Black Man/ White Privilege

As an African American male I have yet to see a privilege in a professional environment, but I may just be blind to them, because I’m use to being on the other end of the spectrum. Honestly, I have always been aware of white privilege, because both of my parents are professionals and speak about it a lot. My father chose to retire early, because he was called a derogatory name at work, which turned into a small issue that was aired on 9news. Even though it happened a while ago, and I’m sure the culture of America has change I am well aware of my identity. I think the history of minorities in the country is what enables white privilege to stay alive.

At my internship I think the concept of white privilege is present, but most of the people there recognize it and its effects on minority. Since I work with a lot of AmeriCorps members, and professionals that work in the inner city I think that they are aware of the social injustices that take place in America. I believe this is they  interact with people who work in inner city schools, and at-risk communities, so they are exposed to different perspectives, and get to see situations that most people aren’t aware. In my opinion racism lingers, because these privileges aren’t recognize, so people interpret minority cultures in stereotypical ways. I think this happens to me in both ways. Since I’m African American I think people automatically assume I grew up in low socioeconomic environment. I guess it’s because there is a stereotype that states all African American are poor. Or they assume I grew up in affluent neighborhood, and I guess that because I’m educated, and usually that correlates to the perception that I’m not involved in African American culture.

At my internship I’m not sure how I’m viewed, but they are exposed to a lot of African Americans and Latinos. As far as being a male, I don’t think there is a privilege in the school arena of my internship nor the non-profit sector. I think I just stand out, because there aren’t a lot of men (there are just two of us), or African-Americans (there is 4). My age doesn’t provide a privilege, but it does allow me to connect with the kids easier than my supervisor, and her partner. That’s simply because I’m closer in age, and I somehow I can relate to some of their experiences in the school. However, there is still a cultural barrier.  However, being the only young African American male present I may gain the privilege of being viewed “unique” which could provide privileges that allow me to get a job.

I separate my personal identity from my professional, because in my personal life I’m extremely Afro-centric. Being an avid fan of hip-hop, I think it is perceived that I’m a thug or I may just think that how I’m perceived. Honestly, I just love the music, and culture that I grew up with.  In the professional world I crave to have someone of the same color, culture, or similar worldview, because I do feel isolated. Also, I would never wear personal clothing to a job, even if it was casual Friday because I don’t think it would be received well. Overall, I hope to eventually break down the notion of white privilege.

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