If you haven’t seen the debate between Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart over white privilege, you should. It is not only hilarious but also amazing in that O’Reilly, like a number of others on the Right, is adament that there is no white privilege whatsoever.
That’s like refusing to admit that rich people have more opportunities.
It is ignoring the obvious.
Admitting that white privilege exists shouldn’t put whites on the defensive. It is not like it is something that most have any choice about or something that they chose. And it is like saying people who speak French have an easier time in France. That is a "French privilege," you could say.
White privilege simply means that in this country which has been largely dominated by whites, built on white European cultural standards and favored white people over people of color for most of its existence, whites get more breaks than people of color. That is so undeniable it is comical that O’Reilly and others try to argue against it. As I said, white privilege isn’t even the same as overt racism. One can benefit from white privilege and not be a racist.
What are examples of white privilege? A pertinent example is that white parents don’t have to worry as much as black parents do about their children being shot by police officers. White privilege is why even this concept has to be explained. Whites simply aren’t profiled like blacks and hispanics.
White privilege is what leads to so many cases of white college students throwing parties on campus that have insulting racial themes. The fact that mocking other cultures in an open way like that is wrong and has to be explained to supposedly smart people is definitely rooted in white privilege. The lack of shame these students have shows just how prevalent the undercurrent of white privilege is in the U.S.
White privilege is not being judged by the bad deeds of some other white person. Whites can be individuals. Minorities are a collective. The deeds of one or a few are held against the whole group.
White privilege is being able to argue that blacks and other minorities should get over racism, that the clock on injustice has run out. Having the gall to make that argument when you do not have to bear the burden of racism or its legacy is definitely white privilege.
White privilege is people assuming the best about you first, rather than the opposite. It is finding it funny to make black jokes when there is one black person in a group of whites and not seeing that as demeaning. White privilege is being the norm and everyone else being considered exotic or other, as in when the news media does not have to mention color in a description of someone, you know that means the person is white. It is turning on the TV and seeing lots of faces that look like you on 90% of television shows.
White privilege is real and should not be debatable. We should only be debating how to minimize its effects, not so whites can be harmed or treated badly, but so that people of color can be treated better. There is simply no getting around the fact that our country has a bias towards all things white. Denying that is a waste of time. Let’s at least start from reality or we really have no chance of ever having an impact on this issue.