Lessons from Being White Adjacent

The proximity privilege that exposes exactly what BIPOC folx are missing

Dr. Tiffany Jana
8 min readAug 23, 2021


Source: Canva.com

Admittedly, it’s bizarre to write about the benefits of being friends with white people my whole life — I even married and divorced a white man. I joke that I was raised like a middle class white boy because my education and cultural context resembled that of my lily white peers. I was marginalized growing up less because I was Black and more because my parents were relatively affluent. Key word: relative. I’m an Army Brat with physician parents, and I have enjoyed the privilege of white proximity my whole life. Now, as a professional justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) worker, I’d be remiss to keep the benefits of the understanding I’ve gained to myself.

My calling is to build bridges across cultural divides and help liberate people from the shackles, real and imagined, that bind them. The lessons I’ve taken with me from my interracial marriage, cross-racial friendships, and white inculturation are manifold —and it’s time that BIPOC people know just how good the white folx have it.

For the record, I’m not a bitter person. I’m an equitable person. I’m not mad at anything anyone else has, nor do I begrudge them the privilege that affords advantage. I have more than enough most of my life — a brief and horrifying experience of poverty and abuse in my twenties was plenty instructive. I have resumed enjoying countless privileges as a result of exposure to global culture — including whiteness — and a deep, abiding belief that I have every right to anything any mediocre or extraordinary white person can have. I am also deeply interested in leveling the playing field so that we can all Manifest Equity and live our best lives.

Some of the privileges white folx enjoy are superficial, and some will make your head spin. The two central themes I’ve witnessed are a general benefit of the doubt and various forms of freedom. Here are a handful of examples as we begin to crack open the secrets that countless white people don’t even know they are keeping.

Police harassment — Safety

White people really aren’t getting pulled over at the rate BIPOC folx are, stopped in the streets, nor generally annoyed by or



Dr. Tiffany Jana

Non-binary Top Writer in Diversity, Leadership, & Antiracism. Best-Selling Author, Pleasure Activist, B Corp Founder, TEDx, Inc.com Top 100 Speaker

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