White privilege doesn’t mean what some Whites think it means. They get stuck on the word privilege believing it to equate with wealth and comfort. However, that’s not it.
Privilege, as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary, has two related definitions. The first is “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favour”. The second is “to accord a higher value or superior position to”.
The social and political system of this country grants people who are white with certain privileges that are not given to people of colour which are based simply on the lack of melanin in their skin. It has nothing to do with wealth, but everything to do with living each day.
Whites can and do go about our lives not really worrying about being pulled over by law enforcement or being shadowed in stores by security/loss prevention personnel.
Whites can and do get jobs over people of colour based not on qualifications, but on skin pigmentation.
Whites do not get stereotyped as being savages or lazy anywhere near the amount people of colour do.
A white man walking along the street while wearing a hoodie doesn’t have to pull the hoodie off when people pass him out of fear of being thought of as potentially violent.
When a white person does get pulled over or stopped by law enforcement, they don’t automatically get approached by the officer having his/her hand on the butt of his/her service revolver.
The list can go on ad nauseam, but I won’t belabour it. These are facts. People of colour, particularly Black and Brown skinned people face discrimination every day practically from the moment they are born.
Black and Brown mothers and fathers train their sons on how to try to avoid suspicion from ignorant whites so that they can come home from something as simple as a trip to get candy at the corner store.
Black women see images society throws at them saying their beauty lies in straightening their hair.
Black and Brown people are constantly told to behave like whites behave if they want to achieve success and stay safe in this country.
Again, the list can go on ad nauseam.
Enough is enough though!
Blacks and other people of colour cannot fix the system that’s rigged against them by themselves. It’s up to whites to join with them, listen, and act with them to change the system from one of systemic racism to one of real equality.