In response to Eric Wheeler’s contention ("There is no white privilege" - July 1).
As a white man myself, I understand why Mr. Wheeler feels that white privilege is a made-up construct. After all, I worked hard for what I have. Besides, I have black friends and I strongly believe that everyone should be treated fair regardless of their race. There is no way I am racist.
Clever, indeed. See, all that can be true; in fact, it often is! But what many whites fail to realize is that the system of white privilege works best when those benefiting from it do not realize it exists at all. In the computing field, programmers often strive to create systems that run so well in the background that we don’t notice them at all. A system that does this is “user-friendly” because it allows the user to go about their business without noticing all the processes that are running. This is a good metaphor for white privilege.
Make no mistake, no one who talks about white privilege ever claims that means whites don’t experience poverty or hardship. But it does mean they don’t experience these things because of the color of their skin. When a person is given new information, they have two choices: deny reality or accept it and make better decisions. It’s annoying to learn that not all of what we were taught is true. But aren’t you tired of defending this? There is freedom and redemption in acknowledging it. By doing so, we can then recognize when this system is working and use our privilege to break the cycle of oppression it perpetuates. If we don’t, we are complicit in benefiting from a legacy of racist beliefs. No one loses when we acknowledge this; in fact, we all benefit. Wouldn’t you rather create a user-friendly world for all?