With racial injustice making the headlines once again and hearing the term “white privilege” I have been thinking deeply about what that term means.
I’ve thought, “I don’t think I’m privileged,” I grew up poor on the East Side of Buffalo. My mother became disabled when I was one year old. My father was a taxi driver when he was working at all. We were denied apartments because landlords didn’t rent to people in wheelchairs.
I worked hard to get where I am today. I just didn’t understand. Then last week I was watching a late-night talk show and the light bulb went off. The host explained it from a black person’s point of view. “White privilege” has little to do with wealth, It has to do with being judged by others because of the color of one’s skin.
White people can walk down the street without being chased down for looking suspicious. White people can go into a store without being automatically accused of shoplifting. White people can drive their car down the highway without being pulled over and asked what they are doing in the neighborhood. White parents don’t have to have “the talk” with their sons about how to interact with the police so they don’t get killed.
That’s what “white privilege” means and it is a shame. A shame that black people don’t have that same privilege. This may be a new term, but it still means racism. Racism is an evil that must be addressed and ended now.