In her 2017 blog post titled "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race," award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with how discussions of race and racism in Britain were perceived and anchored.
"White privilege is an absence of the consequences of racism. An absence of structural discrimination, an absence of your race being viewed as a problem first and foremost," she wrote.
In her submission, Eddo-Lodge summed up the reason why white people seldom join discussions of racism when she said "white privilege is an absence of the consequences of racism." Perhaps the dilemma Black people face when they encounter white privilege is its lack of consequence; in fact, white privilege is the status quo.
White people struggle to discuss race. Even when they do, the discussion changes when you throw "White Privilege" into the discussion; this is always followed with awkwardness—and defensiveness—which can multiply astronomically.
The reality that a White person's whiteness has come—and continues to come—with an array of benefits and advantages not shared by many people of colour is no longer surprising. Many white people have begun to admit that their skin colour gives them access to many privileges which people of colour do not have access to.
"It doesn't mean that I, as a White person, don't work hard (I do) or that I haven't suffered (well, I have known struggle), but simply that I receive help, often unacknowledged assistance because I am White," an unidentified white lady admitted during an interview with YES! Magazine.
One of the significant situations that have portrayed the true nature of white supremacy is the way blacks are treated by the police – white policemen who perceive blacks as the opposite of order – and wrongly so.
There have been multiple cases of white police officers opening fire at blacks who show no form of resistance or pose no threats to society. In contrast, white criminals who perpetrate hideous crimes are dismissed with a slap on the wrist.
It is a natural occurrence for violent white protests against being protected and escorted by police. In contrast, peaceful protests involving both the elderly and kids have been met with stiff resistance not fit for criminals on death roll.
A good example is an incident involving nearly 1,000 White college students who gathered to party in Columbus, Ohio. They came to celebrate the "Chitt Fest," a series of spring block parties. But this year, their brand of fun included damaging property and flipping seven cars. When the police responded, the revelers seem unfazed and unbothered. Flipping cars without a care is the apex of White privilege.
The officers responded to the event from a distance. Using a megaphone, they said, "They'll come down when it's safe for them." When it comes to confronting Black protesters, police seem to have the will of fire.
Yet, when it comes to confronting White people, their demeanor changes. Even when students damaged property, the police didn't give them a hard time. Those White students partied until they couldn't party anymore. Police officers did not threaten them, though they did ask them to disperse. None of these students made it into cuffs or the back of a police car.
Before Black protesters take to the streets to protest racial inequality, officials prepare. They issue warnings and set curfews.
"Everyone must remain calm and peaceful. We will have order." These preemptive measures feed into a dangerous stereotype about Black people. Namely, they are more difficult, noncompliant, and wreckless than White people. The irony isn't lost because when White students refused to leave the party, police didn't force them.
White privilege works on two different levels. On one level, White privilege shields White people from the harsh treatment Black people receive. White people do not have to live in fear of police brutality, for example. This privilege is passive and does not require any action by the individual who benefits.
On another level, White people can abuse their White privilege. When they do, they test the limits of what's socially acceptable.
With only a few days off the first anniversary of George Flloyd's death after his gruesome murder in the hands of police officers – all white, black communities are still conscious that the war and stigmatization are not over. There will be another George Floyd, and there are millions of white supremacists who share the same ideologies as Officer Derek Chauvin.
It remains a sad reality that the tree of racism and white supremacy has continued to blossom despite the educational and technological advancements across the globe. Black people must come together to solve this dilemma, not to contest white privileges, but to create structures and standards that will not make us slaves to their beliefs and systems.
What are your thoughts?