White Privilege: The hidden benefits.
What it is like to be white. The colour of your skin and the genes you inherit still largely determines the course of your life, not as a direct cause but years of advantage and superiority through which we, as the white race, own the playing field. In the short text by Robert Consedine, its confrontational take on the racism continually faced by the minority group in our country made me consider my value in society because of my skin and the expectations many have of me.
Many years before us, our ancestors invaded this country and stripped the native inhabitants ( the Maori ) of their pride, culture, land, freedom and their language. Despite the world we live in claiming to have righted all wrongs and obtained an even playing field, it is impossible to accomplish this as the field is already owned by the white. This is both ironic and confronting as white are embedded in the legal, racial and general systems and statistically own most of the land. Through years of prejudice, white are initially judged as superior to our coloured counterparts. This leaves a predicament to myself and many other white peers which love and appreciate the roots of our country and its original inhabitants.
Reading ‘White Privilege’ a piece which explored the nature of white privilege and how “these systematic structural benefits remain invisible to most Pakeha” expanded my awareness of the ignorance which surrounds us. Within the piece Robert cites an article he read which refers to white privilege as a “knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, codes, tools, blank checks.” An interesting explanation which as a white male I relate to and whom is able to redeem my advantages daily while Maori have to fight to obtain my givens. Consedine states that in order to further expand the debate, we have to have sufficient knowledge of the origins of the invisible system. Without these pieces challenging our own sheltered opinions the world would remain its broken self and no real change would occur. I wholeheartedly agree with the authors purpose and encourage the push for change which is needed in my society.
In my lifetime I have never stopped to think about why I benefit from the small advantages which I do everyday, and why others who are no different from me, do not receive such advantages. In the modern world, under the direct illusion of change and equality not many stop to consider if this is the real problem which has been solved. Prior to reading the short piece by Consedine, I had not bothered or allowed myself to think deeply about the prejudice to Maoris yet after finishing it is not the facts which strike me, it is the ignorance which myself and my race have to this issue. The advantages of not only reading but analysing this text proves important to your being and your presence in society.