Reflect: Key Groups, Connections and Discussion Questions

This page is about reflection. You’ll find a list of some of the key people and organizations relevant to this section. You’ll also find a section called intersectionality to encourage thinking about how different issues are connected, and discussion questions to encourage deeper thinking. Take some time to answer the questions, look these people up and learn more about their stories.

The content on this site is not complete: there are countless numbers of people and so many stories — from small acts of defiance to major leadership positions — that didn’t get recorded or that don’t often make it into textbooks.

This website is meant to be grown and improved upon. We’ve included some of the heroes, but if you know people we are missing, let us know so we can include their stories too.

 

Key Groups

  • Showing Up for Racial Justice
  • Challenging White Supremacy

Intersectionality

In discussing privilege, intersectionality plays a key role. We have to consider the ways in which identities overlap and how that affects the way an individual experiences marginalization.

For example, it is incorrect to assume that an African American woman’s identity as a woman is separate from her identity as an African American- both contribute to an experience that is different from white women and African American men. This is especially important to remember when considering white privilege.

Within white communities, the intersectionality of other identities—women, LGBTQ people, low-income people, people with disabilities and many others—leads to marginalization within those communities. However, these people all still benefit from white privilege, in a way that women of color, LGBTQ people of color, low-income people of color, and people of color with disabilities do not.

A good example of this is found in political representation. While women as a whole are underrepresented—holding 29% of elected offices in comparison to men’s 71%—women of color make up only 4% of those offices, whereas white women make up 25%.

This is also evident in the wage gap between men and women. While white women in the United States earn only 78 cents to a white man’s dollar, African American women earn 64 cents, American Indian and Alaskan Native women earn 59 cents and Latina women earn 54 cents. These disparities highlight how crucial it is to understand intersectionality and white privilege, especially when we’re thinking about these issues.

Discussion Questions: 
Why is white considered by American society to be the norm? Why hasn’t that changed?
What do you think it means to say that white is the “invisible race”? How does that impact your life?
Have you ever heard someone talk about being “colorblind”? What does that mean? Can you think of ways that “not seeing” color can actually be harmful?
What does it mean to have white person be an ally to you? What does it mean to be an ally to non-white people and communities? What does it look like?
What are some examples of white privilege showing up on an individual level? What about on a structural level (meaning, in institutions like schools or in government, for example)?