Racialised Constructions of the White, Working-Class: Acts of White, Middle-Class Supremacy

As ‘class’ and particularly the ‘White, working-class’ are being weaponised by those who promote ideological middle-class Whiteness to undermine and resist the furtherance of racial justice, it is important that we have a sense of the history that sits behind their efforts. Let us not be fooled into believing that their façade of championing the White, working-class in their efforts to discredit the reality of White privilege is anything other than their defence of their own privileges. In truth, as throughout history, the intersectionally privileged White, middle-class men and the purveyors of their ideologies have only ever used the White, working-class to suit their own ambitions and ends.

The Facts of White privilege

Amidst the current political attacks on White Privilege in the UK it is important that we have an accurate and informed understanding of what White Privilege really is. White Privilege is NOT about telling children, or adults, that they are different because of their race. It is about educating people that our society is iniquitous and is set up to favour people who are racialised as White.

The Workings of ‘Privilege’

Privilege is a term that is increasingly heard in the narratives of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion world, whether these be narratives that seek to ‘undo’ some form of privilege or discourses that seek to undermine the reality of its existence. However, there is little discussion about how ‘privilege’ as a phenomenon works. To me, this is a significant absence for if we are to ‘undo’ privilege, then surely, we must understand how it works?

Managing Privileged Identity Defensiveness.

It seems that, no matter where we look, there are those with privilege who rail against accepting its existence and their role in perpetuating inequity simply by being privileged. Consequently, one of the hurdles we face in disrupting and undoing privilege is the responses of privileged people to discussions about it. So, how do we manage these responses?

The Complexities of Intersectional Privilege/Oppression

Privilege is complex. It is not only related to economic and material wealth. It’s psychological and emotional too. For example, that no White person experiences systemic racism means that we are all psychologically and emotionally privileged in comparison to People of Colour. Even more complex, though, is the reality of intersectional privilege.