Aaron Boyd
Oct 16, 2020


This is a pretty great example of how NOT to talk about white privilege.

This cannot be repeated enough: Stop using the word "privilege" to describe basic rights every human being is entitled to.

It is not a "privilege" to be not be murdered by the police. It is not a "privilege" to be protected by the law. It is not a "privilege" to expect to be treated with the basic decency afforded to every human being.

The problem with how a lot of people discuss "white privilege" is that they carelessly conflate "positive privilege"--receiving benefits you did not earn, such as better career opportunities--and "negative privilege"(not having to worry about certain issues, such as police brutality).

These things are related but not interchangeable, and it's counterproductive to lump them together.

When you describe something as basic as being able to rely on the police as a "privilege", you're lowering the bar for what we expect from each other and from society. You're reframing the issues in such a way that basic social services are a luxury and not a right.

Frankly, it's ridiculous and not very helpful to excoriate yourself for "tossing around your privilege" when all you're doing is behaving as if you live in a sane world. The problem isn't that Whites are getting above-average treatment, it's that Blacks are getting below-average treatment (to put it mildly). And the problem needs to be addressed accordingly.