The Myth Of White Privilege
I looked in the mirror this morning and discovered that I’m white. I’ve always suspected I was white from an early age.
Most people who are not white seem to think that the color of my skin gives me some kind of “one-upmanship” of those who are not white.
I would challenge that argument.
What Is White Privilege?
Before we go too far afield let’s examine what white privilege actually is.
One definition of “white privilege” says that white people in Western countries experience societal privileges and benefits not afforded to non-white people exposed to the same social, political, or economic circumstances.
What exactly do white people get? According to most sources there are more white people on welfare and receiving food stamps than non-white groups mostly because there are more white people in the US than non-whites.
What Did I Get For Being White?
I played college basketball. Any guesses on which color played the most?
When I was broke panhandling on the streets of San Diego, no white person came along and put their arm around me and said let me buy you dinner, fill your semi-abandoned car with gas, and set you up with a room and give you a job.
No — I had to work my way up and no one gave me any breaks because of my skin color. I did get help from strangers because of who I was — not what I looked like.
When I was in Vietnam, color didn’t matter to anyone. No one told me I didn’t have to do KP because I was white.
If I apply for a bank loan the only color they might consider is green.
If you wake up in the morning and think the deck is stacked against you because of your color and you take that attitude out your front door, that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You reap what you sow.
Some Final Thoughts
Opportunity creates privilege. And that’s not always an advantage over someone else. It’s the ability to control your life the way you want through your own efforts.
For some, it’s money. For others, it's service. For others, it's innovation.
To say someone has privilege because of color in the year 2015 is ridiculous.
If the color of your skin dictates who and what you are then you are automatically shut out from opportunities that would otherwise be open to you.
I don’t walk out my door being white. I walk out my door being me.