TrumpRecently, when the photo of President Trump’s cabinet meeting was released, I was taken aback.

How can there be 16 white people and only two people of color?

But of course, this is the way it has always been. When you stick with tradition, nothing can go wrong…

Except, of course, the fundamental racism and sexism that has been ingrained into our society since this country was founded and the bitterness pushed upon people of color and the reward one receives for being white.

There is an innate privilege that goes hand-in-hand with being a white person in America.

I am a white person; therefore, I have privilege due to the color of my skin. And I am not afraid to make that statement, acknowledge it, and influence a change in the system.

Journalist Christine Emba said, “[White privilege is] the level of societal advantage that comes with being seen as the norm in America, automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender or other factors. It makes life smoother, but it’s something you would barely notice unless it were suddenly taken away — or unless it had never applied to you in the first place.”

Many people will attack this sentiment, fighting back with “not ALL white people are affluent/able-bodied/privileged,” but this argument is misconstruing the entire point of recognizing white privilege.

It is a tough concept because there is an inner battle of whether this could possibly be true, because you may be reading this thinking, “Who does she think she is? Calling ME racist? Saying I think I am better than people of color?”

That is not the argument I am making, although it is the argument that is most often used when fighting against white privilege, stating that this concept doesn’t align with you considering you would never put yourself above anyone.

But as a white person, you are looked at differently simply due to the color of your skin. It is unfair, it shouldn’t be happening, but it is.

This is not a claim that all white people are racist or all white people are terrible, scary monsters who are constantly judging you.

The concept goes beyond being wealthy, white, and living in a nice neighborhood with neighbors who treat you with respect (although this can be a factor of white privilege), but rather it is the sense that, as someone who is white, you will have the upper hand.

To put this privilege into basic terms, imagine walking into a drugstore to pick up Band-Aids and shampoo. As a white person, the Band-Aids are going to match your skin tone and the shampoo that is most prevalent is the one that will match your hair type.

In this same scenario, you are walking around the store alone. As a white person, you are usually not followed, watched, or questioned simply because you are in a store. But this questioning happens to people of color every day, from being stopped by a store worker to having a police officer pulling someone over.

Is there a way to work through having this privilege?

White privilege is ingrained into society. It is not a change that can flutter away quickly, but the main thing to begin with is to recognize your privilege.

Recognizing your privilege is understanding this is something that white people will carry with them throughout their lives, and it is not something that can be ignored.

From there, we must take action. If people understand and accept that there is a real problem with how we are being treated in regards to the treatment of others, we can use a group mentality to rise above, band together with people of color, and take action.

Working to have white privilege recognized and worked against encourages the dismantling of rigid societal implications in regards to race.

This call to recognize privilege allows for the first steps. Agreeing that privilege is prevalent will not create a change in the structural racism of our views, but it provides a start- to be aware, to notice what is happening around you, and, if you fully understand this, to begin to implement change.

 

2 Comments
  1. anthony puricelli 7 months ago

    To whom it concerns,

    My name is Anthony Pavel Puricelli, and I graduated from GHS in 2015. My brother Donovan is a current student who attends GHS. Today, just out of curiosity, I decided to check what was happening at the school. I am not heavily involved in the school, so this venture was simply just to see if anything had changed since I left. While browsing the Eagles’ Eyrie, I noticed several opinions being political in nature present on the website. When I was a student at GHS, there were absolutely no articles discussing politics in the schools, and if by chance there was one, it was typically not to be found under the opinions page. I am seeing articles discussing the wage-gap, black lives matter, donald trump and even an article which openly speaks about femenist ideology. This type of dialogue is not acceptable in a high school newspaper, because it takes away from what truly matters: The school itself.
    That the powers at be would allow such publications to exist in their newspapers is very disappointing. The young minds who attend your school go there to learn, not get involved in politics and discussing in great detail political ideologies, beliefs and social factors. We should not be proclaiming Trump as a bad man, because quite frankly, at the age that the majority of high school students are at, they need to be focused on schoolwork, not politics. College is the institution which fosters those types of discussions, not high school.
    And if you are going to persist on including politics in your papers, then there should be no bias. For a high school student to be more concerned with Donald Trump, when they cannot even vote, is absurd, and to give their opinions on something they have absolutely no idea about, leads me to believe that this sort of thinking is being taught throughout the school, School is a place of education, where students go to learn and expand their minds in various educational fields such as math, english, science, history, etc. Not to be inundated and told that anyone who says Blue Lives Matter or Black Lives Matter is hating blacks, not to say that whites are more privileged than blacks and to not promote social ideologies such as femenism. This is absolutely absurd, and these sort of opinionated pieces were never in the newspapers when I was a student there.

    • Author
      Emma Ford 7 months ago

      Mr. Puricelli,
      We allow and encourage on-line comments by our readers, but like most student and professional newspapers, we typically refrain from responding. Editors and advisers do, however, reply when comments are factually incorrect and misleading to other readers, and/ or when our journalistic principles are questioned. Please consider the following:
      1. You are absolutely incorrect and misleading regarding our paper during your own time at GHS. You stated, “…there were absolutely no articles discussing politics in the schools.” The Eagles’ Eyrie has existed for almost 40 years now, and it has always had an Opinion section. I have been the newspaper adviser for the last 17 of those years. Student staff members have always been encouraged to share their opinions on all kinds of issues, whether educational, social, or political. The Opinion page included all of these issues from 2011-15 when you were a student here.
      2. Editorials are official opinions of the newspaper. The Eagles Eyrie decided many years ago not to produce editorials, but to provide staff writers and guests access to the Opinion page for persuasive pieces. As stated in every issue, all opinions expressed on that page are those of the individual writers alone. We welcome diverse opinions and only ask that pieces be well-crafted without resorting to simplistic insult.
      3. Additionally, your claim that, “… if by chance there was one {politically-based piece}, it was typically not to be found under the opinions page.” In fact, the Opinion page would be the only place those would appear with exceptions being rare news or feature articles that might relate to students involved in politics.
      4. You seem not to understand the difference between news reporting and opinion writing. The goal of news reporting is to present truth in an unbiased and effective manner. Columns and opinion pieces are perspectives of writers. They express their opinions. Check out the Op-Ed page of any newspaper. Our staff knows the difference.
      5. You state throughout, in several different ways, that important social or political issues should not be discussed in a high school newspaper. First, your idea that Godwin students are somehow incapable of mature thought and civil discourse is disturbing. Are they somehow magically transformed at a later age or only when they walk onto a college campus? Teachers have healthy discussion, even debate, about important issues in history, government, English, science, and even PE classes, yet we are not supposed to broach them in a school newspaper? I would characterize your ideas as anti-education and even unconstitutional. Our students know that they don’t lose their freedom of speech when they enter the schoolhouse doors.
      6. We are a student newspaper. We will make mistakes and have weaknesses, but we will seek improvement and growth. We must always be open to constructive criticism. Unfortunately, I have not seen anything here that might merit considerable reflection concerning our ideals or processes.
      7. Lastly, one of our missions in public schools is to prepare people for citizenship in a democratic society. We value and encourage the respectful exchange of ideas. We value and respect student opinion and will continue to provide a forum for well-crafted statements of these opinions whether they be characterized as liberal, moderate, or conservative. So, yes, we will persist in pursuit of these values.
      For 37 years, it has always been our goal to be the student voice
      Thank you,
      Chip Carter
      Eagles Eyrie Adviser

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