San Diego, 2019

San Diego, 2019

About the Project

Buy White Privilege is an interactive art installation consisting of a real looking retail store that “sells” white privilege to people of color. Customers enter the store, receive an explanation of the concept behind the store and pay a nominal amount to receive an official looking white privilege identification card that supposedly grants them all of the “rights and privileges afforded to white people.”

The purpose of the installation is threefold:

  • To protest racist power structures within our society

  • Bring awareness about the existence of white privilege and its negative impacts on people of color

  • Validate, share and release feelings of oppression and frustration often borne by people of color.

Though the project delivers its message satirically, it is not intended as a joke. The issues that underly the humor are rooted in deeply impactful societal truths. 

History of the Project

San Diego based artist John Raymond Mireles first created the White Privilege Card in 2016 as a response to the many publicized incidents of peoples of color being harmed and treated unfairly for no other reason than their skin color. In 2019, he partnered with community activists and fellow artists Kovu Allen and Ronald Williams to open the first Buy White Privilege retail store in San Diego.

Despite the fact that it was only open part-time for two days and with minimal publicity, over 100 cards were sold. By day two, social media fueled a line that extended out the door. The local arts and culture paper took notice and placed the installation on its cover.

This project is entirely self-funded. All funds paid to Buy White Privilege are used to keep the project going and bring it to other cities around the country.


The Card

Only people who identify as a person of color are offered the opportunity to purchase a card. White people already have white privilege, no card necessary. Instead, we offer other options for contributing to our goal of greater social equality.

All identifying information on the card is either encoded or falsified to protect the identity of the card holder when it is shared online or published in print.

Currently, the card is not available online. Please follow us on Instagram or our blog for updates on where we will be setting up shop. If you’d like to bring us to your city please contact us. We’re constantly in need of locations and volunteers to help us deliver our social message.