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White Privilege is White Expectation

Systemic racism has evolved, been built, and is reinforced as a power structure across the world. There is global colorism which varies in kind and scope across continents.

There are white people who feel that because they have suffered in this life that they are not a beneficiary of white privilege, but that is not so.

Many scenarios play out every day that are so ingrained in white expectation that they are not registered as a benefit.

Where to start?

Let’s start with police relationships.

White privilege is expecting encounters with police to generally leave you better off than before the encounter, or at least alive. If a white person is the subject, police encounters are something about which to joke with rare exceptions among populations of white protestors, and white subjects who are wanted for extreme crimes.

Risk of being killed by police use of force in the us by age- race – ethnicity-sex <—– charts and stats here.

Overall views of policing stats here back/white <—— See more here

As a white parents, they reasonably expect their child’s encounter with police officers will be helpful, gentle, and a wink and nod about mischief with the child released back into the care of the parent with just a warning or a light fine.

Incarceration rates disproportionate for minority youth <—– See more here

White privilege is: “Haha, I ran from the cops.”

White privilege is: “Something a little bad or uncomfortable is happening, I should call the police.”

White privilege is being able to sleep at night when your kid goes out with their friends because the world is basically safe if they take a reasonable number of precautions.

White privilege is the expectation that police will do everything they can to recover your child should he/she/they go missing. That PD will review security cameras, interview possible witness, document the last known location, obtain and disseminate current photos, hold a press conference, and assign an investigator. White privilege is the expectation that the officers will show concern and care and urgency in the recovery of your child should he/she/they go missing.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Crisis <—- See part of the problem here.

Our Black Girls <—— See more of the problem here.

White privilege is the expectation that crimes against you will be honestly and thoroughly investigated, if not prevented altogether.

Rise of Hate crimes based on ethnicity/race <—- See info here

White privilege is not getting caught. Not getting caught is a symptom of the lack of suspicion that comes from being white.

White privilege is getting the benefit of the doubt in community, neighborhoods, school, at work, at the doctor’s office, and at play.

White privilege is expecting the blind eye to a degree relating to class and social power structure should a wrong, or crime or suspicion of a possible crime be insinuated from a situation.

White privilege is “Can’t we work this out between the two of us?”

White privilege is being presumed innocent even in compromising circumstances.

Judicial discrimination against black males <—– See more here

Racism and wrongful convictions research <—– See more here

On being poor.

All of the above applies prior to any contact with social services or PD, as well as during initial contact.

White privilege is the expectation that the subject will survive an initial contact with PD whether the perpetrator or the victim.

White privilege at school means an expectation the school will work with you and your child to overcome challenges. That your right to parent and keep custody of your child is inviolate.

Juvenile justice statistics (historical) <—– See more here

White privilege is the expectation that neighbors and community members will talk to you if there’s a problem with your child, but at most would address your child respectfully if caught in mischief.

White privilege is “Hey, knock it off, that’s not okay.”

White privilege is an expectation of respect and equality in the work place, unless you’re a woman. Still a ways to go here.

Why Diversity in the workplace matters <—– See more here

Google class action suit <—- See more here of retaliatory firing

White privilege in the work place is expecting the assumption that one is capable, diligent, and professional even if the subject is behaving otherwise.

White privilege is the expectation of being able to establish and maintain connections with other white people to further career goals, advance personal goals, advocate for the subject’s children, and improve the community.

White privilege is the expectation of community support. White privilege is the expectation that the majority of white community members will be looking out for the welfare of your child if you are not right there.

White privilege is the expectation of surviving medical encounters, and being helped by the medical community.

Statistics on minority children and medical errors <——– See more here

Race and Malpractice with links to relevant studies <—— See more here

Racial disparities in maternal and infant health <—— See more here

White privilege is feeling safe.

White privilege is feeling secure.

White privilege is optimistic.

White privilege is the expectation that the above feelings are deserved and expected, and that to feel the opposite is to have situation that needs to be corrected right away. White privilege is the expectation that inconveniences be addressed and corrected as soon as feasible.

White privilege is the urgency to fix any broken part of the system which threatens their safety, security, and optimism. White privilege is the urgency to repair any broken part of the system that threatens their child’s ability to succeed.

White privilege is the expectation that when these issues are brought up, brought to light, and communicated that the system will respond by fixing them now.

