What is white privilege?
“White Privelege is simple, it’s the benefits, the perks, it’s the rewards you receive simply because you have white skin.”
That’s Eddie Moore, founder and Director of the White Privilege Conference. He says it was in Iowa, where he got his PhD in educational leadership, that he envisioned a conference to discuss social privilege around racial identity—although the Conference has a wider scope.
“At the White Privilege Conference we look at the concept of privilege comprehensively—it’s not just white privilege, it’s also male privilege, it’s also ability privilege, it’s also religious privilege. So we cover the issue of privilege comprehensively. We believe everybody has privilege, it just manifests itself in different ways.”
The name, however, can lead to interesting misunderstandings. At more than one of the 19 conferences, White Supremacist groups have shown up expecting a conference to suit their agenda.
“But when they usually see my picture associated with it, they realize it’s not rallying white supremacists.”
Dr. Eddie Moore is a six-foot black man with a shaved head and a build that attests to his days as a college athlete.
“It’s really an atmosphere committed to truly creating the kind of society we want to live in—that we want our kids to live in. But we believe that you can’t just do that by understanding diversity, that you also have to understand systems, organizations and institutions. And that’s truly what we’re committed to understanding.
And, if you’re wondering whether this is a relevant conversation in West Michigan today, consider this. Moore says that as he was settling in his staff and volunteers at the Amway Grand earlier this week, someone called security on a suspicious man wandering the conference rooms. That man was Moore himself--director and founder of the White Privilege Conference.