Have you been asking yourself this recently? It is a seemingly complex question; lots of white people assume that this concept renders them guilty of unfairly benefitting from a rigged system (which they do), or that, god forbid, it means they’re racist just by virtue of the color of their skin (which is reverse racism! If you put a lot of stock into the word of conservative talk radio hosts).
White privilege is real. White privilege most recently manifested itself in the actions of Elaine Rothenberg, who, brave and seemingly unafraid for her life, recently took up arms (a BB gun) in front of a police station in Connecticut, pointing the replica gun—which, according to reports, looked like a typical handgun—at officers on the scene. Rothenburg, a white woman, apparently shouted: “What are you doing? Shoot me! What are you, scared?”
In case you’re wondering how this related to white privilege, the following quote comes from Jezebel:
“John Crawford III, 22, was shot and killed by police in an Ohio Walmart after picking up a BB gun. Tamir Rice, 12, was shot and killed by police while playing with a toy gun in a public park. Prosecutors declined to indict the officers who killed either of them. Elaine Rothenberg, again, is fine.”
White privilege exists. White people in America can pretty much get away with doing whatever they want. Rothenberg is being charged and, don’t get me wrong, will probably go to jail for a bit, but she is still alive, even though officers could have shot her, killed her, left her body in the street for a bit, and justified it all using the same logic they did when Tamir Rice was killed. White people in America are cheating at the game of life, winning, and getting away with it. That is what having white privilege means.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Hustvedt