Are White People Really Privileged? 6 Examples That Say ‘Yes’

While having white privilege doesn’t mean being racist, it does refer to the inherent advantages that white people have simply based on their race. These privileges (not usually accessible to non-white individuals) still manifest in various ways across the US.

Racial Profiling


Racial profiling remains a significant concern in the United States, defined by the American Civil Liberties Union as the discriminatory practice by law enforcement of targeting individuals based on their race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin for suspicion of crime. 

This practice involves general criminal profiling by police, systemic scrutiny, suspicion, and violence disproportionately directed towards non-white individuals.

“Driving While Black”


White people are generally less subjected to such law enforcement behaviors, which starkly highlights racial inequalities within the justice system. 

One of the most pervasive examples of this is the phenomenon known as “driving while Black or Brown,” where people of color are more frequently stopped by police during traffic checks.

Bias in Federal Agencies


Racial profiling extends beyond local and state levels to include federal agencies. For instance, in recent years, the FBI has been criticized for targeting Black individuals under the label of “Black identity extremists,” a term for a non-existent group that recalls the historical misuse of surveillance against civil rights activists. 

Additionally, Asian American scientists have been wrongfully investigated and detained due to suspicions rooted in their national origins. 

Patterns of Discriminatory Surveillance


This pattern of surveillance echoes past governmental overreach and continues to negatively affect immigrants and communities of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian.

Disturbing Trends in Racial Profiling 


Statistical data from the American Civil Liberties Union provides a disturbing reality: 41% of Black Americans report having been stopped or detained by police because of their race, 21% of Black adults, including 30% of Black men, have experienced police violence, and in a poignant reminder of the post-9/11 era, 13,740 foreign nationals were placed in deportation proceedings in 2003 alone, with none charged with terrorism. 

Do White Privileges Persist in Modern America?


These statistics, which show high instances of racial profiling against non-white individuals, only intensify the controversial debate about whether white people still enjoy more privileges today despite efforts toward inclusivity, tolerance, and social equality.

The Education Divide


Inequality remains a pervasive barrier to accessing high-quality education. One clear sign of this issue is the disparity in resources available to schools in different areas.

White students typically enjoy better access to quality education. This includes well-equipped schools and a broader array of academic choices, significantly shaping their future career opportunities and potential earnings.

Education Disparities in Affluent Neighborhoods


Schools in wealthier neighborhoods often receive more funding, which translates into better educational materials, resources, and higher-quality teaching staff. 

Consequently, white students in these areas are more likely to enjoy superior facilities, lower dropout rates, and more diverse educational opportunities, which often lead to higher future earnings and more advanced instruction compared to their black counterparts.

Bias in Classroom and Funding


Disparities rooted in race and gender significantly influence educational access. 

These inequities can manifest as biased treatment within classrooms or as disproportionate funding for essential school supplies and resources that cater to specific demographic needs. 

The Wage Gap


Despite significant strides in the last quarter-century, Black and Hispanic workers still find themselves with fewer quality job opportunities than their white peers, even when possessing similar educational backgrounds. 

Moreover, when people of color secure these coveted positions, they earn notably less—about $10,000 less annually if they hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to a study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

“Good Jobs” and Who Gets Them


The study, “The Unequal Race for Good Jobs,” highlights the disproportionate gains white workers have made across all educational levels. 

It doesn’t matter if they possess a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree—white individuals are more likely to land a good job. A ‘good job’ here is defined as one paying at least $35,000 annually for younger workers (ages 25-34) and $45,000 for those older.

Historical and Ongoing Educational Advantages


The disparity dates back to the 1980s when higher education became essential for economic advancement. White individuals (especially from segregated suburban areas) were positioned to take advantage of mass enrollment opportunities, earning college degrees in high numbers and securing over 10 million desirable jobs from 1991 to 2016—more than double the combined total for blacks and Hispanics.

White Dominance in Desirable Job Sectors


This educational advantage set white individuals on a path of sustained economic dominance, a trend underscored by Anthony Carnevale, the report’s lead author and the director of the Georgetown center. 

This ongoing imbalance calls into question the true ‘privilege’ white people have over the ‘rest.’ 

