Please contact me to arrange for a seminar or workshop on White Privilege for your organization and to receive a PDF of my article on White Privilege which includes links for further information and cases.
White Privilege is a concept that causes angst and dissension. However, it is actually simple and straightforward. Let’s take the second question first: Do You Have It? Yes. If you are white or perceived by others to be white, you have it. So, What Is It?
Simply stated, White Privilege is the ability to live your life doing your ordinary, daily activities without having to worry that you might become a target. If this is still unclear, here are several examples.
White Privilege is a type of Power, even for those white individuals who think they are powerless. White Privilege allows those perceived as white to shop, play, laugh, work, ask for help, drive a nice car, and feel safe in their home without worry or fear that they will be targeted, arrested, or even killed for being the ‘wrong type of person.’
Since White Privilege is Power, those with this Power need to use it to aid those who do not have it. When you see someone being targeted simply because that person is not white, intervene. Use your Power to make your community a more welcoming place.
My state legislature, along with those of some other states, continues to cut funding to higher education. Anthropology is one of the subject areas that is on the bubble.
My institution requested that I create, for a campus careers day, a presentation on careers that require Anthropology. The video shown below provides a sampling of those careers.
However, Anthropology is for more than just a career. Anthropology courses provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to live in a globalized, inter-connected world no matter what their career goals may be.
For Black History Month this year, I put together a dramatic reading about the case of Loving vs. Virginia which caused the Supreme Court to overturn the remaining anti-miscegenation laws in the United States on June 12, 1967. These laws prevented marriage across the color line. Three of the students at Maple Woods Community College read the roles of Richard and Mildred Loving and of the Narrator. The dramatic reading was presented to the campus on February 14, 2018.
As an Anthropologist, I try to create activities and projects for students in my college classes that encourage them to learn more about themselves and others. Last semester, I decided to take that a step further by having the students do a Capstone Project that would also serve the community.
On the first day of class, the students are randomly assorted into groups. The name of each group is that of one of the world’s remaining foraging populations. Their first activity is to learn about the group and share that information with their fellow group members. They will sit with their group members throughout the semester and do activities with their group.
The Capstone Project is the final group activity. Each group is assigned a different aspect of a current refugee crisis. Using an anthropological perspective, they must research that crisis. From their research, they create a slide presentation that will be shown to the class during the final exam period. All students evaluate each presentation as part of their final exam grade.
During the semester break, I select from the information the groups have gathered to create a blog page devoted to that refugee crisis. The page is part of a new blog devoted to Refugee Crises. Each semester, students will study a new crisis and new pages will be added to the blog.
This Capstone Project provides students with a tangible result that helps embed in their memories the most important theme of Anthropology: Build Bridges, Not Walls.
Last Fall, I encouraged everyone to watch the Netflix series Cleverman. This fall, the second season dropped. It continues to be a great series with a strong anthropological focus.
Cleverman, Season 2
Season 2 focuses on forced acculturation. Forced acculturation is a process driven by the group in power and is enacted on a group that is to be stripped of all power and cultural identity. In the United States, white men in power did this to slaves and to the First Nations. Forced acculturation continues to be used by those in power to maintain their control.
If you have not yet watched Season 1, set aside a 12-hour stretch because you will find it hard not to binge through Season 2. Each season has six episodes. I look forward to there being a Season 3 of Cleverman.
In recent years, an increasing number of students at my institution are either immigrants or children of immigrants from several different countries in Africa. Some of them have discussed with me their concerns about what they perceive as an extreme lack of knowledge displayed not only by their fellow students but by staff and faculty about the continent of Africa and the 54 countries within that continent. It also appears to these students that none of these individuals are particularly interested in improving their knowledge.
In large part, we can blame the educational system and the media which, intentionally or unintentionally, perpetuates the racism of the Colonial Era in which Africa was depicted, if depicted at all, as a place of exotic animals and backward, “uncivilized” humans. Far too many people in the United States view Africa as a country (not a continent) dominated by poverty rather than as the second-largest landmass in the world filled with dynamism and an entrepreneurial spirit. Too many in the United States do not care about Africa and do not see why they should care.
In my classes, I attempt to change this perception, but it is difficult when it begins in elementary school with students’ first exposure to world maps. Below are several world maps. Study the maps and choose the one that seems to be the most useful and accurate.
Political World Map
Social Science World Map
World Map Peters Projection
Universal Corrective Map
You probably chose the one with which you are most familiar. Now watch this video.
The Boston, MA school system has realized that the world maps they were using in the classrooms are a problem. They will now use the Peters Projection.
Given the indoctrination that diminishes the relative size of the African continent, True Size is both entertaining and educational in showing the true size of countries and continents when compared to each other. Note how tiny Greenland truly is in relation to the African continent.
Africa is a continent of 54 countries that differ dramatically from each other in terms of size, population, ecology, and economy.
Africa and its 54 Countries
While there are remote areas with little access to modern technologies, these are quickly becoming part of the past. Even remote areas are gaining access to cell phones and the internet. Many of the cities are every bit as modern as those in the U.S.
Let’s focus on a few countries. We will begin with Nigeria, the most-populous country in Africa where over 500 languages, in addition to English, are spoken. In Nigeria, it is common to be multi-lingual.
Nigeria in Africa
Nigeria is larger than Texas. Lagos, the world’s 10th largest city with a population of 21 million, is on the coast. It is a dynamic center of trade, technology, and entertainment. Nollywood produces more than 2000 films per year.
Our next country, Ghana, is a near-neighbor of Nigeria on the west coast of the African Continent.
Accra has a population of 2.3 million in a country of 26 million. Ghana is about the size of Oregon.
There are still another 49 countries for you to explore on the Continent of Africa. The odds are high that you or your children will work for someone who is from Africa, is an immigrant from Africa, or is the offspring of an immigrant.
If you click on this site, you can see how well you do identifying the 54 countries of Africa. You can retry multiple times.
According to The Next Africa by Jake Bright and Aubrey Hruby, African immigrants and their children are the most-highly-educated group in the United States.
In 2015, Harold Ekeh, son of Nigerian immigrants, was accepted at all 8 Ivy League schools.
In 2016, Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna, daughter of Nigerian immigrants, was accepted at all 8 Ivy League schools.
In 2017, Jude Okonkwo, son of Nigerian immigrants, was accepted at all 8 Ivy League schools.
In conclusion, please watch the following video and understand that it is important to become educated about the Continent of Africa and its 54 countries so that one does not appear ignorant to those individuals who are from any of those countries.