A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report found 76% of companies have no diversity or inclusion goals, and 75% do not have DEI included in the company’s learning development program.
WHITE PRIVILEGE vs
Does your management team understand the difference between “white privilege” and “white supremacy?”
Do your employees?
Many white people struggle to discuss race. Throw “white privilege” into the discussion, and the awkwardness—and defensiveness—can multiply astronomically.
The terms “white privilege” and “white supremacy” are dramatically different, though.
One refers to an often unconscious “gift” given to white people - one they usually don’t even recognize, and therefore just assume it’s the way things are. At the same time, many white people don’t feel powerful or as if they have privileges others do not. Ask the people of Appalachia if they feel privileged, if they haven’t struggled for everything they have. And there’s little question that highly successful white men haven’t worked their fingers to the bone to get where they are.
“White supremacy,” though, is an entirely different matter. Problem is, the two terms often wind up being used interchangeably, which makes it almost impossible to discuss either one calmly or rationally.
In short, “white supremacy” is the belief that white people constitute a superior race and should therefore dominate society, typically to the exclusion or detriment of other racial and ethnic groups.
It is “white supremacy” that gave rise to slavery, and the ability for millions of people to treat others as property and believe it was okay to own those other people.
And yet, definitions of who is “white” can change over time. There was a time when the immigrants of New York City’s Lower East Side—the Irish, the Poles, the Italians, the Russian Jews—were not “white,” but now “they” are. There was a time when the French-speaking working classes of Quebec were told to “speak white,” that is, to speak English. Whiteness is an allegorical category before it is demographic.
We can provide your team with training on diversity, equity and inclusion. We can present them with examples of unconscious privilege, how to recognize it, and how to respond to it. We can help your team create a more egalitarian, more inclusive, workplace.