As a brand, we believe in diversity, inclusivity, and in combating injustice & inequality. When we started Panty Drop, the lack of representation & celebration of larger bodies bothered us enough to build a company to change it. We believe that now is a time to talk about racial injustice, to level up our ally-ship, and to amplify the Black voices within our community.
Our goal was to create a healthy dialogue around inequality and instead of writing to you, we decided to do it the Private Parts way and write with you. We asked our community to fill out a survey about white privilege and received responses that were raw, sad, tired, open and hopeful. Thank you to those who were brave enough to contribute to this blog post.
We asked each of the respondents to write down their race. We know that race doesn’t define us, but it’s a big part of how we’re dealt our cards. Please remember that this is a safe space and we hope this blogpost sparks conversation with yourself and others.
What is white privilege?
White Privilege noun
- inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.
The first step toward understanding inequality is to acknowledge your own privilege and to have healthy discussions with other races around privilege.
“I can teach my sons to go straight to the police if they are lost or scared” –Anonymous, White
“White privilege is when you are in equal situations and get treated differently because of the color of your skin.” – Anonymous, Black
“White privilege is often the invisible way we (white people) are given an advantage or “the benefit of the doubt” in everyday life. BIPOC people experience inequality from a society built by white people.” –Moire, White
2. Tell us a story about when you experienced white privilege?
Some people felt it all around them and some felt like it didn’t exist at all. Read below to read about real life incidents of white privilege.
“Well, I experience it every day but I’ll tell you one incident. One day after getting a speeding ticket on the way home from a beloved relative’s funeral, I pulled into a parking lot and FREAKED OUT. I sat in my car screaming profanities, flipping off the departing police car with both hands, and smashing my head and hands into my steering wheel out of anger and grief. To my surprise, the cop pulled back around and asked what was wrong. I rolled my window down and unleashed my rage at him, saying he was an unfeeling, monstrous fucking asshole. He simply shrugged and drove away. I feel like that definitely wouldn’t have been his reaction if I weren’t a white woman.” – Jenna, White
“I grew up in a little town where there were only white people. We were planning to move to the city and my dad was looking for a “good” neighborhood. My family drove around different areas to check things out. My sister and I were instructed that if we were in an area where there were not enough white people, we should mark the neighborhood as “too colorful”. The color of people’s skin in the neighborhood was a big factor for my dad’s decision. For many reasons, my dad and I no longer speak unless necessary”- Anonymous, White
“There is no white privilege. I never experienced white privilege. I always worked hard for everything I achieved, along with my parents” – Anonymous, White
“I grew up in Los Angeles where we were constantly picked on by the LAPD because of where we lived and how we dressed. The helicopter did nightly sweeps of my neighborhood. We were taught to walk home in pairs in case the police approached us.”– Monique, Latinx
“I experience white privilege on a daily basis. My coworkers are always doing things that are above their scope of practice and only get a slap on the wrist. When I did the same thing, I was written up.” – Ashley, Black
“I’m not worried when I go to the grocery store past curfew.” – Anonymous, White
“I’m always greeted in a friendly manner no matter what store I enter. I’m never greeted with suspicion.” – Emma, White
3. What advice would you give white people on how to understand and deal with white privilege?
“Educate yourself. Don’t put that responsibility on your BIPOC friends/relatives, they have enough to deal with. Learn what privilege is, what it means to have it, and how powerful it is to use it as a weapon against racism.” – Moire, White
“White people educate yourselves” – Ashley, Black
“It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. I went from applying to scholarships in high school thinking there was “reverse racism” because some were specifically for certain racial groups, to now recognizing my privilege and feeling the discomfort. Now, I am constantly looking for ways to be anti-racist and change the history of our country. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to say the wrong thing, or use the wrong hashtag. But you’ve got to try. Like Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” When I start to feel uncomfortable and try to put my own thoughts on other people, I remind myself that this isn’t about me. People facing racist oppression deserve to be angry. They deserve to grieve. They deserve to call white people out. I keep learning and changing my own thought processes. I want to help other white people by discussing what’s happening with them. Listen to Black leaders. They are the ones that need to be heard and listened to”.- Jenna, White
“People need to acknowledge that racism exists. Denial is in itself a racist act.” – Ellie, White
“Listen to stories from POC with an open mind and don’t be defensive. Make yourself an ally of the POC community. Let them know that you’re listening. In the workplace for example if they experience microaggressions, learn to pick up on it or have an agreed upon signal where you will step in and tell someone the behavior is unacceptable. It’s not the role of POC to educate you. If you want or need to know more, take initiative and research it yourself. It’s emotionally and mentally exhausting to explain these things over and over again, so understand why someone might send you a link or tell you to look it up instead of holding your hand and walking you through it. Accept that other people live differently and just because you haven’t personally experienced something doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.” – Emma, White
4. What needs to change?
“We need widespread systemic change. Greater representation at the decision making level and the freedom to point out errors and make changes. We need more authentic storytelling from POCs, not watered down by white voices. We need to create a society built with empathy of all races. We’re all people and we have struggles in common, it’s possible to relate to each other.” Emma, White
“Speak up if you see racism. Increase the training hours of police officers. Change the law to make prosecution of racist acts within the police force and any other setting.Set definitive laws on bail cost and punishment for crimes so people of all races are treated equally” – Ellie, White
“Stop thinking that the colour black is inferior.” –Anonymous, Black
“When you see something, say something. Don’t stand quiet in the face of injustice. It’s our silence that makes people think we tolerate such behavior and it needs to stop.” – Monique, Latinx