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Racism, Colorism and Privileges

By: Ayinde
November 02, 2005

When I am speaking about privileges in relation to Racism and Colorism, I am speaking about unmerited benefits that a group of people get based on false stereotypes about their superiority over people of other races and/or color. Privilege also occurs in relation to gender.

The benefits received by wealthy people or people with above average incomes, can be based on privilege, but this is not necessarily so. All privileges are unearned.

If different people who make similar amounts of money can buy similar things, there is no privilege there. If all people who are in a similar position get special treatment or gifts, those are not privileges, those are perks.

Anything a dark-skinned Black person earns in the system, together with any benefits received as a result of that earning, is not privilege. The system (those in charge and people in general) does not operate on the assumption that dark-skin Blacks are generally superior to people of other races and/or colors. The system does not automatically and/or unconsciously accommodate Black people, and least accommodated are dark-skinned Blacks.

If a dark-skinned Black male is earning more money than a light-skinned Black male, he is still viewed with the same preconceived unconscious suspicions. A dark-skinned Black male is less likely to be believed; he will not be given the same courtesies given to a White, and to a lesser extent, a light-skinned one. He has to work harder than light-skinned ones in a similar job. Everywhere he goes he has to constantly navigate people's poor perceptions about him in relation to his race and color.

As 'wealthy' as Oprah is, she does not get privileges. If people do not recognize Oprah for her celebrity status, she is treated like any other dark-skinned Black person. Getting attention and perks as a result of her celebrity status is not a privilege. All people in a similar situation get those 'perks'. Dark-skinned blacks have to ensure people recognize them as celebrities just to get basic courtesies, if any at all.

Privilege is unmerited benefits that a group of people get based on false stereotypes about their race and/or color.

Here is a link to what some Privileges are.

"How I Benefit From White Privilege" by Laura Douglas

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