Recognizing My Privilege – Elsa Bassett

For my self-proposed intervention, I decided to spend a week trying to recognize my privilege as a white person of upper class. I am in a sociology class called Global Race and Ethnic Relations in which we discuss racism in the United States and how it looks in society today. I decided to spend a week in which I would be aware of my surroundings and consider whether I was being treated specific ways because of my race and if those around me were experiencing that as well. It was fairly difficult because as a white person it is so easy for me to choose to forget that racism is such a problem, especially in a place like Cal Poly where the majority of students are white.

The first half of my week I was in SLO. On Tuesday night, I got pulled over for having forgotten to turn my headlights on when turning out of a parking lot. The police officer allowed me to go after talking with me and did not give me a ticket. Normally, I would not think much of that and would just be happy he was kind enough to let me go. However, this time a thought crossed my mind. If someone of color had been pulled over for the exact same reason, would he/she have been ticketed? Now, I do not know for sure what would happen, but I feel it is important that I recognize that statistically people of color are pulled over more often and are more likely to get a ticket when pulled over than a white person. This thought process while being pulled over was an important one for me to have to become more aware of my privilege.

I had many small moments as well in which I considered whether or not race played into a situation I was in or witnessing whether it be consciously or subconsciously. This week was eye opening for me and I feel that while I have much to learn, I was aware of my privilege enough to recognize that race plays into so many interactions that people have.

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