privileges/racial superiority I receive from being perceived as white with diabetes:
- I receive and/or am more likely to receive better quality health care and treatment than a person of color even if we have the same insurance status, income, age, and similar medical condition
- The majority of my medical providers at the clinic are people who look like me, especially doctors (white males)
- I do not have to be concerned about my race affecting the quality of treatment I receive by my endocrinologist (such as the amount of time the doctor spends with me, the way he talks with me, what options he suggests for me, trust, if they will give me free samples, self determination, if I am considered rational, how aggressive they are or I am perceived to be, etc.). I do not have to experience racism from my health care providers.
- When I attend a diabetes support group, I can expect that most if not all the people are people of my race
- I can afford to have an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and other new technological gadgets for diabetes management because historically white families who have immigrated to the U.S. are allowed more economic opportunities than people of color, and our family has benefited from that. Part of our family immigrated from Germany, owned land (that was stolen from indigenous people), and were given more economic privileges (such as non-exclusion from certain occupations) based on their skin color like many white people are.
- I can always see an endocrinologist or other diabetes specialist that reflects my race; I have never had a doctor that wasn’t white and of another racial background
- The video game character “Captain Novolin” reflected my race as the powerful diabetic superhero.
- My race (white culture) is widely represented in popular diabetes media. This can be seen in things like magazines, books, film, websites, advertisements for diabetes supplies/services, diabetic icons, fundraisers, etc.
- When I attended diabetes camps, mostly everyone (both counselors and attendees) were white.
- Although there are books written on diabetes by people of color, all the books I own on diabetes are written by white authors.
- I do not have to think about my race at all if I don’t want to regarding diabetes. I do not have to respond to racism, it is a choice for me.
- I do not have to experience racist actions against me and my (white) community and deal with all that comes with that, on top of managing my diabetes, because we are the key perpetrators of racism. We (white people) are the key perpetrators of racism because we uphold institutionalized and systemic racism in direct and indirect ways (consciously or unconsciously). White people exclusively benefit from institutionalized racism and in turn it oppresses and marginalizes people of color. Public education, employment, policing, the prison industry, media and corporations, the government, organizations, the unequal distribution of resources, and so forth are most commonly set up through racist policy and practice to exclusively benefit white people at the expense of people of color. Racism was invented by white folks for these sorts of purposes, i.e. white supremacy.
- I nor my family have not been told that I/we have a genetic predisposition (or are biologically inferior) for diabetes based on our racial characteristics. I am told by science that I am less likely to have diabetes because I am white.
- At the clinics I use, the cleaning and maintenance staff are usually people of color while the staff that are in higher level positions are usually white.
- If I pursued becoming a diabetes educator or other diabetes professional, I would have a much higher chance in being hired based on my race.
- I can deflect personal and collective responsibility of white people for dismantling institutional and interpersonal racism by using diabetes as an excuse of ‘already having enough to deal with’
The popular lens of people who have made historical discoveries and inventions of diabetes technology (insulin, pumps, glucose meters, medication, etc.) usually reflect people of my race as the holders of knowledge, and excludes or looks down upon discoveries/insights from people of color and their contributions within the field of diabetes.
- The officially recognized name of the disease I have is derived from European language (Greek)
- When I attended a diabetes research conference at Microsoft, all or almost all of the speakers and researchers represented my race and researched from a white male perspective
- More than I can see. My white privileges and unintentional racist ways of acting are hard for me to see, because I have been given white privileges and training to be racist since I started living and was never taught about them or took the time to learn about them until recently. I am trying to uncover the things that are easy to go unnoticed/invisible to me, yet I know I am probably missing many more. This list is what I can think right now of how I benefit from being white with diabetes.
Obviously, no races are superior, however our institutions practice and teach us as if the white race is supreme. Everybody deserves basic human dignity, rights, and respect, and to not have to deal with something as destructive as racism. Yet here we are, and the disease of racism needs to be addressed and healed.
What are the costs of institutionalized racism and diabetes care? If you have experienced white/perceived white racial privilege, what are your privileges with diabetes?