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DeRay Mckesson: ‘A lot of white people don’t understand how they benefit from their whiteness’

By Joshua Haigh

DeRay Mckesson has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Munro Bergdorf.

The model and activist was criticised last month (September) when she said in a now-deleted Facebook post that “all white people are racist”.

Due to the backlash over her remarks, she was dropped from her role at L’Oreal, and there was a huge outcry on social media both against and in defence of her statement.

Revealing his thoughts on the controversy, DeRay tells Attitude’s Awards issue that it can be tough for those who are in a position of privilege to acknowledge the advantages they have over others in society.

“A lot of white people don’t understand how they benefit from whiteness, and just how pervasive the idea that white is normal in society, and the damage that does across a host of other societies,” he tells us.

“One of the things that oppression does is kill your imagination, and some people have forgotten how to imagine.

He continues: “It’s a question of how we can change systems and structures.

“Change is slow, and not as quick as quick as you want it to be. I meet so many incredible people, so that gives me faith.”

You can read DeRay’s full interview in the Attitude Awards issue – out now to buy in printsubscribe or download.