White Privilege/Fragility

White privilege is the privilege that benefits those who society identifies as white, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. According to Peggy McIntosh, an activist and writer, whites in Western societies enjoy advantages that non-whites do not experience, as "an invisible package of unearned assets". Having and recognizing your white privilege is not racist and does not mean that you have not “earned” your success or struggled in your life. It is about acknowledging the inherent advantage of having white skin in America – an advantage that many others do not have. A therapist that specializes in white privilege can help you think about how you can create a more meaningful and purpose filled life. They can help you come up with ways to be a good ally and part of the solution – rather than the problem. They can help uncover fears that are holding you back. They can help you prepare for tough conversations that you want to have with your family, friends or colleagues about diversity, inclusion or racial justice. If you want to explore the idea of white privilege in a safe and supportive environment, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s experts today.

Meet the specialists

I welcome white people to my practice who are working on their own racism and want to learn to be sturdier allies to people of color.

— Carolyn Moore, Counselor in San Francisco, CA

Dismantling internalized white supremacy is work I have done personally, through supervising other clinicians and with clients. If you are invested in this work and/or are being called to it by a person of color in your life, I can help you build insight and change behavior through a strong but compassionate approach. This is a lifelong process. I would never expect perfection from you or myself.

— Sarah Blaszczak, in Portland, OR

I am honored to support other white people in waking up to our cultural conditioning of privilege and power. Operating all the time (in social environments, work settings, inter-racial relationships, etc) white privilege is something we have learned well as white people and can un-learn through compassion, guidance and support.

— Jacquelyn Richards, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

A lot of white people, including myself, are beginning to come to terms with how our privilege has played out in our lives at the expense of people of color. And we're coming to terms with a history of violent oppression that is the legacy of whiteness. This is undeniably painful and can really mess with one's identity as "a good person". If you're going to engage in the hard work of unpacking this history and taking responsibility for dismantling racism, you're likely going to need support. It's natural to feel shame, to feel defensive, to want to disengage and go back to pretending racism isn't that bad. But we have to do better. Talking about it in therapy can help you stay engaged and have a space to be messy in the process.

— Lily Sloane, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

We internalize systems of domination in our bodies and psyches, recreating them towards ourselves and one another. Silence and denial are integral to the perpetuation of racial inequity and domination. Tolerating discomfort to tease apart the harm caused by racial injustice builds capacity to make mistakes and remain engaged. In exploring how whiteness shapes and informs our lives and relationships, examining subconscious beliefs, practice moving away from complicity in our role within systems.

— Jessamyn Wesley, Licensed Professional Counselor in portland, OR

After working as a volunteer facilitator of anti-bias consultation and training programs in nonprofit, corporate, school, and community settings, I went to graduate school to study the psychological impact of oppression and racial identity development. While in school, I ran a weekly group for anti-racist white students, to explore white identity, intersectionality, and privilege. I am passionate about supporting folks of all races/ethnicities in intersectional social justice work.

— Shannon Budelman, Counselor in Seattle, WA