Andrew Parker

25 Everyday Phrases Unintentionally Reflecting White Privilege

We all say things every day without really thinking about them, and we usually think they’re pretty harmless. But sometimes, they’re showing signs of white privilege that we didn’t even know existed. Today, we’re looking at 25 of these phrases. We’re not trying to make anyone feel bad or point fingers, we’re just looking at how these phrases can sometimes come across.

I Don’t See Color

Editorial credit: Kues / Shutterstock.

When someone says, “I don’t see color,” they usually mean well because they’re trying to treat everyone the same. But the thing is, saying this could mean you’re ignoring people’s unique experiences and challenges they could face because of their color. It’s like you’re pretending race isn’t important when, in reality, it plays a huge part in how people live their lives.

I’m Colorblind

Editorial credit: Maria Vonotna / Shutterstock.

Similarly, people often say, “I’m colorblind,” to show they’re treating everyone equally, although that’s not how it comes across. This phrase can dismiss the challenges that people of certain races face because of their skin color. Instead, try to understand these experiences so everyone feels seen and supported. Diversity is a strength and not something to ignore.

All Lives Matter

Editorial credit: Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock.

Some people think they’re being fair by saying “All Lives Matter” in response to “Black Lives Matter,” but they could be downplaying the specific struggles that Black people face. Just imagine how frustrated you might feel if someone said, “All pets matter,” when you’re worried about your sick puppy. Of course, all pets matter, but right now, it’s the puppy that needs the attention. 

It’s Just a Joke

Editorial credit: Bee Bonnet / Shutterstock.

If someone makes a pretty nasty joke, you’ll probably hear them say, “It’s just a joke” as a defense. Even if it’s all in good fun, jokes can hurt, especially if they poke fun at someone’s race or background. Being careful with how and what we make our jokes about will mean that everyone’s in on the laugh instead.

I Worked Hard for Everything I Have

Editorial credit: Khosro / Shutterstock.

“I worked hard for everything I have” is an absolute classic. Nobody’s saying you didn’t work hard, but saying this can overlook the head start that some people might get because of their race. Science shows that white people often, but not always, have better access to good schools or neighborhoods, and it’s important to recognize this.

This Neighborhood Has Really Gone Downhill

Editorial credit: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.

Some people will say, “This neighborhood has really gone downhill” after people of color move in, and it sounds like they’re blaming the new residents for how the area has changed. But honestly? Neighborhoods change for a bunch of reasons, like the economy or local policies, and it’s not just because of who lives there.

I’m Not Privileged, I Grew Up Poor

Editorial credit: Damir Khabirov / Shutterstock.

Here’s a tricky one. “I’m not privileged. I grew up poor.” This is a phrase that people use when they’re trying to show that since they had economic problems, they can’t have any privileges because of their race. But white privilege isn’t always about money because it can also involve getting treated better by cops or clerks than those who aren’t white.

You Speak So Well

Editorial credit: Luis Molinero / Shutterstock.

In theory, telling a person of color, “You speak so well,” should be a compliment, but for some people, it’s more of an insult. They might think you sound surprised that someone of a different race speaks so clearly or correctly, and that’s pretty demeaning. Perhaps try complimenting what they said instead of how they said it.

He/She’s So Articulate

Editorial credit: Kues / Shutterstock.

Similarly, telling a person of color that they’re “so articulate” can have the same effect of being surprised that they speak well. It’s an old stereotype that people from certain backgrounds don’t speak well, and you don’t want to be someone who encourages this idea. At the end of the day, words matter.

Where Are You Really From?

Editorial credit: Cast Of Thousands / Shutterstock.

Asking someone, “Where are you really from?” because you think they look a little different can make them feel like they don’t belong. And it’s particularly bad when it turns out that they were born just a few towns over from you. This phrase can be alienating and make someone’s appearance the main part of their identity, which is never nice.

I Have Black Friends

Editorial credit: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.

Lots of people use “I have Black friends” to show they’re not racially biased, but this just reduces their friendship to a defense strategy. Are they friends with these people, or are they just a token? Forget about proving things because we should value people for who they are, not their race.

There’s Only One Race, the Human Race

Editorial credit: nakaridore / Shutterstock.

While “There’s only one race, the human race” sounds pretty inclusive, it can ignore the real and important differences in how some colored people are treated because of their race. We should celebrate diversity and recognize inequalities at the same time. This way, we can support each other much better.

Let’s Not Focus On Race

Editorial credit: Andrii Iemelianenko / Shutterstock.

You might think you’re doing people a favor by saying, “Let’s not focus on race,” but it’s not doing what you think. This phrase can silence important conversations about discrimination and inequality. Do you want to do that? Talking about race doesn’t have to mean you’re causing conflict as long as you do it the right way.

