Exploring White Privilege  book cover
1st Edition

Exploring White Privilege

ISBN 9781138213081
Published November 17, 2016 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

Exploring white privilege is an enterprise few of us who identify as white have attempted. White privilege is a foreign territory to us, although an unpleasantly familiar territory to people of color. At first the exploration can seem threatening, frightening and uncomfortable because, like any exploration, it can shatter the way we look at the world and how we understand ourselves. This book is, in part, a personal exploration of the author’s white privilege and how he sought to transcend it. It is also a sociological analysis of white privilege, drawing upon key social science literature. The book is an invaluable tool for personal and group explorations of racial privilege as well as other forms of privilege, including gender.

Exploring White Privilege offers an analysis of white privilege as well as numerous examples of systemic white privilege in the U.S. Amico explains the cognitive and emotive factors that play a role in making it difficult for most white Americans to understand, learn and accept the sociological facts about systemic racism. While white privilege is generally understood as a system that benefits white people, Amico investigates the psychological, social and spiritual costs of white privilege to white people. And with a deeper understanding of how white privilege affects us all, questions of moral responsibility and accountability are investigated through personal anecdotes.  The author offers a moral argument that is a call to action within our individual spheres of influence. The benefits of such a commitment to action are then explored and compared to the costs of inaction. Exploring white privilege can lead to social change. Amico offers a variety of tools for the reader interested in such explorations of their white privilege.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Joe R. Feagin


Chapter One: What is White Privilege?

Chapter Two: Why Is It So Difficult for Us Whites to Understand/Accept Our White


Chapter Three: The Costs of White Privilege To Whites

Chapter Four: Responsibility, Action, Accountability and Benefits

Chapter Five: Conclusion

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Robert P. Amico is Professor of Philosophy at St. Bonaventure University. He serves as chair of the university’s Diversity Action Committee and the Council on Discrimination and Harassment. He serves as an editor for Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, the official journal of the White Privilege Conference. Since 2000, Amico has facilitated numerous antiracist workshops and seminars for student teachers, faculty and staff in the five-college area as well as at the White Privilege Conference and other universities. Amico is the author of Anti-racist Teaching and The Problem of the Criterion—a Choice Award winner in 1995.


I spent fifty years oblivious to my privilege and I would like to do my part to shorten that time interval for other white people on this journey. -- Author, from Chapter 4

This is not a book about a white person just trying to talk insightfully about matters of racism, but one that describes specific actions to bring about significant changes in that racism, both at a personal and an institutional level.... This is a very timely book that is highly appropriate for white Americans to both read and heed. -- Joe R. Feagin, from the Foreword

Passionate, personal and engaging, Robert Amico walks through the realities of white privilege in a such a way that readers cannot turn away and try to avoid its realities. Grounded in research but touched with personal stories, Exploring White Privilege belongs in the hands of white social justice activists searching to understand not only their personal privilege, but also how to use it for action and equity. -- Eddie Moore Jr., Founder and Program Director of the White Privilege Conference

If you are wondering what to do with the newfound understanding that you have white privilege, Bob Amico is your perfect companion. He will answer questions from "Where did it come from?" to "What can I do with it?" with personable sensitivity and without preachiness. His book carries you further in your own journey of exploration than you may have thought possible. -- Peggy McIntosh, author of "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"