We Need to Talk About How We Talk About White Privilege
White privilege. With the exception of "Kim Kardashian," there is no other two word phrase that gets people frothing at the mouth in irrationality quicker than those two. The phrase "white privilege" hits a switch in certain individuals and turns them from normal, friendly people you don't mind knowing on Facebook to... well... listen, this blog isn't about name-calling, so let's just say that become less-friendly.
Photo by Matty Ring What do you think of when you get pulled over?
This isn't about shaming one side of the debate, either. Both sides, those who believe in white privilege and those who don't, can be just as mean-spirited, snarky and dismissive as the other.
Which is a bummer, because it's absolutely a discussion worth having.
Because white privilege does exist, and it's never going to go away if we don't talk about it.
White privilege, in an extremely dumb-downed nutshell, is the idea that being born white grants a person certain advantages. They may not be aware of these advantages, there won't be a blinking sign pointing them out, but they're there. They exist. That is reality.
Examples include: you're more likely to see people of your race represented in popular media; you'll rarely be called a "credit-to-your-race"; if a cop pulls you over it will rarely if ever be because of your race; it's probably easier to find an emoji that looks like you.
Now, if you're thinking to yourself, "that's what other races are upset about?" you're missing the point. It's not about the individual privileges, it's about how they add up as a whole.
Now, it's easy to see why both sides of the debate would be upset with this idea:
1. If you don't believe in white privilege: it can be really annoying to have someone tell you you're benefitting from something you may not have even been aware of, especially when you've had major difficulties in your life.
2. If you do believe in white privilege: it can be really annoying to have someone tell you your life experiences are irrelevant because they don't live in a mansion/aren't rich/weren't aware that white privilege is a thing.
Now, it's highly unlikely a blog on the subject is going to switch someone over from being a non-believer in to a believer, and that's not why this blog exists. This is simply about trying to change the public discourse, and get both sides away from foaming-at-the-mouth rage.