says:

    What you can do is reject and refute that privilege. You can acknowledge that IS WHITE AMERICA’S AFFIRMATIVE ACTION!!!!! What you should do is when among your peers not be afraid to admit what you know to be the REAL TRUTH and recognize how your “prior gifts” may come at a detriment to other people.

    By accepting this privilege with such a nonchalant attitude is tantamount to condoning and promoting the mistreatment of others!

    • Cduck930 says:

      “By accepting this privilege with such a nonchalant attitude is tantamount to condoning and promoting the mistreatment of others!”…..So is YOUR apparent need to unjustifiably blame ALL whites as somehow being privileged and expecting us to admit to a perceived fault and apologize to you for absolutely no reason at all. YOU, Cobaltbluelady, are OBVIOUSLY RACIST and a HYPOCRITE. 

      • LJ says:

        Educate yourself. You sound ridiculous.

        • Validemail says:

           It’s YOU that sounds ridiculous, “LJ.”  You ignorant fool.

        • anonymous says:

          Oh, whoa is me. I’m just a white girl from the middle class struggling to connect with people because they just see me as another white chick in skinny jeans. There’s really so much more to me than my coach bag. In fact once, I spent a half an hour watching an entire infomercial about those poor starving kids in foreign countries and how I could send them money every month to go to the grocery store to buy food and in exchange they would write me a letter so I could sleep better knowing I’ve made a difference.

      • Validemail says:

         You got that right, Cduck.

      • Michael Sawyer49 says:

        You have been spoon fed too much b.s. You think you sound intelligent, you are as extreme as those you think you know. Only you see what you want, and think what your told.  

    • Michael Sawyer49 says:

      You have been spoon fed too much b.s. You think you sound intelligent, you are as extreme as those you think you know. Only you see what you want, and think what your told.

    • Caron says:

      Comments like yours are when I just turn away and stop listening to a person.  You are unrealistic; “White America’s Affirmative Action” please, all I know is that the actual government mandated affirmative action program (not your made up crap) told me that though I qualify for a certain college and normally I would be accepted I wasn’t black and they needed to fill that quota right now.  I had to go to a smaller college and not the one I wanted to go to because they had room for a white person at that time.  It turned out to be a good thing since even though I supported myself I didn’t qualify for financial aide because I must have money being given to me by someone, they wanted my single mom’s tax returns to prove how much she made as a teacher (not much) even though she did not support me anymore at 18 you are suppose to be an adult but not accorrding to financial aide.  I made it though on my own with loans through the school and working my butt off, surviving on ramon noodle and an occasional burger when I started to feel weak.  Every once in awhile if my mom had extra money she might send me $40 dollars or so.  Yeah as a “white” female I really got to enjoy the privilege.  Screw you. I have earned everything I have and I don’t feel bad about busting my butt to get ahead that is what this country was founded on opportunity if you want it not handouts for nothing. I grew up poor, in hard schools, with handme downs from my brother (not great if your a girl) My mom too proud to accept welfare when we fell down, the only thing she did accept was free lunch for us to be sure we ate, back then you were given a white card to run at the register so everyone knew you were the poor kids.  She managed to go to classes to change her degree to teaching, work at a private school (horrible pay but you don’t have a teaching certificate) and at a fast food restruant untill she was able to be certified as a teacher and get a better job.  I rarely saw my mom during those years, but what I did see was strength,  fight to not give up and accept welfare and thats all she was ever going to be, hmm I guess she didn’t know about “White America’s Affirmative Action” program either probably a good thing she might have given up and accepted money to exsist rather than fight to live. 

      • Frances Perkins says:

        Well, you go, girl!  But if you think hard work sets you on a higher plane than others, here’s a news flash:  Almost everybody I’ve ever known over 67 years has worked hard, and while it does grow good Karma, it doesn’t make you special at all.  So what if Cobaltbluelady does seem to feel a bit out of sorts?  Maybe she has to work with or live around people like you and has some pretty damned good reasons for feeling as she does.  Bottom line:  even the poorest whites ARE born with a certain amount of unearned privilege, and they need to stop acting as if it makes them one whit better than anyone else.  I for one am glad to see the browning of America; I kinda like to hear those old white guys whine when they feel the reins of power slipping from their grasp.  It’s going to be a New Day tomorrow, and we have our beloved Rainbow President to help shepherd us there.  If some people want to dig in their heels and refuse to go, I say let them stay behind.  But don’t stand in the way of the rest of us, because that Steamroller of History will leave you flattened in the middle of the road.  For all you bible thumpers out there, I’ll say this:  according to that Holy Book. the purpose of wealth is to bless others, not to fatten yourself at the trough like a greedy hog and elbow your neighbor away from the merest crumb.  Didn’t you ever read the parable of the rich young ruler?