If this same urgency and responsiveness were applied to the parts of the system which imperil indigenous people, black people, and other people of color maybe we would not have to continue having the discussions about diversity, equality, accessible voting, police brutality, health inequities. In fact we should be less focused on discussions and more on concrete steps to implement a more just, more equitable place for everyone. As white people we need to fix these issues urgently with the understanding that an expanded, inclusive definition of community benefits all of us

Most of the above privileges should be the privilege of every community member of any race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

Regarding poverty:

Racial disparities in poverty stats <——- See more here

The United States is at a level of poverty and ignorance that is severely affecting business, government, military, politics, and the GDP. Investing in positive heath initiatives and wages which keep up with inflation is good for everyone. Absolutely everyone.

1% increase in inequality lowers GDP by .06%- 1.1% <—– See more here

Ignorance of the constitution and government <—– See more here

I wish these things did not have to be said.

If you are white, there is an obligation to use your platform and your voice to amplify others, and to bring up discussions with your own folks as soon as you are able.

This is not an exhaustive list.

This is where today’s thoughts have led me.
I should have been painting.

I wanted to be painting.

White privilege is being able to choose to paint rather than compile an article on white privilege.

White privilege is having the option to put off publishing an article on white privilege to go to a musical event. White responsibility is staying home, writing, and trying to make a difference.

White responsibility is calling attention to white privilege and noting self-interest as a motivating reason behind calls for equality rather than attempting to rely on mutual feelings of collective humanity or a high level of morality among white people.

White responsibility is to evaluate our role in the harm being done to other members in our community and working to correct it at every level.

White disillusionment is when a white person tries to fix the system which imperils them in some way only to find that system will not accommodate that particular issue in the way they are accustomed.

Who am I to make these observations addressed below photo.

arches hallway inside building
Photo by Robin Schreiner on

These are my reflections and research on what I have seen in the white communities where I have circulated at every class strata – poor in poor circles, poor in rich circles, rich in rich circles, rich in poor circles. I have traveled globally, lived as a racial and ethnic minority in two different countries. These presumed expectations are sometimes heightened or diminished to some degree across white economic lines, but not absent. Within minority communities there are sometimes mirrors of the more unsavory dynamics within those communities, these will probably self-correct when society corrects the greater imbalances of justice and equality.

White culture and society historically has been to leverage its own advantage at the cost of someone else’s advantage, to leverage power for one’s own self and family, to amass and acquire land and wealth at the expense of others. Real change cannot be made along these fronts if an accurate audit is not taken and addressed.

I might be poor, but my voice can still be heard.

I might be one person with small, intimate platforms, but

I’m mighty mighty mighty.

As an ordained spiritual counselor and as a sexual abuse survivor who has consistently spoken to people about that survival since early adulthood, I want to say that male survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence are greater in number than you might imagine. A male survivor of abuse has fewer resources, less support, and great risks in discussing survivorship. White males who have suffered through and survived sexual abuse or domestic violence still experience white privilege in other areas.

The way we collectively handle revelations of abuse from men and women of every race, ethnicity, and gender is part of the greater problem woven through out every other societal issue.

White women survivors are also greater in numbers. Many internalized having been raped as “losing their virginities” when they had actually been pressured, coerced, or threatened into sex when they did not want to participate, usually by an older, stronger, and/or manipulative boyfriend. White women who have survived abuse still have white privilege in other areas of their lives. White women survivors can many times expect and receive compassion, protection, and support from a significant number of people in their circles. Many sexual abuse survivor programs are oriented around women.

White gender-crossing, gender-bending, non-binary and trans people and those with different than hetero orientations will still have access to some of the white privileges and expectations mentioned above. Some of the outrage at mistreatment from these categorizations is compounded by the community denying the fulfillment of the expectation of privilege in addition to the mistreatment from which they should not have to suffer in the first place.

White people get very upset when they are denied the fulfillment of their expectation of white privilege, when we need, as white people, to get very upset at anyone being denied the fulfillment of what should be the standard expectation of treatment in an allegedly civilized society. Safety, Security, Optimism.

It is my belief that the unhealed personal violations can amplify and exacerbate privilege demands and overreach in other areas.

This is why it is imperative to engage in the healing of traumas throughout all communities. Most importantly, we must continue to advocate for every citizen and resident to be able to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

Wendy Kheiry

5 thoughts on “White Privilege is White Expectation

  1. a subject no doubt that needs addressing. our current situation with trying to corral an obvious white supremacist criminal aka trump is maddening. the investigation dragged out, corrupted at every turn. will he go scot free? that would be the damnednest outcome and point to many of the observations you have sited. obviously this was very much on your mind as you exchanged the writing/research for an artistic adventure. sincere for sure. many points well worth considering/reviewing. this should be published in wider circles. your mind is sound, exploratory, concerned. all best wendy. glad to be a friend.

