White Privilege Explained.

Every day thousands of people attend government clinics and hospitals.

As soon as you get there, you are told: “Go to admissions window!” At the admissions window you’re asked for your name and then you’re told to sit and wait until your name is called. So off you go to sit amongst other sick people of all races and children crying or running around and people coughing all types of germs in the air.

You wait! There is no indication as to how long you will have to wait for but if you want to be seen best you learn patience.

Time has never moved so slowly and you become impatient because after 2 hours, your name still hasn’t been called. So off you go to the window and a little impatiently you ask why you are still sitting there and the reply is from a bland faced government employee, (I swear they learn that expression in their training) who tells you to sit down and wait for your name to be called.

A while later your name is called and you’re given your folder and told to wait outside Room 5 let’s say. You breathe a sigh of relief because you’ve progressed a little and you’re one step closer to seeing the doctor, getting medication and finally going home.

Outside Room 5 you see that the benches are full of people and the elation you felt moments ago starts waning.

More waiting!

But hold on, this queue seems to move a bit faster. (Perhaps you will get home before 2 pm after all).

Just the word “next” being shouted by someone inside Room 5 makes you feel better. Then it’s your turn and you rush in, smiling, only to be met by a nurse who barely greets and tells you to sit on the chair and takes your folder.

She asks what’s wrong and you go into detail about your illness and with her head still bent, scribbles in your folder.
Your blood pressure is taken along with your temperature and when she is done with you, you’re told: “First floor to your right, hand in your folder at the window.”

You get out there and rush to the first floor and you’re dismayed to discover more benches and more people. You sit down after handing in your folder and wait!

All this waiting has made you a bit cranky and the hard bench you’ve been sitting on for the past hour isn’t helping your mood.

A doctor keeps coming out, looks at the folder in his hand and calls out the name of the next patient.

Often they can’t pronounce black people’s names and surnames and “butcher” it to such an extent that even black people don’t know who they called.

Names get called out 3 times and if you’re not there (you could be in the toilet), you forfeit your turn. So though you want to use the toilet, you’d rather wait.

Here in this waiting room you find people of all races with one thing in common and that is to see the doctor. There’s the moms who are feeding their babies, the elderly who look frail and tired, the men in their overall’s looking ready for work, the one’s coughing who sound as if they’re carrying a disease that will kill you, some people have even fallen asleep because they’ve been there since dawn and there’s you of course.

You who think you’re different but you’re beginning to realize you’re just a number in a system that doesn’t yield or bend to your will.

Some person jumps up, grumbles, complains they were there since 6am and their body language is aggressive. They’re told by the security [who seem to magically appear], to sit down and behave or they’ll be escorted out.

They reluctantly and impatiently sit down.

Another hour goes by and suddenly the doctor stops calling names, locks his door and leaves.

Hold on!

Where is he going?

It’s teatime you’re told and the doctor will be back in 30 minutes.

You want to scream, to throw a tantrum that can rival a 2 year olds tantrum but your manners prevent you from doing so.

So you purse your lips in disapproval and sigh and the disgruntled look on your face reveals your unhappiness. But you realize if you wish to be seen by a doctor that you have no choice but to sit down.

Sit down and wait.

A while later the doctor returns, grabs a few more folders and calls out a name.
Wait! It’s your name being called.

You jump up, raising your hand in the air as if you’re at school and loudly say:” I’m here!”

You rush off into his room and sit, ready to spend the next 30 minutes explaining to the doctor that you’re sick and hoping he can reassure you that the pains you are experiencing is not terminal.

You explain your symptoms, he asks a few questions and scribbles in your folder, hands it back to you, saying: “Get the tablets at the pharmacy!”

Hang on a minute!

No examination!

No long explanations?

As you’re about to protest your dissatisfaction, he ushers you out of the room and calls on the next patient.

Argh!!!! You never got to tell him everything but the next patient is in there already so not much you can do now.

So off you trot to the pharmacy, hand in your folder and wait.

A sign on the window reads:” waiting time 40 minutes!”


40 minutes!!! When will this end?

Deep down inside you know that you have no choice but to wait and so you do.

Finally, after what seems like hours, your name gets called and you’re given your medication. You can now walk through the exit door hoping that you never become sick again.

Now ask yourself this:

Would it have made a difference if you’d shouted at the doctor?

No amount of sarcasm, rudeness, impatience or physical threats will make the hospital administrator or nurse or doctor bend the rules for you.

Your efforts to change the system is futile as is the desire of the doctor who may want to spend 30 minutes with each patient but his hands are bound by a system that he too is tied to. The doctor needs to see an X amount of patients per day and therefore your time with him is limited.

The health care system doesn’t care what race you are, how tall you are, if you’re slim or overweight etc. All it cares about is the name on the folder. In fact the doctor doesn’t remember you once you leave his rooms.

The hospital administrator, the doctors, the chief surgeon, the nurses and the patients, including you, all belong to the system and it’s a system that can’t and doesn’t change unless you change the way the system is run by approaching those people much higher up like the Minister of Health, Parliament etc.

Now the steps of the system described above can and is interrupted at any moment should ambulances arrive with patients needing emergency surgery? Let’s say as an example a building collapsed on 5 people.

Suddenly all who have been waiting to see the doctor are told that the doctor will be in the emergency rooms, assisting other doctor’s with these emergencies.

The TRIAGE system [the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.] then kicks in.

Our TRIAGE system has 4 colours:

RED at the top, ORANGE is next, followed by YELLOW and right at the bottom is GREEN.

When we say you have white privilege within the global system of racism, it means you will always, in every situation, much like the emergency patient, be labeled Code RED i.e. treated favourably and always first.

So preferential treatment will always be afforded to you based on the colour of your skin and this would seem “normal” to you because you are automatically an “emergency patient.”

Your preferential treatment is based on how the system was designed across the world.

No amount of people of colour shouting, screaming, fighting or hating at an individual white person will change the system hence we often say: “Check your privilege!” UNDERSTAND that you were born into it!

Privilege was not earned.
Again you don’t have to be wealthy to have this privilege, it’s there for you and it assists you first.

The difference is your awareness of racism as a system.

Does this absolve right wing racists, white supremacists, neo nazis etc of individual or collective acts of murder, rape, theft, oppression, subjugation or racial violence and the denial of all people’s basic humanity?

Or are they leveraging off a system to better advantage themselves and their “race” to the detriment of other’s?

Where is the humanity in the system?

This is what CRITICAL RACE THEORY is about.

It understands that the system is designed to favour white people and white people only.

This is why RACISM is MORE than just the K and the N word!