White Supremacy and the Media


White privilege extends into various sectors, including the media, where it remains a significant issue despite efforts towards inclusivity. Many of the major media companies in the U.S. are predominantly white, and recent reports suggest that racial diversity is on the decline. 

Racial Hiring Trends at Top Media Companies

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Digiday, a prominent media and marketing industry voice, highlighted concerning trends at leading media firms like Condé Nast, Hearst, The New York Times, Vice Media Group, and Vox Media, revealing a prevailing tendency to hire predominantly white individuals. 

Even where there is diverse representation among new hires, the proportion of employees from underrepresented racial groups has decreased compared to previous years.

White Ownership and Media Content


Ownership further compounds this diversity issue, with the majority of American media giants being owned by white billionaires. This ownership structure impacts content and representation. 

Who Tells the Stories? 


According to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey, the racial composition of journalists themselves shows modest gains in diversity over previous years, but journalism remains overwhelmingly white—76% of journalists surveyed identified as white, 8% as Hispanic, 6% as Black, and only 3% as Asian.

Media’s Role in Shaping Racial Perceptions


The media’s role as a powerful societal influencer was famously summarized by Civil Rights Activist Malcolm X, who noted its capacity to sway public perception and justice. 

The predominance of white ownership and white journalists inevitably skews the narrative, often centering white perspectives and experiences, thus perpetuating a cycle of racial bias in media representation.

Healthcare Disparities

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Racial bias in healthcare remains a significant issue, with evidence suggesting that white individuals often receive superior healthcare services and more empathetic treatment from medical professionals. 

A Racial Divide


Today, Black individuals face stark disparities in both healthcare access and outcomes. They are more likely to be uninsured, forego care due to cost, and report poorer health statuses. 

Life Expectancy and Racial Inequality


Notably, Black individuals’ life expectancy is nearly five years shorter than that of white individuals (72.8 years vs. 77.5 years). 

Moreover, Black infants experience a mortality rate more than twice that of white infants (10.6 per 1,000 vs. 4.4 per 1,000 in 2021), and Black individuals are nearly three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes (39.9 vs. 14.1 per 100,000 live births between 2017-2019).

The Dark History of Medical Racism


These health disparities are deeply rooted in historically racist and discriminatory practices. Although race is a social construct with no biological basis, historic policies were often founded on disproven beliefs about racial biological differences and white supremacy. 

Historic Racial Practices in Medicine


These misguided beliefs led to such atrocities as the medical experimentation on enslaved Black women in the 1800s, the forced sterilization of low-income women of color in the early 1900s, and the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study that began in 1932, where poor Black men were left untreated to study the disease’s progression.

Racist Medical Myths


Despite scientific advances debunking these racial theories, their legacy continues to affect the U.S. healthcare system. 

A 2016 study revealed that many white medical students, residents, and laypeople still held beliefs about biological differences between Black and white individuals, such as misconceptions that Black people have thicker skin or that their blood coagulates more quickly. 

Outdated Beliefs Impacting Modern Medicine


These outdated beliefs still influence medical education and clinical decision-making today through provider attitudes, disease stereotyping, and the use of clinical algorithms and guidelines that incorporate racial biases. 

Racial Inequality in Housing 


Housing emerges as another domain where white privilege manifests distinctly. Research from Brookings has uncovered a stark disparity: homes in Black-majority neighborhoods are undervalued by an alarming $156 billion nationwide. 

This valuation persists even after accounting for common justifications such as poorer-quality schools and higher crime rates, which are frequently cited to explain lower home values in these communities.

Historic Housing Policies 


The underpricing of homes in Black neighborhoods is deeply rooted in a history of systemic racism. Racially restrictive housing covenants throughout the 20th century barred Black people from purchasing homes in certain areas, while racially biased redlining practices from the 1930s up to the 1968 Fair Housing Act led to diminished investment in these neighborhoods compared to their white counterparts. 

Is Residents’ Behavior to Blame?

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Such practices have entrenched a narrative that the lower home values in Black neighborhoods are a reflection of the residents’ behaviors—a narrative that current housing data robustly challenges.

Continued Racial Biases in Housing Today


The legacy of these discriminatory practices continues to influence today’s housing market. Racial biases in home appraisals, zoning laws, lending practices, and behaviors of real estate agents, all products of a historically segregated society, continue to depress the home values in Black neighborhoods. outcomes in housing values. 

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