White, Black and the case of Privilege in America

You have probably read about it or maybe even been accosted by someone telling you to ‘check your white privilege’.   This is the new rallying cry on campuses and institutions across the country.

If we are not black we are supposed to cower away in shame and feel guilty from gaining some ephemeral benefit from things that happened decades in the past.

So what exactly is privilege?  Merrian Websters dictionary describes it this way:

  • a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others
  • the advantage that wealthy and powerful people have over other people in a society
  • a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor
  • such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office

So right away we can see that historically white people have had many right’s or benefits given to them that were not given to blacks. White privilege definitely existed in a historical context.  Fast forward to today, legally none of these rights or privileges can be denied to anyone because of the color of their skin anymore.  We even have organizations and policies that exist to prevent it in certain institutions.  So continue down the list and see what other kinds of privileges are granted to people.  Now we see privilege based on money, position etc. Privilege exists everywhere you go.

Privilege will never go away.   There will always be people who are given an elevated level of privilege for whatever reason, be it money, family name, stardom, the color of your hair,  you name it.

What happened in the past was shameful, but it is the past. We can’t change it, we can’t make it go away.   If we are ever to become the nation that we claim to want, we have to put the past where it belongs and move forward.

The ‘check your white privilege’ movement (which is strangely mostly directed at white men), needs to be seen for the lie it is.   It is used to stop open and honest debate but more than that it is used increasingly by people who are desperately trying to hide from the truth.  The truth that our nation is broken and that it can’t be fixed if only a single group of people would ‘check their privilege’.  The truth that we all need to willingly accept a hand ‘up’ and not a handout.   We need to pick up our responsibility at the door and recognize that we all must work towards that future, where privilege is granted based on behavior and not on skin color.

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