I’ve long thought that white privilege is an unfortunate choice of words.
Of course, it’s accurate to anyone who understands the term—which is to say, mostly Black people. For the average white person, which is to say many, the word “privilege” conjures up the Kardashians. Paris Hilton. Yachts and gold fixtures and the Amalfi coast. Perhaps that’s a bit extreme but suffice to say most of us white folks don’t feel “privileged.” We’re often so busy looking up, though, and being envious of what we don’t have, we fail to look around at what others don’t have. And we’re so self-centered, so quick to deny, that we fail to realize white privilege very rarely has anything to do with money.
To my fellow white readers, a quick quiz:
Have you ever been followed around in an average store because the clerk was sure you were going to shoplift—not because you ever have, or aren’t dressed well, or act suspicious in any way, but just because you’re white?
Have you ever had to sit through a job interview where everyone else in the company was Black, knowing that they were all wondering how you could ever fit in and quite possibly looking for a way to disqualify you, but having to act as “normal” as you can?