All That White Privilege

I get it. I’m white, so why should my opinion on “white privilege” matter? Well I’ll tell you.

I’m a human being. I am white, but I did not choose that. And here’s the thing: just because I’m sick of hearing about “white privilege” and how everybody else has it so bad, does not make me lesser or greater. I am just sick of hearing the whining and feeling the scornful glare.

There were a couple of articles written a while back on the issue. One was written by a white male at Princeton and then a rebuttal by a woman who writes for Jezebel. The problem with these is that they only offer fodder for the fire. They don’t identify what I feel like is the true issue: that instead of being a gentle reminder to white people, who supposedly feel entitled, “Check Your Privilege” has become a disdainful attack. As Julia Fisher puts it, the phrase is now used as weapon.

Here’s the thing. Race isn’t a real thing, biologically speaking, anyway. Of course, culturally, we as humans find distinction in our groups and I guess it’s most convenient to group ourselves by outer physical appearance. Makes sense. However, humans share more than 99% of the same DNA. So race is literally only skin-deep. It’s the difference between a white horse and a brown horse. Or a bluebird and a cardinal. It’s really not that serious.

But it’s this huge deal with humans. Supposedly, we’re more intelligent than other animals. So why are we so caught up with something so trivial as skin color or facial features? It makes zero sense. And we’re all guilty of it- white people, black people, Asian people, Middle Eastern people, whomever.

It’s funny- whatever we are, we want to be something else. White people want to be tan. Darker skinned people want to be lighter. I have blonde hair and blue eyes (because of course she does), but growing up I wanted dark brown hair and green eyes. I have really light skin, and I always want to be more tan. A good friend of mine who grew up in Kolkata told me that it’s very popular in India to use skin lightening treatments. I was really surprised by that. Here I am, wanting to look more “healthy”, and yet people on the other side of the world apparently want the skin color I have now. Curiouser and curiouser.

Who’s to blame for “white privilege”? Is it even real? I guess so. If everyone’s so mad about it, it must be real. I think there’s a shift happening, though. A privilege paradigm shift. I don’t know where or to whom it is shifting, but it’s moving away from us white people. Probably ‘cuz we’re so entitled.

What I wish would happen is this: I wish affirmative action would go away and to be honest, I wish all “privilege” would go away too. My hope for the world is that every person is judged by his or her merits, not by the color of his or her skin. Like Martin Luther King Jr. said.

I know it’s a little cheesy to end on that note, but I feel like I’ve expressed all my feelings on this subject. To sum up: “Check Your Privilege” is bullshit, affirmative action is bullshit, and why can’t we all just get along?

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