White Privilege: The Idea that Equality for All Exists in a “Veil of Ignorance”

Todd Statome, Philosophy, East Mecklenburg High

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This unit topic will cover a Social Political view of inequity within our society.  The idea of “White Entitlement” and inequity is demonstrated through the “veil of ignorance”, which is a concept introduced by the philosopher John Rawls.  The unit will explore the idea that most white people live in a “veil of ignorance” and really do not understand the complexities of “White Privilege”, which means the inherent and unearned advantages that white people enjoy in society.  White privilege is all encompassing, because white people control the political, societal, and economic institutions in the United States (US).  The ideas of an egalitarian society are displayed in the Bill of Rights.  These ideas do exist in principle, but not in practice.  For the most part, history is filled with the conceptual visions of equality, where all people can coexist freely.  Our absolute moral objective is to treat people equally and to deny no one their right to Life, Liberty, or Happiness.  Yet, this utopian approach to society does not exist because the idea of freedom is corrupted by the philosophical concept of hedonism.  What I mean is that our desires to gain the greatest happiness interferes with the goal set forth in many historical documents.  There is the perception of equality, but that perspective is misrepresented by the practice of the people who control society.