Last night, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert hosted a powerful musical performance by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring singer Jamila Woods, and poets Nikkita Oliver and Danez Smith. The song they performed, White Privilege II, touches on many, many issues of racial justice. It also draws out and deliberately embodies some of the major problems with white privilege as it intersects with the Movement for Black Lives.
The portion of the song featured in this video specifically is commenting on the role of white allies in the movement for racial justice in America, told from the perspective of Macklemore, a white male rapper. But, with an issue this charged, just navigating this question of ‘what does it mean for white people with their white privilege to be allies to the black community?’ leaves us with more questions.
After watching the full performance, what do you think the fundamental takeaway about ‘white privilege’ should be?
Here’s one: Silence is an action, and white silence is a luxury.
When it comes to being an ally, BLM activist Brittany Packnett perhaps put it best. Her advice to allies is to help by having this mindset: “You set the vision. We’ll do the work.”