Research: People Can Learn to Recognize Their Racial Privilege

Recognizing privilege may be uncomfortable, but research shows that privilege denial can substantially hinder organizations’ DEI efforts, especially among the (overwhelmingly white and male) leaders whose support is most critical. The good news is that, with concerted effort, we can foster greater awareness of privilege in both ourselves and those around us. Specifically, research found that encouraging white men to reflect on their own experiences of disadvantage (for example, due to growing up poor, being gay, or any other marginalized identity or experience) helped them better empathize with their colleagues from underrepresented racial backgrounds, ultimately making them more likely to acknowledge their racial privilege and act as allies.

Structural racism is a reality in the American workplace. Studies have shown that all else being equal, white employees are more likely than their non-white peers to receive callbacks for job interviews, are less…

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This article was written by Anyi Ma and originally published on