July 23, 2013
Paul Waldman reflects on President Obama’s comments on Trayvon Martin’s death and why we need soul-searching about race in America
Paul Waldman is a contributing editor for The American Prospect. In this powerful post, he talks about the importance of facing honestly what white privilege means. Until America does that, there will be no understanding of the full meaning and implications of President Obama’s recent remarks on race. “My privilege as a white man is to be unnoticed if I choose,” writes Waldman, “because when I step into an elevator or walk through a store or pass a cop on the street, I’m an individual. No one looks at me and says ‘Hmm—white guy there,’ because I’m the default setting. I’m not suspicious. I’m not a potential criminal, I ring no alarm bells in anyone’s head.” He says that because of his skin color, he is not looked upon as a type “or assumed to be of lesser station.” He tells of a time when Barack Obama was an Illinois state senator and, at a party, was mistaken as a waiter who was almost asked to fetch a drink for a party guest. This is a post that will make you think. Related: You might want to watch again (or for the first time) this brief video featuring psychologist Joy DeGruy on white privilege in action, which was one of our previous Links of the Day (last November 29).