Think Before You Speak
by BrianYoKim on October 16, 2015 - 1:49pm
In the article entitled "White Privilege Needs to Own up to its Existence" published by Lauren Messervey through Huffington Post on September 22, 2015 discusses the absence of caucasians and their understanding of the privileges they were given at birth. Messervey gives a brief explanation about the concept of privilege and what it means to be on the advantaged side. She then brings up a controversial moment that occurred after the 2015 Prime Time Emmys ceremony where an African American actress named Viola Davis won best actress in a drama series. Shortly after she was disrespected by a white actress Nancy Lee Grahn via Twitter where Nancy splurted comments that were uncalled for such as "Emmys not a venue for racial opportunity". With this example serving as proof of white privileges, Messervey goes on to mention that racism does exist, racist people do continue to dwell around and that there will always be that divide between races because of white privilges and the fact that Caucasians have never been a victim to racism, they were never backed into the same situation or put in the same shoes as Davis was.
It is hard to speak of white privileges since I was never really a victim of racism myself and I also grew up with a lot of Caucasian friends therefore I believe certain privileges may be applicable to me in terms of culture despite the fact that I am Korean and not white. But that does not mean I am not aware of white privileges. I have seen many cases of racism and the omnipresent abuse of white privileges in all its shapes and forms. It's the cases such as Viola Davis which is most bothersome to me because she deserved her award not because she is black but because she proved to be an amazing actress. Anyone who performed just as well as her had an equal chance of winning, it is not suppose to be about skin colour but some choose to make it so. I do not believe Nancy had the right to make the remark she made that night, she is clearly unaware of her privileges and behaved out of pure jealousy. The whole concept of white privileges does not only apply to this particular award show, it is universal, meaning everyone could use this event as an example and apply it to other situations in their own personal lives. As Messervey mentioned in her article, African Americans suffered and went through a lot to be where they are now and to be recognized by society. I am not trying to generalize the white population but some prove to be ignorant towards the fact that they are already center stage, standing on the spotlight. People like Nancy Lee Grahan who are unaware of that tend to push negative and unecessary attention towards those of different skin color who are out to show their excellence as an individual who is a part of society for who they are and not whether they are black or white.
Messervey. L. (2015). White Privilege Needs to Own Up to Its Existence. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lauren-messervey/why-nancy-lee-grahns-comm_b_8172964.html