This viral post highlights how Brock Turner is the ultimate demonstration of white privilege

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Photo credit: Alice Cowling

From Cosmopolitan

Over the last couple of weeks, since the senseless killing of African American man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, the world has been forced to come eye to eye with the idea of white privilege. It is finally starting to be acknowledged, and considered how this works in tandem with racism to fuel inequality for Black people.

White privilege is visible in all corners of society; it's there in job opportunities, it's there in social situations, and it's most certainly there in justice systems. One viral tweet, written by @lilyjjanet and liked more than 1.1 million times on the social network, recently highlighted exactly how white prejudice can manifest in law and order.

"George Floyd died accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Remember when Brock Turner ACTUALLY raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster, got 6 months of jail but only served 3 months [because] of his 'good behaviour'? Yeah. White privilege is real," read the tweet.

In case you're not familiar with the Brock Turner case, in January of 2015, multiple people witnessed Turner sexually assaulting an unconscious woman (who later identified herself as Chanel Miller in a memoir about the experience, titled Know My Name) behind a waste container on Stanford University's campus.

Photo credit: PA Images

When two graduate students approached him to see if the woman was alright, Turner fled — only to be tackled moments later and held down until police arrived at the scene.

Following a trial, Turner was found guilty of the following charges: assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman; sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object; and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. His charges for rape, however, were dropped.

For his crime, Brock Turner was sentenced to just six months in jail. As if the unusually light sentence wasn't concerning enough, he was then released three months early, in September 2016, for 'good behaviour'.

Brock Turner is a white man. Conversely, George Floyd - a Black man - was killed by police officers after being stopped on suspicion of using counterfeit money. He lost his life for his apparent crime. The comparison speaks for itself.

Since it emerged that George Floyd's only alleged wrongdoing was handing over a counterfeit note, white people on Twitter have spoken up about times they have done this, and how the consequences they experienced completely embody white privilege.

"Just found out that George Floyd was originally stopped by the police because he handed over a counterfeit note in a shop. I did that once! They handed me back the note as a souvenir, and later I told the story on stage in a comedy routine. That’s some privilege right there," posted comedian Dara Ó Briain.

Another white man, Mark D. McCoy, a professor at the Southern Methodist University in Texas, had a similar experience. "George Floyd and I were both arrested for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill. For George Floyd, a man my age, with two kids, it was a death sentence. For me, it is a story I sometimes tell at parties. That, my friends, is White privilege," he wrote on Twitter.



It's time for white privilege to end. Nobody should be treated any better - or any worse - simply because of the colour of their skin.

Find out what you can do to demand justice for Black lives here.




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