Tag Archive | White Male Privilege

The Whiteness Spectrum – Explained

***This blog is meant to educate, not offend.
If you you feel some kind of way, Remember, Hit Dogs Holler.***

During a conversation with one of my clients (who is African American), she was lamenting on the phenomenon of White people speaking to us (African American People) like we are idiots. Sometimes it’s overt other times subtle, but it happens all the damn time.  As I worked on trying to prevent her from punching this lady in the face, I offered her my theory on The Whiteness Spectrum.

“She’s a low functioning White Woman, you have to cut her some slack.”

As with any Spectrum, you have to make concessions at times for those who are lower functioning.  You can’t really be mad at them, because they often don’t know any better.  I present, to those of you who haven’t closed out the blog yet, The Whiteness Spectrum – Explained.


If life was a point system, White people start out about 100 points ahead. From birth. Based purely on the fact that they were born White. The point system might look something like this:

White: +100
Black: 0
Light skinned Black: +25
Born Racially Ambiguous: +40
Hispanic (in the US): +25
Caucasian Featured Hispanic (in the US): +50
Asian (in the US): +75

There are – of course – factors that can add to/subtract from, your overall point total.

Poverty (while White): -50
Poverty (while Person of Color): -100
White Male Privilege: +100
White Female Fragility: +150
Born Black Male: -50
Born Black Woman: -75
White LGBT: -25
LGBT Person of Color: -50
Born in to Wealth: +100
Physically Disabled: -50
Form of Mental Illness (while White): -10
Form of Mental Illness (while POC): -25
Developmental Disability (while White): -25
Developmental Disability (while POC): -50
Good Credit: +50
Bad Credit: -50
Single Parent Household: -25
Higher Education (while White): +100
Higher Education (while POC): +50
Higher Education (while Black): +35
Lives 200% above the the poverty line (while White): +75
Live 200% above the poverty line (while POC): +50
Exposure to other cultures (while White): +25
Exposure to other cultures (while POC): +50
Drug Addiction (while White): -25
Drug addiction (while POC): -75
Childhood Trauma (while White): – 50
Childhood Trauma (while POC): – 150

The math is important, because it will help you to understand this next part.  The lower your score, the higher you rate on The Whiteness Spectrum.  I’ve envisioned this spectrum ranging from Low to High Functioning, using the following explanations.

*This isn’t an exact Science, obviously.*


kate

Low Functioning:

Those people who have never had to work for anything. It’s simply been handed to them their whole lives. Born White, the term average is based on their life experience.  They are the litmus test for all national polls, survey’s, studies, etc. Life has been good to them for the most part.  The things that happen to some people, those events in life that build internal strength and fortitude, they passed these people right on by. They know nothing more than their own world. They have no real concept of need, barely ever want for anything. They’ve never went without life’s basic necessities.

These can also be people that use their Privilege as a weapon to attack others. The Racists, the Homophobes, the Xenophobes, the White Nationalists, etc. The people who cut in line or constantly scream, “But I was Told By Apple Care!!!” Those who refuse to see their status quo change.

They’ve never had to “do the work.”  They’ve never had to look at their child and explain why dinner is just Kraft Mac & Cheese.  They’ve never had to struggle in front of a classroom because they couldn’t read.  They’ve never had to step outside themselves and sacrifice for their younger siblings to have clothing/shoes. They are easily frustrated/annoyed when having to deal with something outside their scope of life experience.

3308895_orig

Mild to Moderate Functioning:

Those people who have stumbled in their life. Maybe labeled ADHD, or raised by a single parent after a divorce.  Maybe they were chubby/fat as a youth, or had a crush on someone who rejected them.  They’ve felt hurt/pain/disappointment on more than a few occasions.  Maybe they went to public school, and happened to make friends with a Person of Color. Maybe they saw Mississippi Burning in middle school, and thought to themselves, “Well, that’s fucked up!”

They’ve signed some petitions about Global Warming, they might even vote Democrat. They have a Black Friend. They still remember that one time in high school when everyone walked out because the new AP grading system wasn’t fair.  They have thoughts about how to change the world, but they usually keep them to themselves.

Stirring the pot isn’t really their style, but they will march if everyone else is going too. They converse with like minded friends/colleagues about the current state of the world, but they aren’t quite affected {yet}.

1010-shailene-woodley-mug-3

High Functioning:

Raised in the worst neighborhoods, or even in the Foster Care System. Affected by abuse in it’s many forms, either done to them or seen as a child that was done to a parent. Bullied as a child, or even as an adult. Fought poverty to make something of themselves, had a mentor/coach/teacher who believed in them when no one else did. Maybe had a parent or parents who insisted they be involved in the Model UN.  Went to college on some kind of financial aid or scholarship, and fought to keep it.

Took classes that no one else was taking, joined clubs just to learn about new cultures.  Joined a Black Greek Letter Organization, and not just because they liked the “dancing.” Attends every march, and not just to spectate. Knew about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests BEFORE it was being covered on the news.  Unfriends people on Facebook for saying/posting/liking stupid, ignorant, racist shit. Fights with family members who voted for 45.

They put in the work.  They see injustice, and decide to use their Privilege in a positive way to help others.  Understands they even have Privilege in the first place. Asks the hard questions, and wants to have the hard conversations for the sake of understanding.  Helps others in their job or in their spare time, sometimes both. Strives to make the world a better place for everyone, not just them.


As stated, this isn’t an exact science.  It’s not based on anything but my observations throughout my life. This is how I am trying to figure out how to deal with my daily life experiences. I welcome feedback 🙂

Based on the point system, where do you range? Is it accurate?