White people are quick to cite personal hardships instead of acknowledging that they are privileged because of their skin color, according to a new study.
Stanford University’s L. Taylor Phillips and Brian S. Lowery, writing in November’s Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, split test subjects into two groups — with one given more evidence of white privilege in American culture.
Those given more information about privilege cited greater examples of personal hardship than the control group, according to the researchers.
“Whites may claim increased hardships to maintain not only a positive sense of self, but also the material benefits associated with racial privilege. Whites’ claims of hardship might also serve to legitimize the racial advantages they enjoy, and thereby justify a system that benefits their group,” the researchers wrote.
Citing personal struggles helped test subjects acknowledge white privilege — while rationalizing that they’re not directly gaining from it, the study said.