THE TRUTH ABOUT DIVERSITY
Todd Dewett | July 6, 2021
(Excerpt from my new book Live Hard)
“Take the topic of privilege – white privilege to be exact. Is it real? Yes. Is it important? Yes. Is it easy for people, especially white people, to understand? Not always. The challenge is that while all white people have experienced privilege, they don’t know it. They think it’s just good luck, something earned, the kindness of others, or one of many other plausible explanations. Why would we expect people to attribute various outcomes to privilege? We tend to make self-serving attributions, not personally damning attributions.
Let me encourage you to rethink some of your experiences. For example, in my life so far, I have been pulled over by the police five times (not including a few times they got me for traffic violations). All of these incidents happened when I was younger and doing something wrong or illegal. I was let go all five times, even though laws were clearly broken. I experienced zero repercussions.
How is that possible? What are the odds? Can any person of color claim such a feat? Doubt it.
That’s right, I have tons of privilege – benefits I did not earn that were simply given to me at birth. I was born above the poverty line in a decent zip code. I had a mom and dad. I have good health and no mental or physical disabilities. I’m male. I was athletic in my youth. I’m tall. I’m at least average-looking. I’m smart. I’m Caucasian. All of these, and more, are immeasurably valuable in terms of surviving and thriving in life. I earned none of this. It was just good fortune in the genetic lottery.
I strongly believe that thinking about how lucky we are in this manner and sharing it appropriately with others helps people understand the issue more clearly. Then, walking down a crowded street while nobody notices you becomes something you think about instead of taking it for granted. Privilege ceases to be invisible.
Sure, my folks were a little problematic, we were lower middle class, I lost both of my parents too early, and a few other things I might complain about. However, truth be told, overall, I was dealt a very good hand. Sure, I have worked hard in life and made mostly good choices, but I certainly had some big advantages.”
While simple, this prescription is a good place to start – we need more dialogue! Now it’s your turn to go share ;).
Get your copy of Live Hard here: https://amzn.to/2HOUJeB