Having White Privilege doesn’t make you a bad person…but denying Black Americans’ world view might.
As a white woman and the mother of a mixed-race daughter, the first thing I accept about my viewpoint is it is skewed.
I have white privilege.
I can never know what it’s like to be a black woman, but from speaking to my black friends and also my daughter, I’m able to get better insight and understanding of the issues black people face on a daily basis.
For example, I have learned that black women are terrified that when their husbands or children leave to run an errand or go for a jog… that they won’t come home again. I have learned that black families have to have conversations with their children about what happens when they get pulled over by the police. Starting at age 5!
Whereas I worry about the cost of the ticket I’m going to get, they worry that they might get killed.
Now some people discredit this fear – arguing its paranoia, me hating my own white race, or that it’s not real.
To them, I say: Your thinking is limited by what you know. Your experience and therefore your opinions are skewed by your white privilege. And your reality is not reflective of someone else’s.
Furthermore, acknowledging your white privilege isn’t enough to end it. The only way to change your viewpoint is to mix with people who are not like you – who do not look like you, who do not think like you, or do not have the same life experiences as you.
You ask them. And you take what they say at face value. You do not tell them that what they feel is false. You practice empathy just like you would when someone gets very ill, let’s say they have cancer and even though you do not have cancer you still can empathize that this illness can be tough to fight. You wouldn’t try to talk them out of it, would you?
I challenge you to have an open-minded discussion with someone completely unlike you.
Ask them questions.
Learn from their experiences.
Eradicate your bias, whether it’s intentional or unintentional.
Only then can we start to change the world we live in for the better.
Beate Chelette is The Growth Architect & Founder of The Women’s Code, a training company specialized in providing companies an ROI on Balanced Leadership. She has been named one of 50 must-follow women entrepreneurs by the Huffington Post. A first-generation immigrant who found herself $135,000 in debt as a single parent, she bootstrapped her passion for photography into a highly-successful global business, and eventually sold it to Bill Gates in a multimillion-dollar deal.
Beate works with business leaders and supports organizations by developing and providing training the training, tools, and expertise to create and maintain a balanced, equal and inclusive work environment that fosters creativity, employee engagement and corporate growth.
Recent clients include Merck, Women’s Legislative Caucus of California, Cal State University Dominguez Hills, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), NFTE, CreativeLive, the Association of Corporate Growth, and TracyLocke.
Beate is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome” a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.
To book Beate to speak or train please connect here.