I want to start this article by saying that this is my opinion and my personal understanding on the topic of white privilege. I am a white man, so I have a pretty limited view and understanding of the nature of white privilege and how it works (that’s one of the benefits of it by the way – being blissfully unaware of it). This is not a report or professional article that breaks the issue down with facts and statistics, but my understanding of what is a very real problem.
White privilege means receiving preferred or special treatment and certain allowances simply for being white (Caucasian). Typically speaking, no one is going to look at me, as a white man, and think that I’m a thug, or that I am going to steal from a store or hurt someone. I am given the benefit of the doubt, regardless of the situation. I also get to be blissfully ignorant of the many troubling issues that are still occurring today in America and around the world, like racism. I can be unaware of the systematic racism that happens every day because it does not happen to me. Which is the most harmful part of white privilege, in my opinion.
It’s easy to believe that racism does not happen as often as it really does or that it isn’t as bad as it actually is because I’m not experiencing it. My white privilege means I don’t have to worry about the cop down the street or in the car behind me arresting or killing me. I can safely believe that they will protect me. African Americans don’t have that belief; they have to worry about potentially being killed just for being black.
White privilege is when a white person does something illegal and faces no consequences or less severe consequences, while a black person is faced with very harsh consequences (like, you know, death) for committing a similar crime. White privilege is when a white man goes out and does something like rape and kill a woman and gets called things like “mentally ill”, “a child”, or even “a victim” or any other qualifier meant to make a person have sympathy for him. When a black person steals something, they get called “thug”, or a “criminal.” And when the accused is an actual child they get treated like or called a man, heaving more responsibility and judgment upon them.
If you don’t believe this, go online and look up crime reports and stories. Look at their specific diction and the difference between white offenders and black offenders. Replace the white offender with someone who is African American or Middle Eastern and see if your perceptions and feelings change. Look up the cases Allen Peters and Jaquavias Sturgis, of Brock Turner and Cory Batey, of Chase Legleitner and Lamar Lloyd, to name a few. White privilege is the fact that I, as a white man, don’t have a literal terrorist group like the KKK bent on the extermination and/or enslavement of my race.
The simple fact of the matter is that as a white person, I, and every other white person, have it better than people of color, at least from a social standpoint, if not many others. We are given the benefit of the doubt in almost every situation. We have not had to deal with years of systematic oppression and enslavement. We don’t have slurs thrown at us, and there are no people who are happy to hurt or kill us. And all white people don’t have to spend one moment acknowledging that all of this happens, and they don’t have to worry about it happening to them. That’s white privilege.