Everyone Can Succeed If They Work Hard Enough

Editorial credit: pathdoc / Shutterstock.

Like some of the other phrases on this list, “Everyone can succeed if they work hard enough” completely ignores the barriers that some people might deal with because of their race. After all, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put in when some hurdles make it pretty much useless. We’ve got to recognize these obstacles and create a fairer playing field.

Why Is There No White History Month?

Editorial credit: Cookie Studio / Shutterstock.

Asking, “Why is there no White History Month?” might mean you didn’t pay enough attention in school. A lot of the history we teach focuses on European or white American achievements, meaning that other histories get less airtime. So, things like Black History Month are meant to balance the story.

It Doesn’t Happen Here

Editorial credit: Reezky Pradata / Shutterstock.

Racism isn’t something that only happens in some places, so there’s no point in denying it exists with “It doesn’t happen here.” After all, that’s not going to magically solve these issues. We need to acknowledge that there’s always room for improvement, and we can make our communities better by doing this.

That’s Just How I Was Raised

Editorial credit: Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock.

Sometimes, people use “That’s just how I was raised” to avoid any accountability for saying something that wasn’t exactly right. But as we grow up, we all learn that some of the things we were taught might not fly today. Real maturity comes from learning how to be considerate of other people and becoming a better person.

Why Do They Have to Make Everything About Race?

Editorial credit: Light-Studio / Shutterstock.

It can be frustrating hearing about racial issues every day, but you know what feels worse? Having to live with them, which is why saying, “Why do they have to make everything about race?” isn’t exactly the best thing. People aren’t always trying to make every conversation a race one, but they’re trying to let everyone understand what they’re going through.

You’re Being Too Sensitive

Editorial credit: RealPeopleStudio / Shutterstock.

When someone makes a racist joke or comment, saying “You’re being too sensitive” to their critics is pretty dismissive. You’re essentially telling them that their feelings don’t matter or they’re unimportant. You should try listening to why someone might be hurt because everyone’s feelings should be respected and understood.

Can’t We Just Move Past This?

Editorial credit: Netpixi / Shutterstock.

“Can’t we just move past this?” is one of those phrases that people use during discussions about race that isn’t meant to be offensive. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be. Not talking about issues means you can’t make any progress in solving these issues and avoiding the hard conversations won’t help anyone grow.

This Is a Safe Area

Editorial credit: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.

Describing a place as being a “safe area” can sometimes have some unwelcome racial undertones to it because you might be suggesting that people of a certain color make a neighborhood dangerous. A community’s only safe when everyone feels included and protected. And how do we build this kind of community? By understanding and respecting all sides.

I’m Just Playing the Devil’s Advocate

Editorial credit: Pheelings media / Shutterstock.

Sometimes, people say they’re “just playing the Devil’s advocate” in conversations about race. While they think they’re challenging the status quo, they’re just derailing serious discussions. Instead, try going into them with the goal of understanding and solving, not just debating.

It’s a Free Country

Editorial credit: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.

Other people will use “it’s a free country” to defend something they’ve said that wasn’t exactly kind. And while that’s true, that doesn’t mean we should use our words to knock other people down. Thinking about the impact of our words makes our community a much better and more respectful place.

They’re Taking Over

Editorial Credit: Sabrina Bracher / Shutterstock.

When people say, “They’re taking over” because more diverse faces are showing up, it can come across pretty badly. Instead of seeing it as a bad thing, look at the positive side. More diversity means more ideas and better solutions for everyone, which is always a good thing. Let’s celebrate new perspectives instead of hating them.

We All Bleed the Same

Editorial credit: / Shutterstock.

Technically, “We all bleed the same” is true, but this phrase ignores how every person’s experience is different, especially when it comes to race. Let’s try to create a community that understands this and appreciates everyone’s background while recognizing the things that join us. That’s the human way to be.

19 Grim Realities of Dating After 50 That Are Often Overlooked

Editorial credit: fizkes / Shutterstock.

19 Grim Realities of Dating After 50 That Are Often Overlooked

26 Things That Will Be Extinct Because Millennials Refuse to Buy Them

Image Credit: Andriy Solovyov/ Shutterstock.

26 Things That Will Be Extinct Because Millennials Refuse to Buy Them

24 Outdated Slang Terms You Absolutely Shouldn’t Be Using Anymore

Image Credit: oneinchpunch/Shutterstock.

24 Outdated Slang Terms You Absolutely Shouldn’t Be Using Anymore

25 Hardest Parts About Getting Older That No One Ever Talks About

Image Credit:Ruslan Huzau/ Shutterstock.

25 Hardest Parts About Getting Older That No One Ever Talks About

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!