This term tends to be frequently espoused by left-wing academics and sociopolitical commentators. It’s one of many overused buzzwords that distorts the perception of race and class relations in today’s America.
Imagine yourself as 50-something year old, working class White factory worker. Because of your lack of educational credentials, you were forced into this unremarkably menial career. Despite living from paycheck to paycheck, you were able to provide your children a decent life in a suburban one-story house.
All of a sudden, your supervisor informs you and coworkers that the company is gravitating towards automation/outsourcing and is considering downsizing their labor force.
Now, you’re spending sleepless nights wondering how you’re going to pay the house mortgage and your children’s college tuitions while still having money left over to pay the bills.
One night, you’re sitting on your tattered couch watching CNN, while nursing a glass of whisky to pacify your nerves. As you take a sip, you see, through your 7 inch TV screen, some affluent, well-educated person of color pontificating on ‘White Privilege’.
“Spend a day in my shoes and I’ll show you White privilege!” You mumble to yourself.
There are millions of White people who have yet to benefits from the perks of ‘White Privilege’.
We forget a major component of social privilege is income. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter if you’re Black or White. As long as you have enough Greens, you’re set for life.
I’m not denying that there are ethnic communities that have been historically marginalized and oppressed, such as Black Americans and the indigenous tribals. Their descendents are blatantly affected by the residual effects of racially-biased legal measures including Jim Crow Laws and redlining.
The reality of social privilege in America is a lot more nuanced. Not all White people, or even the majority, are WASP elitists residing in the Hamptons. And just because we have a Black president, doesn’t mean Blacks (and other minority communities) aren’t disproportionately marginalized by implicit racial biases within the legal system.
Words like ‘White Privilege’ not only oversimplify comtemporary racial relations, but they fuel resentment, exasperating racial rifts and hindering social progress