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White Privilege

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  701 ratings  ·  59 reviews

Studies of racism often focus on its devastating effects on the victims of prejudice. But no discussion of race is complete without exploring the other side—the ways in which some people or groups actually benefit, deliberately or inadvertently, from racial bias. This is the subject of Paula Rothenberg's groundbreaking anthology, White Privilege.

The new edition of White Pr

Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 9th 2011 by Worth Publishers (first published 2002)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Jan 16, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
HATED it! This book is a crock of dung! Forced to read it for an education class. What a joke. Then had to write an essay on how I have personally benifited from my skin color. This is propaganda. This is what we are filling young minds with? REALLY?!
Nov 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: nonfiction
everyone should read this book. everyone. it's a collection of writings (from bell hooks, tim wise, karen brodkin, and more) about the illusion and invisibility of whiteness, racism from a personal and systemic perspective, white privilege and fighting racism for white people. it's well organized into four parts and each essay is short and readable. it's a great book. ...more
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Going into this book I did not expect it to be that good. It was an assignment for school and when it comes to nonfiction books (as a lover of all things fiction) I can be very picky in my tastes. I was surprised, however, by the brilliance of the collected essays in here and how every single one of them was thought provoking in some way. Any person who has ever thought of racism, or even just had simple questions on the subject should give this book a chance. When it says essential, it means es ...more
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A wonderful primer on all things white privilege. Rothenberg has assembled essential writings by major authors to present a comprehensive, engaging read on race, whiteness, and social justice. Excellent and important.
lark benobi
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This volume of essays approached a difficult topic with care, introduced to me new ideas, caused me to think in new ways, and offered an extensive bibliography for me to continue learning, something I plan to do.

One sentence I read radically re-framed my understanding of white privilege, so that I could relate to the problem very concretely instead of abstractly. It wasn't even a great sentence. It simply equated whiteness with "property." With this definition as part of "whiteness," I was able
Doree Burt
I enjoyed thinking about this book more than I enjoyed reading this book. I have tried very hard to eliminate and not perpetuate the racist ideas or perceptions I was raised with. My hope has always been that each generation will do better. After reading this I think I may need to find a way to step-up my anti-racist ways, because, no matter what I do personally, I am still a part of institutional and societal racism. This saddens and disturbs me, but I know it is true.
I liked the latter chapter
Jul 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of essays regarding "the other side of racism." It doesn't focus on the disenfranchisement of black communities, but the sense of entitlement that white people everywhere daily take advantage of. This is a lesson on the passive racism of White Americans. ...more
Joel Daniel Harris
Interesting set of essays on race, status, and cultural roles. Reveals the the invisible role of whiteness in the race dialogue. Essays generally short and quite readable. Balanced and thoughtful.
Eric Ledermann
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A sobering look at the undercurrent of white privilege in the U.S. It is not something white people have earned or are often aware of, but it is there. Most of the time it lays just under the surface, but raises its ugly, but powerful head when we look at statistics of home loan approvals, home sales, rates of incarceration across races. It lurks under the surface when we hear on the news how only people of color are described by their race, but white people are described by their accomplishment ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race-relations
The book disturbs me by highlighting the ways in which white privilege is both insidious and invisible. No matter how well-meaning, I am still a part of the system. As Wildman and Davis put it, “all whites are racist in this use of the term, because we benefit from systematic white privilege. Generally whites think of racism as voluntary, intentional conduct, done be horrible others. (…) A big step would be for whites to admit that we are racist and then to consider what to do about it” (p.112). ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some great essays in this collection, and i think it can be very useful for white folks learning to see whiteness. I just wish Tim Wise wasn't included. He consistently disregards criticism by People of Color of the methods of his so-called anti-racist activism. His entire career is built on white privilege yet he does not clear the way for work done by activists of color nor does he elevate their voices. So I don't appreciate anything he has to say on the topic of white privilege sinc ...more
Probably one of the most life-changing books on culture and racism that I've ever read. I would especially recommend this to anyone that might think racism is simply a part of history. This book deeply explains how it's not dead at all, it just looks different. If you think this doesn't apply to you because you haven't been discriminated against, it does. This applies to everyone. Black, White and everything in between. ...more
May 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I had reservations about parts of this book, I found my eyes opened to Race analysis as I had never thought about it before growing up as a white middle class kid. It changed the way I look at a lot of the world around me.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These readings provided key perspectives, historical background, and data to not only deepen my understanding of racism but to also give me the confidence to move forward in my antiracist stance as a classroom teacher.

