As parents continue to explore and discuss tough topics related to racial inequality and the fight for justice with their children, they’re bound to encounter language that stirs up a host of emotions and raises a variety of questions. For example, “white privilege” is a phrase that is more frequently cropping up in conversation these days. But the phrase is often misunderstood.

“White privilege is receiving advantages, benefits, and rights that are unearned but given to white people solely because of the color of their skin,” explains BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist in Plymouth, Minnesota. It’s a specific type of privilege, which people of color describe as the ability to be in the world without having to think about what it means to be white, she explains.

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