My friend (let’s call him Steve) has a world view that depends upon a belief that everyone in the United States of America has exactly the same opportunities that Steve does. This way, Steve’s personal success is the result of Steve’s intelligence and hard work. In Steve’s fictional world, he deserves his success. Because he has legitimately earned it. In a field that is completely even, as far as Steve is concerned.
Now, you might think there is no harm is Steve’s world view. What does it matter if he feels a need to consider himself to be smarter and more industrious than he actually is? So what if he fails to recognize the the advantages American society bestows upon him just because he’s a white male?
The problem comes from the casual racism and sexism it engenders. It comes from the belief that people who aren’t successful have only themselves to blame for it. The belief that there is ample opportunity to go around and the only people who fail to succeed only fail due to their own stupidity and/or laziness.
There most certainly is a glass ceiling in this country. There are also a great many doors that are closed to large portions of the population. But neither of these conditions affect white men. Therefore, only white men are able to delude themselves into believing that every person in the United States of America has the same opportunities.
And yes — in the United States of America, all white men are privileged and owe some portion of their success directly to their race and their biological sex. This is a well-documented fact.