I particularly appreciate the way the book is structured to develop empathy as well as understanding.

Highly recommend.
Brad McKenna
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to read. I felt offended at times as if it was a personal attack on my accomplishments. I felt helpless at times as if there was nothing I, or anyone, could do to make the world a more fair place. But in the end, I felt glad to have read it.

Even though I had some inkling of White Privilege, I'll walk around my nearly all-white neighborhood with a new knowledge. I'll also walk around work and feel I'm doing good. I'm not the type of person to march or picket, they draw far to
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was good & short book for as introduction to the concept of white privilege. It is a collection of essays from various authors who shed light on the issue in various ways. It addresses how white people can be blind to privilege, how privilege came to be & functions in our society, how white people benefit from it & how to help combat it. The final chapter on how to be a better ally is a great way to end the book & it's principles can generally be applied to any other issue, be it sexism, ho ...more
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am using this as a reader for a freshman seminar on white privilege. Some pieces are great, some are mediocre; some are level-appropriate, some are inaccessible to teenagers. However, it provides a sound introduction to white privilege and serves as a helpful starting-off point for my course. The strongest pieces are the one by bell hooks and the one about the US' "possessive investment" in whiteness. ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall a very effective primer on white privilege. I just personally struggled to pay attention despite the short chapters; the tone of some chapters is pretty dry, but some are more engaging. I think this would be a great resource for a regular discussion group, especially as the book already includes discussion questions with every section.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was very hesitant and resistant for so much of this book, wanting to tell, "this isn't my fault" and "not my idea"
Then something clicked. It made sense. It didn't have to be my thoughts, feelings, ideas. It was just what was happening around me and my part in enjoying it without ever realizing it.
Refound this book to share it with my daughter.
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting ideas, but textbook read. Overall it was a collection of essays with too many references. It's OK for a required read. ...more
Gianna Mosser
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: critical-work
An excellent collection that takes up white supremacy across cultural, linguistic, and economic factors. For me, the pieces by Lipsitz and Mills were the most convincing.
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of essays and articles. "Membership has its privileges" by Tim Wise and "The possessive investment in whiteness" by George Lipsitz are must reads. ...more
White Privilegeessential readings on the other side of racism by Paula S. Rothenberg
This is a collection of 16 essays and articles that seeks to make whiteness visible, to analyse the nature of white privilege, and to offer suggestions for using that privilege to combat racism.
As a member of so called “minority group”, I’ve always tried not to allow myself to think about racism. What would be the point? I’ve always believed in self sufficiency and merit, and my belief has always been not to dwel
Ryan Greer
Well bummer. I just finished this book and then promptly left it behind so you won't be getting any "best of" excerpts. Nevertheless this is a great read, especially for anyone who is white and struggles to understand how privilege has and will continue to affect them throughout their lives. If we want to combat racism as a society it will take some painful acknowledgment from those of us who might prefer to just "all get along".
Some of the essays get quite academic, and I struggled through seve
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book at the library after I finished reading another book. This book is interesting. I like the format of the book and there were a lot of things that I didn't know. I was intrigued by the title to understand what this book would encapsulate. The book is broken down into parts where it evolves from early settlers to present day issues with race being a social construct to how it manipulates society. I am definitely glad I read this book and recommend it to everyone who wants to hone ...more
Hope Martin
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid collection of essays for anyone who finds they’re more easily motivated to read when there’s an anthology with clear section goals to complete. Each section’s title begins with “whiteness: the power of...” and goes on to address - invisibility, the past, privilege, and resistance. I found the questions after each section helpful with analysis as well! There’s definitely something for everyone in this collection.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this book. Those who do not understand race may not appreciate it or understand it. Those who do understand race will love it. Yet those who do not understand race are the ones who need it the most. Please read this.
I started reading this, but it seems like it's just snippets of larger writing rather than complete essays. It seems like it could be really useful in a classroom setting for getting people to think through these ideas, but it's not the best for just reading on my own. ...more
Amy Fitzgibbons
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a thought provoking book. There was some redundancy in the book/concepts that made it go on longer than needed but overall gave me some very good information and a new week of thinking about this topic
Jeremy Jetzon
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captivating! With this curated collection of essays, Rothenberg has reminded us that reading doesn’t always have to be pleasurable or informative!
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