I have been white all my life. As a direct result of that, I have experienced a great number of privileges, many of which I am positive I’m not fully aware of. But one thing I believe I have tried to do as much as I possibly can is to check myself on my understanding of issues that anyone who is not white always faces. I have on more than one occasion advocated for others to check their own white privilege as I continue to do my best to check mine.

It has recently come to my attention that I have missed something.

And truthfully, this fact isn’t really all that surprising. I expect it, every day. A huge part of what makes white privilege the absolute monster that it is lies in the fact that many of us are purely ignorant to our own privilege. Our experiences blind us to the experiences of others on a constant daily basis. We have to work at understanding all the ways we benefit from this privelege because it is disturbingly easy to be unaware.

The issues that Dhonielle Clayton brought up earlier today, or yesterday for some of us, shocked me. And I am truly ashamed at my shock. There are no ifs ands or buts about it, there’s no hiding behind ignorance, and there certainly is no place for anyone who is white trying to defend themselves here. What she said is true. 

It’s so true that I had to go back through my review for her book and cringe at how much I missed. And rightly so. This is an issue that the world needs to be aware of and we, as people, need to make a sincere effort to understand everything we can, to look at and change the way we address these issues. This is a situation that we are regularly ignorant on, one that is ignored time and time again because we have a grossly underdeveloped understanding of black culture.

And to make matters worse, the level of diversity in reviewers is deplorable in its inequality. The fact that so many professional critics are white is not just unfortunate, it is unacceptable. The ratio should not be this disproportionate in 2018. I will admit, I personally believe that I do not know enough to ever fully understand everything that lies within this discussion. But I do know that I will try everything I can to be as informed as possible on matters such as these.

I would like everyone else to do the same.

So take some time out of your day to educate yourselves on these matters if you do not fully understand them. And by that, I do mean all of us. Don’t assume you understand, go out and make sure you read everything so that you know you did everything you could to be informed. Start with Dhonielle Clayton’s words. Continue. And don’t ever stop. This is important.

I can’t stress it enough. This. Is. Important.

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2 thoughts on “We Need to Talk About…White Privilege and Disproportions in YA Reviews [and Everywhere Else]

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