I think some white people have trouble wrapping their head around the concept of privilege because it’s ideologically and complete 180 from the way we used to discuss the disparity between different races’ experience. What I mean is that until the last 20 or so years in mainstream dialogue (people were talking about this a lot longer ago than that in especially left leaning areas and universities) people spoke in terms of people of color being denied things, lacking things that white people had, being ‘underprivileged’, lacking the basic respect, safety, opportunities, etc. that are their due as humans. It wasn’t that white people were privileged so much as that other races were denied the basics that everyone should have. The way it is spoken about now in academic and now political circles is that not lacking something is a privilege that white people have. So not being discriminated against in the legal system is now described as a privilege. Not having to explain yourself is a privilege. Not being treated as a criminal by police is a privilege. The absense of discrimination is reintroduced as an unearned right. Whereas I think everyone should have that right and it shouldn’t be considered a privilege.

Linguist, philosopher, lover of history, wordhound, 21 year New Yorker, searching for meaning in the universe

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