Press Room

Why is Societal Privilege Such a Flashpoint in Race Relations?

May 7, 2014
Experts Available
Race/Class/Gender, Social Justice


Washington, DC  -  Time magazine’s online publication of a Princeton freshman’s article explaining why he’ll never apologize for his white male privilege, and the subsequent response by a classmate, are adding to the national conversation about race relations.

Professors who study race, identity, and interethnic communication can provide insight into the following:

  • What is, and isn’t, privilege?
  • How does privilege bestowed upon a group by society create advantages for the individuals who are perceived as members of that group?
  • Why can privilege be difficult to recognize?
  • What are the keys to productive discourse on privilege?
  • Is there a difference in the ways that younger generations approach the idea of privilege?


Tom Nakayama
Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Northeastern University
Dr. Nakayama is editor of the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication. He is currently working on a co-authored book on whiteness. He is also working on a co-edited book on critical intercultural communication.

Cynthia Robinson
Associate Professor, School of Communication
University of Nebraska–Omaha
Dr. Robinson’s research interests include culture and communication, race, identity, black women, and black male-female relationships

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