Are the words “White privilege” offensive?

The other day, I shared the following meme on Einstein’s facebook page.

Yesterday morning a friend commented on that post, “If the Supreme Court of the United States never had to determine if you have the same rights as every one else, you have white privilege”. My first thought was…..”where is the logic in that?” What about woman’s rights, suffrage etc? One does NOT equal the other!!!

I responded, “I disagree. Woman’s right’s? so I am not only not white privileged, I am testicularly challenged?”

My friend responded, ” Yes, but have you ever had to go to court to ride the bus, eat at the lunch counter, go to the school closest to you, live in the neighborhood you wanted to, be passed over for promotion or a job, get less pay than a coworker that did the same job, marry a person you wanted to? I have a cousin who’s father was half native american. Her mother and grandmother went shopping one day and took her with them. At noon they stopped at a restaurant on the way home. They were refused service because they thought her skin was too dark.”

GRRRRR! I am aware that things like that happen, but NOT on my watch!!! I have never treated someone differently because of their race or skin color. I have also never sat by and watched something like that happen.

I responded to his comment with, “I am not disputing that discrimination’s is DISGUSTING. I am disputing being told that I have a certain privilege because of the color of my skin. The entire argument is about HUMAN right’s no? Then why not focus on the fact that we are all human instead of pointing out differences in skin color, religion, hair color etc? I’m just saying that ‘picking a fight’ with someone telling them they are privileged is not the way to get their support is it?”

Our conversation pretty much ‘ended’ there. He went on to say that things won’t change unless the ones with the power admit there is a problem. I agree. But that still doesn’t mean that many people, including me, aren’t bothered or offended by the term “White privilege”.

I’m trying not to be bothered by it, (sticks and stones and all) but I am. Maybe I don’t understand the definition of privilege? I spent a good portion of the day yesterday (off and on) googling privilege. The first definition I found was “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.”

The next search showed:

  1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed by a particular person or a restricted group of people beyond the advantages of most:the privileges of the very rich.
  2. the unearned and mostly unacknowledged societal advantage that a restricted group of people has over another group:white privilege based on skin color; male privilege; children of privilege.

While I still don’t like the term White privilege, I will say that for all of the reasons I have been discriminated against (weight, hair color, sex, tattoos, single parent, being agnostic, etc) I don’t believe that I have ever been singled out because of my race. Does that mean I don’t understand and disagree with discrimination? I don’t think so. 😦

9 thoughts on “Are the words “White privilege” offensive?

  1. That term really doesn’t bother me because I’ve never lived that way of thought that way. The only thing I can say in defense of the term is that as far as law enforcement is concerned, and probably other things that I am not aware of, the color of one’s skin often determines whether they approach you about something or not. So we are definitely “privileged” in that regard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True. Before I got a permanent resident card, every time I entered Germany I would be told to take off my shoes and belt and and and … at the airport. There’s a line for EU citizens, non EU citizens and ALL (read: not only second-world countries but Arab-looking people, the usual suspects). I have darker skin color, though I’m white. Guess where I’d end up each time?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Re: third paragraph; throughout history women, white or otherwise, most definitely have had to fight to go to school, fight to work outside the home, fight for work other than maid, secretary, school teacher, nurse, etc., fight for the same pay as men with the same job (still hasn’t happened), fight for dignity and respect regarding health, reproductive rights, victims of assault and abuse (still hasn’t happened), fight to vote, fight for support for child rearing, fight for equality (ERA; still hasn’t happened), fight to walk alone, in the dark, anywhere, USA without ‘asking for it’, fight to wear or express yourself how you want without being objectified, fight to not be taken advantage of in any male dominated field such as plumber, electrician, carpenter, mechanic, car salesmen, etc. The problem with phrase “white privilege” is that is is really “white, male privilege”; since women comprise half the human population, women are MORE discriminated against, currently and historically, than any other denomination. Case in point: compare how many women in any month or year, anywhere, are beaten, raped, mutilated, terrorized, restricted or murdered to any other crime against any other minority or marginalized people. It’s so common place, no one even thinks about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t like it either and, like you, I don’t feel privileged being white. On the other hand, we would understand more descrimination based on race and skin color if we were black. It’s not a norm and it does exist, whether we like it or not. The 21st century, my ass.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a really tricky one. Personally, I find it offensive. But that’s because I’ve not done anything to warrant it. At least I don’t think I have. If someone’s openly being racist then calling them out for white privilege is just throwing it back at them. I do think I’m ‘privileged’ in the sense that I can see I’ve had it easier being white, but at the same time I didn’t choose this, nor has anyone else chosen the colour of their skin. There’s nothing I can do about that; it’s not saying you’re privileged because you have so much money and a nice house, and you can do something by giving it all away. You can’t change the colour of your skin and whatever may be associated with that. You make some really interesting points. When I see stories about a ‘Karen’ in the news it does pee me off a bit because it seems immature and it’s just fanning the flames of hate and pushing people further apart. You can call that person a moron if they’re acting like it, but it’s something else entirely to be stereotyping whole swathes of people as racists because of their skin colour. xx


    1. LOL that you bring up the “Karen ” thing. ( you do know my real name IS Karen right? ) I dig the “free publicity”… but like you talked about in YOUR post, I don’t really care what people think about me. Also although though I do have my moments I’m sure, I am completely confident that I always treat people like I want to be treated ( not how they may deserve to be)
      Being told that I have white privilege does offend me. My first thought is, “Fuck you, I have worked my ass off for everything I have”, I think it would easier and more productive to promote that we are all human beings than to point out our differences….smh


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