Ok, there is a lot here…tons.
Leon Cato
63

First of all, I want to tell you I very much appreciate the fact that even though you clearly disagree with me, you took the time to read what I wrote and respond to it in a detailed and engaged way. Like you, I try to expose myself on purpose to the ideas of those I disagree with in order to avoid getting trapped in a bubble of like-minded groupthink, and I wish more people would do this because I know I’ve learned a lot this way.

On to your substantive point. I responded to someone else recently who had made some similar points to yours, and I think you might find that response helpful. The one major point of yours that isn’t addressed there is why I’d recognize that white privilege refers to something real but would still feel like the term is racist and shouldn’t be used. The real thing that white privilege refers to is that there are many ways in which our society — largely through vestiges of racist institutions and people’s unconscious biases— tends, generally, to make certain aspects of daily life more difficult for black people. And I don’t have any problem with someone talking about those things if they feel so inclined. But I do have a problem with people giving this an overbroad label that creates a misimpression that white people are inherently “privileged,” which, of course, is not the case for most white people, who have plenty of struggles, just like everyone else, and then I have an even bigger problem with people taking this racially coded label and throwing it around left and right to call out, silence, bully and intimidate people with whom they disagree about racial issues. As I pointed out in my original article and in the response I linked to above, I could come up with an equally racist phenomenon called black entitlement, which is all the things black people in America can take for granted that others have to struggle with, and even if all or some portion of the 50-item list of black entitlement I came up with is based on truth, the fact remains that, just like the “white privilege” list, it is still just generalizations and stereotypes, so that, no matter how true, it’s still racist to talk about all white people or all black people in this way.

Talking about systemic prejudices and problems that blacks or whites are more likely to experience in their daily lives is fine. Talking about “white privilege” or “black entitlement,” however, is racism, pure and simple.

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