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Don’t overuse the term white privilege

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By Michael d’Oliveira

White privilege exists.

But not everything can be blamed on white privilege.

Not everything distasteful a white person does is because of white privilege. Sometimes, white people act like assholes because they’re assholes. It has nothing to do with skin color.

After first hearing the term, I grew accustomed to seeing it applied to situations such as white people wearing black face or dressing up like Nazis at Halloween parties. There’s certainly a case that can be made there for an example of white privilege.

But white privilege is an important issue that needs to be discussed. There are fundamental flaws that won’t ever be fixed unless we face them – all of us, including white people.

But if you overuse white privilege, you’re going to wear it out and make people sick of hearing it. In fact, they’re already sick of hearing it when it’s used legitimately.

But don’t wear it out for no good reason.

Like saying a white guy taking a baseball from a child is white privilege. Such as what happened at a recent Chicago Cubs game.

“America’s favorite pastime: white privilege,” wrote one Facebook user.

As a video from Inside Edition further explores, the man in question gave away every ball he got to other kids. The initial video looks worse than it actually is.

But even if this guy was taking baseballs from little kids instead of giving them to little kids, it’s quite a quick jump to blame it on white privilege.

Is every bad thing a white person does because of their skin color?

Can’t white people acting poorly just be explained, at least some of the time, on the fact that they aren’t good people or make poor decisions?

Why is it okay to paint white people with a broad brush?

Isn’t that the definition of racism and bigotry? Blaming a person’s actions on their skin color?

Words can be very useful. They can bring people together and help each other come to a greater understanding of how other people think and feel.

Or they can be used to divide people and create anger and animosity.

If every time a white person does something controversial and it gets blamed on white privilege, how are other white people going to feel about that? Is it going to make them want to make an effort to confront real white privilege or is it going to make them feel singled out?

Conversations only happen when two people participate.

Yes, white people need to join in the conversation about white privilege.

But they’re only going to do that if they don’t think it’s just another way of calling them racist.

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