        • Validemail says:

           Frances, it’s scumbag Bolshevik idiots like you that are the downfall of our once great country.  You are a fucking asshole.

          • Chednut says:

            WOW< I'm new to this site, but here you are again. Might your time be spent more productively? What is your goal? Must your infantile response come down to name calling?

      • Swergirl says:

        “Quota?” First of all, “quotas” were banned in the 70s. Secondly, you do realize that the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action have been white women, right?

      • Got Tang says:

        I understand your plight and the struggle your mother went through to raise you. My upbringing is not far from yours and I am currently working three jobs while going to college, and living at home to help my family and save money. However, unlike you, I am not white.

        My family is of Asian descent and I am a first generation American. I grew up in some of the poorest parts of my home town and at one point moved because someone was shot in front of our house. While it might not feel like it, being white still had some advantages, even if they were small.

        This is not about “White America’s Affimative Action”. Rather, race and perception. Samll things that are inherent.

        Just by being “white” your mom will know English. You will be born in a household where English is spoken regularly. This not only increases employment chances, but also means you are likely to do better in school compared to those who learned English as a second language (ESL). I had to teach my mom English. Even now she has a very limited job market.

        Another part is discrimination. I faced rampant discrimination from all sides, coming from both teachers and peers alike. Even if they didn’t mean to do it, their perception of me is already augmented by a stereotype. I struggled with math and my teachers could not understand why. They assumed I had middle-class affluent parents and that there was perhaps a tutor somewhere along the way, coaching me to become a doctor or an engineer. Thus, my race kept me down, even while living in a poor neighborhood. I was picked on for being Asian and people thought my family was well-off, despite where we lived.

        Do I feel like people who are white don’t go through this? No, not at all. But it doesn’t feel as likely. I went through school cursing my race, wishing I was white or some other race, that way I had more than 2 or 3 other students that I could be grouped with. Instead, I was “the Asian kid” of the class, and in middle school, of the grade. Our family strove to be more “American”. Strove to have at least one less dirty look shot at us when we entered a shop or go somewhere. We had to work simply to be “normal”.

        Is your struggle or your mom’s struggle any less real? Any less difficult? Certainly not. I am not down playing that in any way. I can understand it because I’ve experienced it. But what of my struggles. Is it likely that you will ever experience them? Probably not. It is just another layer of struggle, sometimes unseen, where some people have to fight. Fight to be American; fight to be accepted; fight to be normal; fight to be white.

      • Bianca Smith says:

        Studies have shown that Affirmative action has helped white and minority women the most. And welfare isnt the devil. that too was created for widowed women, mostly white. But it is now turning into something else. However it still helps many people. I used it until I could find good paying job. If I didn’t have assistance from the state I wouldn’t have been able to work because I wouldn’t have been able to pay for child care and then I would have been out on the streets. Some people may not accept welfare and can make due but in other cases like mine, we can’t and we have to take the help. But for MOST people on welfare it is a temporary solution. Like everything else in life, we only hear of how people on welfare are lazy, don’t want to work, and have too many damn kids. In reality that’s probably like 2% of the people on welfare. And that’s probably why people choose not to go onto welfare because they don’t want to be stigmatized like that. And that is a sad truth.

  6. Gary Seven says:

    I look forward to working with you in an alliance and getting to know you as a friend

  7. Kat says:

    Affirmative action helped many many white women. Alot of people dont see this fact

  8. Shirvonah says:

    Love this.

  9. xdiemaker says:

    Becareful you can lose that in a second.

  10. Frances Perkins says:

    There’s enough blame to go around here.   You should all step back and take a deep breath.  Except for the Klan loonie who keeps making a special fool of himself.  You know who I mean, ‘validemail’!  You don’t need to breathe a second longer than necessary.  Violence (and vulgarity) are the last refuge of idiots and cowards.  If you felt secure in your own manliness (?) you wouldn’t feel so threatened by your superiors.  Why don’t you don your white sheet, go stand in front of the White House, and let the Secret Service and the FBI straighten you out?  I’d pay good money to see that.

  11. Frances Perkins says:

    While we’re at it, as on old white lady  I’m PROUD to say that wherever he goes, I’m sure President Obama’s going to be the smartest and best person in the room, bar none.  Remember when his detractors used to call him too wimpy?  Don’t they sing a different tune now!  Apparently he’s morphed into their worst nightmare; make no mistake, they are scared witless of him when it’s really their own evil that will destroy them from within.

