Letter: Many white people feel far from ‘privileged’

Published 5:02 am Sunday, December 23, 2018

If you are white, chances are the phrase “white privilege” creates a defensive posture. The word “white” creates discomfort in those not used to being described by race. The word “privilege” makes no sense for poor and rural white people.

The best way to define “white privilege” is to define what it is not. “White privilege” is not the assumption that everything a white person has accomplished is unearned. Many white people do not enjoy the privileges that come with affluence. Most white people have worked hard, perhaps even struggled, to achieve success.

Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, white privilege was built into our legal system. After 1964, white privilege became the “power of normal.” That is, white people generally did not encounter such things as exclusionary zoning practices; having greater access to resources, such as home loans; systemic inequities; being perceived as “suspicious” when shopping, walking in a “white neighborhood,” or driving a Mercedes.

“White privilege” provides an ease of moving through the world that does not exist for persons of color.

— Roger Hull

China Grove