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White Male Officer Informed of 'Privilege': 'I Was Racially and Sexistly Slurred'

White Male Privilege

An Indiana police officer filed a discrimination complaint against a colleague who informed him of white male privilege during a training on transgender awareness. 

A white male police officer attending a training session on transgender awareness in Plainfield, Ind., became so enraged when he was informed that he enjoys "white male privilege" by a colleague that he proved her point and filed a complaint with the department that got her placed on suspension. A vote regarding her feature with the force is pending, according to Indianapolis TV station WRTV.

During the training session held by a U.S. Department of Justice representative and a U.S. attorney in early November, a white male officer of 28 years, who has not been identified by name, questioned a statistic about trans people that the rep from the Justice Department had cited. The challenge came when the rep, referring to a 2013 annual report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, informed attendees, "Members of the transgender community are 3.32 times as likely to be the victim of police violence than nontransgender people."

"My life has never been part of police violence," the officer said, according to a video taken of the event [he is off camera]. "Most of the people that I know have never been, accused the police of violence. So I guess I don't get where that statistic comes from."

That's when Capt. Carri Weber of the Plainfield Police Department chimed in and suggested he was unaware of the statistic because "You're white male privilege, so you wouldn't know."

"I'm sorry?" the man challenged, according to audio on the video.

"You're white male privilege," the woman repeated, calling out the obvious fact that he likely hadn't encountered various types of discrimination due to his being a white man.

But the man flew into a rage, interrupting the chief of police and acting as though he'd been personally maligned rather than attempting to listen to a mere fact.

"Chief, you gonna let [unintelligible] get away with that? Seriously? I'm asking a legitimate question here, and I'm getting [unintelligible] white privilege?" the man said, beginning to yell. "Are you serious? I find that extremely offensive!"

The term "white male privilege" has been bandied about a great deal in recent years but was originally defined in a 1998 paper by Peggy McIntosh, then a women's studies scholar at Wellesley, who investigated the inherent advantages that come with being white, with being male, and with being both, according to The New Yorker.

The officer, there to ostensibly learn how to treat marginalized people -- in this case, trans people --with respect, was so incensed by the fact that Weber calmly pointed out his advantages to him that he stood up, went to the front of the room and threatened to file a report about the incident, which he did November 10, landing Weber on suspension.

"I was racially and sexistly slurred by Captain Carri Weber while I was asking a question of the instructor in training," the officer wrote in the complaint. "I am now firmly aware of the discriminatory belief she just verbally communicated."

In his complaint, the officer went on to flip the script and allege that he'd been discriminated against in being called what he is -- white and male.

"There is no place in the Plainfield Police administration or supervision for someone who holds and espouses her discriminatory views," he wrote in his complaint.

Weber was on suspension in August for violating a department policy that requires officers to not drive their squad cars within eight hours of drinking and for being found with alcohol in the car. But her fate at the department hangs on the complaint of a white male police officer whose actions prove that he likely doesn't understand the needs of marginalized people and probably shouldn't be allowed to work with them.

Watch the video below.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist