According to the Metropolitan Policy Program, in the year 2045, the white race will become a minority taking up only 49.7% of the United States population (Frey). For years, white privilege has been at the forefront of social hypocrisy. From owning slaves in the 1700s to everyday racial slurs, white people have been labeled as discriminatory and supremacists. The idea that white people have a certain ranking in the hierarchy that is America is an outgrown ideology and the concept of white privilege should be redefined to adequately match our constantly changing society. Our culture has morphed into a system that is so frightened of labels that they actually discriminate against the majority. White privilege has been transformed through the ages into an embarrassment, a setback, and a barrier. Contrary to what society has deemed it as white privilege is a hindrance for those whom it consumes and burdens future opportunities in life.
One of these instances is prominent through the process of college admission. Seniors all over the country are currently or already have been starting their college applications and the countless hours it takes to settle on the school of their choosing; However, this process is biased and discriminatory. During the application process, students have endless opportunities for financial aid whether it be scholarships, grants, or the infamous FAFSA application. All of these are supposedly accessible to all students; consequently, students of racial backgrounds are offered many more financial aid opportunities than those with white skin. In an interview with a student of a racial minority, she revealed that she has “received over $4,000 in scholarships for identifying with a racial ethnicity,” (Smith). While students should be rewarded for taking pride in their racial heritage, few scholarships are offered for students that identify as Caucasian. Smith went on further explaining that “It can be taken the wrong way in some cases, especially since [she is] adopted,” (Smith). While there are occasional strictly white scholarships, they are often closed after a short time as they are not always seen as ethically right. According to Mark Kantrowitz, “most Caucasian-restricted scholarship programs do not survive for more than a few years,” (Kantrowitz 2). White students should be rewarded for being proud of their race just as much as any other racial student is.
Another instance in the discrimination of whites in the college admission process is the presence of a racial minority percentage for admitted students. In today’s society, this is just one of many occurrences where humanity is so fearful to be discriminatory, that they only focus on those of a minority and they actually disregard the majority altogether. Colleges and universities alike have a minority percentage in their admission process. This first started after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 in efforts to increase the diversity on college campuses. While this idea had good intentions, universities in the mid-1980s found themselves struggling with this idea, since “fewer than 4,200 black high-school graduates had grade-point averages of 3.75 or better,” (Bunzel 50). Colleges were so intentional about being diversified that “‘special consideration’ [was] shown to certain ethnic minority groups, and that membership in such a minority group [could] be an important factor in whether a candidate is chosen over others who may have better academic credentials,” (Bunzel 50). While this may not still be the case 40 years later, the desire for diversification on college campuses is still present. In the 2003 court case, Grutter v. Bollinger, a Caucasian female student was denied acceptance into the University of Michigan Law School and she claimed that this was a result of their new admission process; The school admitted that its admission process favored certain minority groups in efforts to maintain diversity. The Court ruled it unconstitutional for a points-based admissions system that awarded an automatic bonus to the admissions scores of minority applicants, (Grutter v. Bollinger). This, however, is not nationwide criteria. It is still constitutional for colleges to use race when considering applicants in their admission process and is therefore discriminatory to caucasian students.
Those who do not believe in reverse racism or the belief that whites cannot be discriminated against typically result back to the age of slavery. Many will say that it is impossible to be racist against white people because of the oppression they provoked on racial minorities due to their elite social ranking. There are many claims that whites did not and still do not have to work hard to obtain success, and that this success was cultivated purely because of the color of their skin. The antithetical idea that privilege creates an immunity to the hardships in life is an aged, ignorant concept. All people, regardless of race, are not resistant to adversity. “A Lady of Reason” brings up the point that many minorities forget about white history: “Many white Americans came from impoverished immigrants who came [to America] with nothing. They faced prejudice from the people already [in America], and had to build themselves up from the ground,” (“The White Man’s Burden: White Privilege,” 2018). She further goes on to explain that they had “No handouts, no welfare, no leg up in society to achieve. However, many did through their own determination and grit, not crying victim and demanding to be accommodated . . .” and that the “‘privileges’ their descendants have were earned through honest hard work and sweat,” (“The White Man’s Burden: White Privilege,” 2018.) Today’s society must end this idea that skin color determines how successful one can be in life.
In society alone, white people are censored in their words, their actions, and their beliefs; “Being white means you can’t tell certain jokes, say certain things, do certain things, wear certain things, etc… You can only have the “right” opinions, or else you’re labeled a bigot and a racist, or even white supremacist,” (“The White Man’s Burden: White Privilege,” 2018). History has made it difficult for Caucasians to live with their race and has forced them to explain the actions of their ancestors. It has made them live with the constant shadow of racism that they have to be cautious in the way that they talk just to be sure that they are not being racist. According to a poll taken from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “More than half of white Americans say they believe discrimination against white people exists in the U.S. today,” (Gonyea). This topic is not very talked-about due to its sensitivity among citizens; however, it should be surfaced more to show the public that white privilege is not what minorities make it out to be.
By no means should white people be pitied for the challenges they face in life because of their race, as others have faced many more difficulties; however, those other races should also not disregard the troubles that whites had to face many years ago and even into today. Many have defined white privilege to be an immunity to the many hardships that come with life, and that the successes that white people receive are solely connected to their social ranking. Society is changing every day as should the definitions of words that have historical significance. Racism is the discrimination of any race regardless of social rank. Caucasian is a race and can, therefore, be a victim to prejudice. In the college admission process, racism is predominantly present through available scholarships as well as the use of a minority percentage for admitted students. White privilege should not be seen as a gift or an exemption to misfortunes, rather, it should be seen as a burden to those who fall under the title.
- A Lady of Reason. “The White Man’s Burden: White Privilege.” A Lady of Reason, 2 July 2018,aladyofreason.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/the-white-mans-burden-white-privilege/.
- Bhopal, Kalwant. “White Privilege.” Google Books, Google, 2018, books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=2v9oDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=white%2Bprivilege%2Bis%2Ba%2Bmyth&ots=m8ZIJ9dhah&sig=qZBv5vHsjv3jy4-zkTpF7CJYutA#v=onepage&q=white%20privilege%20is%20a%20myth&f=false.
- Bunzel, J.H. “Black and White at Stanford.” Public interest, no. 105, Fall 1991, pp. 61-77. EBSCOhost, www.search.ebscohost.com/login.aspz?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,custuid&custid=infohio&db=aph&AN=9201200849&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
- Bunzel, John H. “Race and College Admissions.” Public Interest, no. 122, Winter 1996, pp. 49–58. EBSCOhost, www.search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,custuid&custid=infohio&db=aph&AN=9605024252&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
- Frey, William H. “The US Will Become ‘Minority White’ in 2045, Census Projects.” Brookings, Brookings, 10 Sept. 2018,www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/14/the-us-will-become-minority-white-in-2045-census-projects/.
- Gonyea, Don. “Majority Of White Americans Say They Believe Whites Face Discrimination.” NPR, NPR, 24 Oct. 2017,www.npr.org/2017/10/24/559604836/majority-of-white-americans-think-theyre-discriminated-against.
- Kantrowitz, Mark. “The Distribution of Grants and Scholarships by Race.” Racialequitytools.org, 2 Sept. 2011, www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/Distributionracescholarships.pdf.
- Smith, Jordan. Personal Interview. 29 Jan. 2020.