InstitutionalRacism

White Privilege Is Real, and Now There’s Research to Prove it

This privilege is felt in nearly every sector of society. In the workforce in employers choosing to interview candidates with “white” names over those with “ethnic” ones. […] And in the justice system, white privilege means African Americans make up 57 percent of the people in state prison for drug offenses, even though blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates and whites sell drugs at higher rates.

A new study by Redzo Mujcic and Paul Frijters, two economists at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, have proved that white privilege is real.

The two researchers spearheaded an ambitious experiment to see how race and privilege play out in everyday life. The researchers tasked 29 young adult riders of white, Asian, Indian, and black descent to board buses with an empty transit card and see whether or not drivers would let them ride for free. Participants were told to say, “I do not have any money, but I need to get to the [XX] station,” with XX station being out of walking distance. After analyzing more than 1,500 social interactions, what the researchers found was astounding.

Asian and white participants were able to ride for free at nearly identical rates (72 percent), but bus drivers often declined the requests of black and Indian passengers. Fifty-one percent of free-ride requests from Indian riders were honored, while requests from black riders were twice as likely as those from whites and Asians to be turned down, with only 36 percent being able to board the bus and ride without paying.

The disparities continued even when the subjects were dressed in business suits or military uniforms, with 67 percent of black and 83 percent of Indian passengers being allowed to ride for free compared with 97 percent of whites. Interestingly, black drivers also opted to give white riders a free pass in larger numbers than black riders (83 percent versus 68 percent), further highlighting the insidiousness of systematic racism and the engrained privilege white people enjoy.

This privilege, or rather white folks’ ability to avoid painful racial macro- and microaggressions, is felt in nearly every sector of society. In the workforce it manifests in employers choosing to interview candidates with “white” names over those with “ethnic” ones. In universities it shows up in schools giving preferential treatment to the children of alumni or donors while refusing to factor in race. And in the justice system, white privilege means African Americans make up 57 percent of the people in state prison for drug offenses, even though blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates and whites sell drugs at higher rates.

White Privilege Is Real, and Now There’s Research to Prove it | TakePart.