    1. The Jan 6th trials were not on my mind for the writing of this, though it is difficult to avoid references to them. What was on my mind when I wrote this were several recent reports of experiences where minority children have been accosted and/or killed by people in what appears to be racially motivated circumstances and an overwhelming empathy with the parents.

      The most telling are the parts where the parents say they have had conversations with their kids to prepare them for these kind of encounters, and I could imagine what that would be like so much that I’ve written out the contrast as best I could.

      The Jan 6th circus could be a whole other bunch of thoughts, even if this topic ties into to some degree.

  2. Wrote you a very long response — but my darn phone…it went to electron heaven.

    So just a quick flawed response…yes, I understand more than some realize.
    I’m just a little too tired to respond again.

    Respect, Love & blessings,

    Rick from Chicagoland

  3. I will always support your viewpoints. To an extent, I agree, but my personal experiences really don’t get with “empirical research” & many of your generalizations & assumptions. Perhaps it is simply a matter of you being more gifted than I…I’m not certain & don’t want to make too many assumptions, regarding your background & I have not had time to listen to everyone of your podcasts. And that even if I knew all of your history if you once had wealth, it is unfair to assume that is a dominant reason why toy are emphasizing “white privilege.” Maybe if I was not born into a working class family, was not held up three times, shot once, learned to ride a car & didn’t have a current income of $1200/month, I wouldn’t be a bit uncomfortable some of these statements. In graduate school, I did notice that most white people who spoke of white privilege seemed quite privileged.

    How I admired Malcolm X & how I was so tearful when I discovered he was killed by by people of his own tradition when he embraced mainline worldwide Islam. Frankly, I was not treated well by African-Americans on the job & the incidents of crime against me were from African-Americans. I did not understand when a brick came through our 1100 sq foot townhouse on the west side of Chicago & we abandoned it. I did not understand why I had to work my way through college & had to start at city college, when I had been accepted to “better” schools?

    I am very grateful for what I have. I can get by on living in a clean, relatively quiet room & my cell phone (on which I compose my poems, though I’m pretty new to cell phones). But having said that people with money generally treat me well & I would not mind having money (at 66 & with health issues, it is a very good thing)…LOL.

    You write so beautifully, Wendy & are inordinately gifted, while having such a good heart. I love your bluesy music, adore your Trilogy album (& I mean adore!). I like the stripped down flow of your fiction (although I like to write with a little more “close camera work” & I think some of your poetry is of the best I’ve read.

    Frankly, I very much appreciate the finer things in live, as well simple pleasures. I’ve never felt truly understood & I can do without intense pain, which I feel is improving.

    Mainly, I just want to understand & love as much as I know how.

    Thanks so very much for sharing. I once accepted your perspectives presented here. Thanks for giving me somethings to think about (or in my case “feel” s as about.

    You are such a blessing in all ways.

    Much respect, Love & tender kindness from Chicagoland —


    1. Thank you so much for responding and giving me additional things to think about as well. I wanted to explore with this writing exactly the sort of difference I grew up with, that I experienced living on the wrong side of the tracks, that I experienced globally, and to more deeply understand my own privileges.

      I wanted to contrast what I’ve been seeing in the statements from parents who have had their children wrongly accused of crimes and accosted by adults! Horrifying, despicable attacks on kids. And to contrast the violent deaths at the hands of officers of people who should have survived encounters with law enforcement.

      I wanted to contrast my experiences and others like me who didn’t worry about harm at the hands of the police for ourselves or our children. My life was protected by the intervention of some concerned military veterans, detectives, police officers, and undercover officers, and it included a SWAT team being deployed, but thankfully unutilized during a particularly tricky situation. I am fortunate to be alive.

      Police officers and investigators see the worst humanity has to offer. They take the statements of allegations of child abuse and collect evidence. They face terrible exposure to violent crimes, the worst mental health crises, and the worst outcomes for drug use and addiction. They aren’t paid much and they are who people call when tragedy or violence is occurring, if the caller can reasonably believe that they will be helped and not harmed if and when PD arrives.

      If there is doubt, then the caller has to weigh the risk between the current very bad thing that is happening and the chance that arriving police officers might harm the victim or use excessive force in a situation where it is unwarranted. Untenable.

      We can’t hold accountable what we are unwilling to see. So, first we need to be willing to see, and then we need to look.

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