The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

WAGE discussion to focus on racial gap

Kathlyn Hotynski

The Arrowhead Room of Davies Center will open its doors to the general public 5 p.m. Thursday to discuss the “white male privilege.” The panel discussion will be sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Equity Center and will feature three male panelists.

Senior Mary Jo Klinker, a WAGE employee, said the point of the panel will be to raise awareness of the benefits of being a white male in our society.

“Within our society there are hierarchies,” Klinker said. “Certain people are given certain privileges that they don’t have to earn. If you are a white male, you are given privileges, as we do live in a racist, patriarchal society.”

Senior Phil Kaveny, a non-traditional student and one of three male panelists speaking at the event, said the white male privilege is “like a birthright.”

Story continues below advertisement

“You don’t notice it until somebody brings it to your attention,” Kaveny said. “If you have it, it’s invisible and you kind of assume that everybody else has it.”

Senior Aaron Brewster, another panelist speaking at the discussion, said he thinks it can be difficult for people of lower status to catch up to those of higher status.

“Once you get a little bit ahead, it’s easier to stay ahead,” Brewster said. “If someone’s born with a million dollars and I’m born with nothing, their chances of staying ahead of me are much greater than if we were born in the same socioeconomic group.”

Brewster said he has witnessed firsthand the gap that exists between whites and non-whites.

“I’ve had some opportunities and some breaks that I likely would not have had if I weren’t white and male,” he said. “I’ve had a run-in or two with the law, and I could see that going completely different if I were not white.

“If you can compare people’s lives to rivers, I would say white males have the least amount of rocks in theirs. It’s so much easier if you don’t have to worry about the rocks,” he said.

Klinker said she hopes the discussion panel will help raise people’s awareness of the privileges that white males have in society.

“We just want to raise consciousness about this issue,” she said.

Brewster also said he hopes the discussion will raise awareness.

“If people are aware that it exists,” he said, “then something could maybe start to be done to change it.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
WAGE discussion to focus on racial gap