White Privilege


White privilege is the societal privilege that benefits white people over non-whites in some societies, even if these non-whites may otherwise enjoy the same social, political, or economic circumstances.  It is thought to have its roots in European colonialism and the slave trade.  Institutions, laws and  practices developed, often subtle, that served to protect white racial privileges.

Based on this definition, who can honestly argue that white privilege does not exist in America?  Some whites consider themselves superior to non-whites, and they will do anything they can to preserve their advantageous position.  Also, until very recently, law and tradition was on the side of the bigots.  But the law has changed and so have the attitudes of the great majority of white people.  Most whites now subscribe to the hope expressed in Martin Luther King’s dream speech, ““I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” 

Bigotry and hatred still reign in the hearts of sinful men.  These vile evil-doers may be members of the American Nazi Party or the KKK, and facing them are the often equally malicious and bigoted members of Antifa and BLM.

But white privilege itself is slowly fading.  It is no longer buttressed by the law or popular perceptions, and most of us look forward to its total eradication.   Of course, so long as man is imperfect, there will always be prejudice and exploitation, but in future I believe it more likely to be on the basis of one’s economic standing rather than race. Mutual respect and equality of opportunity should always be our goal; but so long as there are differences in ambition and ability, there will be differences in attainment, wealth and prestige.  Absolute equality of outcome is a chimera.

I cannot see that the ongoing debate about white privilege serves any useful purpose.  It is somewhat like addressing an assembly of laymen on the subject of original sin. Acknowledge that white privilege remains a feeble vestige and unfortunate residue of our troubled racial past, then denounce it and put it on the trash heap of history.  Most whites have no sense of being privileged, and the constant harping about it only drives us further apart. 

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