This simple comic strip concisely explains the complexities of white privilege


The concept of “white privilege” (brilliantly explained in Peggy McIntosh’s essay, "Unpacking The Invisible Backpack") can be a difficult one to grasp.

After all, the entire idea of “privilege” is that it's invisible to those who have it. Thankfully, a new comic from Barry Deutsch of Lefty Cartoons called “Bob And Race” lays out some of the many factors that contribute to white privilege. Specifically, the comic looks at privilege from a historical lens. In this case, the central figure, Bob, may not think he’s benefited from racism, but a quick trip through recent history shows the factors that gave him a step up from the day he was born.

For instance, Bob’s grandparents were more easily able to get homes and jobs in the overtly racist past while their black peers were shut out of such advantages. Their stability directly helped Bob’s parents and Bob himself, who was also more likely to be given the “benefit of the doubt” by society when it came to behavior that black people are disproportionally arrested for (for instance, drug possession).

The comic is a brilliant illustration of the ways in which white privilege is embedded in so many of the realities white people take for granted.

Notable Replies

  1. Look. . . I'm as white as they come. I grew up learning about the civil rights movement as history, and feeling satisfied that those struggles were a thing of the past, racism was fading into memory. But in the last few years I've had to admit that is quite obviously not true. I would like to just live my life and not think about racism, but acting like it isn't an issue probably doesn't help matters.

    White people need to stop feeling butt-hurt when white privilege is pointed out, it doesn't mean you are a racist, it doesn't even mean you approve of white privilege, but you (we) have probably benefited from it whether we know it or not.

    I also admit that I don't know what can definitively be done to correct it, but I'm not about to argue that nothing can be done-- that's defeatist.

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