Understanding white Privilege: Perspectives from South Africa’s Western Cape Province
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It has been 25 years since the demise of apartheid and yet white dominance still persists. With many significant changes visible as a result of the fall of apartheid, the country sadly remains racially divided. The black majority still lives in poverty while the white minority continue to hold their position of privilege and power. And while black people are trying to change the status quo, most white people are ignoring their role in the past while continuing to perpetuate their White Privilege as the gap between black and white widens. Not addressing the issues of the past, maintains the unearned privileges white people have, while the black community grows even more frustrated as the year’s pass. With this in mind, this study explored a sample of “ordinary people” in the Western Cape Province, South Africa, and their experience and knowledge of the phenomenon known as “White Privilege”. The goal was to develop a conceptual framework for understanding the specifics on how White Privilege functions and operates within the Western Cape and its impact on those who are excluded from perks related to White Privilege. This study confirmed the existence of White Privilege in the Western Cape. The impact of White Privilege on people of colour, and society at large, is where a small group of the research participants had different views. Some linked White Privilege directly to the continued oppression of people of colour, and the unfair position of privilege that white people occupy in society. Others viewed this Privilege as an unintended occurrence, which they should not be held accountable for. The critical point that all participants agreed on was that White Privilege in the Western Cape is a problem, and something that needs attention A.S.A.P.