How A Man Who Came From A Billionaire Family Made Peace With His 'White Privilege'

What opens a man's eyes to the advantages he's had in life? Mastin Kipp explains.

Mastin Kipp, a white man with privilege, in a black suit in front of black and white graphic background Mastin Kipp's website | 'Designed For You' via Canva

Let's face it, many of us go throughout life seemingly unaware of the privilege we possess. After all, the nature of privilege is that you don't earn it. You didn't do anything to earn it, it's just part of life, so it's easy to not even know it's there.

Some people have a hard time understanding that things like skin color and socio-economic status could somehow be linked. And honestly, I don't blame them. After all, how could you truly understand your privilege if you've been brought up to believe that the privilege you possess is the 'norm' for everyone? 


However, it's important to break this mindset if we want to put things into perspective.

In the podcast Open Relationships: Transforming Together, host Andrea Miller talks with life coach and author Mastin Kipp about white privilege and how he came to terms with his privilege, despite being raised in a billionaire family. 

Does white male privilege even exist? 

"Success is about hard work and taking accountability," some people might say when faced with the idea of privilege. Of course, hard work and accountability are a huge part of how someone becomes successful, but that, alone, doesn't make everyone's opportunities equal.


Harvard Business Review writes, "Studies have shown that all else being equal, white employees are more likely than their non-white peers to receive callbacks for job interviews, are less likely to be blamed for poor performance, earn significantly higher wages, and advance faster."

But that's just touching the surface. The U.S. Department Of The Treasury points out that research shows a huge correlation between parents and children's wealth. "Empirical evidence also shows that gains in household wealth increase the probability that children enroll in and graduate from college, which increases their lifetime earnings from employment."

Why does this matter? Well, minorities have historically not had access to the same opportunities as White Americans. For years, they did not have the same ability to acquire family wealth as their white counterparts. Meaning, that White Americans have had the privilege to get ahead in life compared to minorities. 

This can explain why when we look at the graduation rates, there's a huge gap between most minorities and White Americans. 


According to the Pew Research Center:

  • 28% of Black Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • 21 % of Hispanic Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • 42% of White Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • 61% of Asian Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher.

Some may say that white privilege doesn't exist because Asian Americans are more likely to have a bachelor's degree compared to White Americans. But graduating at higher rates doesn't necessarily mean they have more privilege. And having a higher income doesn't always mean privilege in every area of life either. In addition, some ethnicities face harsher racism and oppression than others. 

You can have privilege, but still not be in positions of power

According to the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, "Asian Americans are more likely than other racial groups, including non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans, to have three or more workers per household, resulting in an inflated household income."

Even more, despite Asians graduating at higher rates they only make up 4% of the House, according to the Pew Research Center, and 6% of senior leadership positions, according to the National Library of Medicine, which makes zero sense if they are more qualified than their white counterparts. 


So, yes, despite being seen as the 'model minority' Asian people aren't in higher positions of power. 

Moreover, the amount of hate crimes against Asians has jumped from 158 in 2019 to 746 in 2021, according to the Pew Research Center. Which once again, is something White Americans don't have to face.

Long story short? Yes, white privilege does exist. But how does Mastin Kipp acknowledge his?

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How a man from a billionaire family grew to understand his white male privilege 

There is nothing wrong with being white or having white privilege. As Kipp puts it, "And also, I'm very aware that I have white male privilege, which I don't think privilege or white people are bad. I think it's all about how you use it."


Whether you understand it or not, you are given both privilege and power to get ahead in life. And while you can't change that, how you use your privilege matters.

 Kipp explains, "And I think that my goal has been to use whatever privilege I have to, basically create as much symmetry, not asymmetry, in the world. And to just get this message out there as much as possible. And I don't think that's a woke thing to say. I think that the term is, very overused and also appropriated. I think it's just true."

It's not "woke" to be thoughtful of another person's culture or of their own hurts and traumas. It's something we do for people daily without needing a dismissive name to explain away. Thinking about every person as an individual, with different feelings and experiences than you, is just part of being in a friendship — or any type of relationship.

@yourtango “Instead of feeling sadness, get curious.” Hear more on nervous system interactions and healing from author and coach @Mastin Kipp on our ‘Open Relationships’ podcast, available now #podcast #nervoussystem #emotions ♬ original sound - YourTango

Yes, it's clear to see that White Americans have a greater headstart compared to minorities. And no, that isn't woke talk but it is honest talk — and honest talk can be profoundly healing, says Miller. 


Kipp continues, "And I also think it's utterly patriotic to talk about the full history of our country, not the positive version of the history of our country." 

Truthfully, there is something extremely patriotic about getting down to reality and doing away with propaganda. 

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Kipp says, "And what's true is we displaced and killed millions of people to take over this country. there's, legitimate trauma because of that." 

Should today's White Americans be shamed and blamed for this? Absolutely not. There's no point. We don't want to make White Americans feel bad for something they had no control over. But shaming and blaming people of today isn't the same as acknowledging the past. 


Because to not acknowledge the past is to do a disservice to the many minorities that suffered for the profit of White Americans. And to not acknowledge the past is to ignore the intergenerational trauma and even legacies of racism, enslavement, and other oppressions that many minorities still face today.

Kipp says, "You have gene expression that gets passed on, and we have, trauma from the environment that gets passed on, meaning, for example, I have, clients who are African-American or people who are born and raised in Africa, like example, Nigeria."

He continues to say that clients from Nigeria have different associations of what it means to be black compared to Black Americans. 


Once again, because of context. He explains that there are different danger signals because of the intergenerational trauma Black Americans have experienced. 

"And so generational trauma is environmental. It's attachment-based, meaning relational, and then also epigenetic, meaning it shows up in your genes. And you can change your genes," says Kipp.

However, most of us never get to address or change those genes because we are led to believe that it is all in our heads. This is why we must change that narrative and that starts with action.

So, "Let's not delete histories, have a conversation, and let's make our behavior aligned with these intentions also. So that we're not just talking about it because, true reparation or forgiveness doesn't happen without, behavior change," ends Kipp.


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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.