White Men See White Privilege More Clearly If They Have Experienced Social Disadvantages

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February 21, 2022

White men who have experienced disadvantages in their lives, based on class, disability, religion or sexual orientation, are more likely than other white men to recognize white privilege, research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business shows.

The research, published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, defines white privilege as economic and social advantages white people experience due to their race that racial minorities do not experience.

“Racial inequity can be described in different ways – it may offer advantages for some and disadvantages for others,” said author Ashleigh Shelby Rosette, a professor of management and organizations at Fuqua. “Few people would challenge that racial minorities encounter disadvantages, especially in the workplace. But considerable debate persists when considering white privilege. Our research examines whether previous experiences of disadvantage would facilitate increased recognition of white privilege among white men in work settings.”