    • Validemail says:

       OmiGOD, Franny, you are just OFF THE CHART SMART!  If Obammy is, like you say, “the smartest and best person in the room, bar NONE,” then you have to be at least SECOND, wouldn’t you say???  You have got it DOWN, Grandma!  Are you from PASADENA, or what?!?  Go Granny, go Granny, Go Granny GO!!!  Yeehaw!!  You BET they’re “singin’ a different tune now!”  OH yeah.  Scared WITLESS, hey now, I’m FEELIN’ it!!  Oh, I am READY for the rapture NOW, Granny Franny!  Take me HOME, Jesus!!  Take me HOME NOW.  WOoooo HOOOoooOOoOoOOo!!!!

  12. Charlie J says:


  13. Frances Perkins says:

    Folks, the main reason I hung around so long yesterday, offering myself as a willing target for the likes of validemail, was to LET HIM OUT HIMSELF fully for the ranting jealous sicko he is.  Now I imagine that most of you are as tired of him as I am, so as of today I’ll resume my regular life and practice what I preach.  Don’t waste your time listening to him.  He’s an attention hog of the worst kind, either insane or a little boy (yes, I mean THAT kind), and if anyone pays the least attention to him/her/it, you’ll only fuel his hysteria.  There is no earthly help for a child like that, who’s clearly played with himself far too long.

    But someday I’ll return to enjoy spending more time with the rest of you.  To a large degree you’ve made it a pleasure, and I thank you for that.  Please don’t give up on trying to promote honest communication; my thanks also to Michelle Norris for this wonderful project.

    See you soon, I hope.     

  14. Oicu812 says:

    If anyone wants to know why “racism” is alive and well in this country, you can thank idiots like “cobaltbluelady” and “frances perkins”. “Racism” is truely more of a black person issue than it is a white person issue. Hence the phrase; “using the race card again”. Nothing is ever going to be enough, and that is passed on from one generation to the next; therefore, it will never end and this country will remain forever divided. Speaking of which; lets the divide the country evenly and see who is still around in lets say another hundred years? Those who sit on their asses blaming others, with their hands out — or, those who actually join together and make an effort to build and survive together!

  15. Truman Eugene says:

    This site is another waste of time.  Narrow-minded racist like Cobaltbluelady and others prove it so.  When those people comment on privilege, they ridicule all whites born into it or who have achieved it.  They never consider the underprivileged who broke the chain and succeeded later in life.  Mrs. Norris has only allowed for yet another forum for these fools to spew their hatred towards whites, privileged, or anyone not like themselves.

    To Cobalt, would you consider Obama’s daughters privileged?  Where’s your hatred towards them? 

  16. American_Race says:

    I believe that the key here is neither to apologize for nor to suppress “privilege” but to encourage others to create it for themselves. 

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are
    inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It
    is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most.

    “We ask
    ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

    “Your playing
    small does not serve the world.

    “There is nothing enlightened about
    shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to
    make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some
    of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we
    unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are
    liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates
    others.” Nelson Mandela, 1994 inaugural speech

  17. Univcitz says:

    Laura, I don’t doubt the goodness of your heart and intent.  Please recognize however, that your privilege often makes you inaccessible to those who are not likewise privileged . Therefore, the onus is on the privileged to take the risk and come down from their ivory towers, come out from their secure gated communities and meet the rest of us in what common(neutral) spaces there are and facilitate the “getting to know” you which you express a desire for.  I’m open to the prospect.

  18. Bianca Smith says:

    I’m in this seminar called Unlearning Racism. We just had a session on white privilege. I agree with the statement above. Not all white people are bad. There are bad people in every race, if race even exists. We as people are too much alike to keep separating ourselves from one another. I for one think we should celebrate people that are unlike ourselves. And if you really think about it, not all white people are privileged. Yes, you may not face all the racial injustices as minorities do. But if your white, poor, with little education, and covered in tattoo’s, please believe your going to be profiled like every other person of color. We need to learn to stop blaming each other. We need to start finding solutions. Like the lady said above, she is an ally. Maybe we can find an answer to the ‘race’ problem we have in this country when more white people get o board to end racism socially and institutionally.  

  19. McNett says:

    Well, actually, you can. Ever trace the origins of your privilege? Even if your ancestors didn’t own slaves, your privilege is probably built on unfettered access to opportunities that originated during slavery and continued through Jim Crow. Which means your folks progressed during a time when black people were legally repressed. So don’t pat yourself on the back too quickly.

  20. B3theory1 says:

    I’m not mad at you. You have money and all the trappings–it is what it is. At the end of the day, does any of it matter? We are all trying to survive and thrive, some just are better able to do so than others. No one should be made to feel bad or ashamed for what they have.

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