I am glad you wrote this. I come to Medium primarily to engage in reasoned dialogue with intelligent people who hold alternate perspectives.
I considered addressing each claim about “white privilege” point by point. Then I thought better of it because you close your response by correctly stating “these are a few examples”. If I refute 10 examples you will cite 10 more.
Besides, many of them are definitely true.
I would like to parse through the privileges that you cite by category, rather, than specific examples, because I think the results of such a dialogue have more import.
“Privilege”, implies that there is benefit to the privileged and/or harm to those without privilege. Your inability to joke about cancer, for example, does not harm you. (As an aside, I suspect that Ebola jokes are based on geography not race. If ebola were common to Orientals in southeast Asia or whites in the hicks of Australia the jokes would be as common.) Similarly, “you’re pretty for a black person” does not harm you. You can just as easily respond “you’re pretty for a white person”.
So asserting “white privilege” about things that have little if any genuine impact is beneath your gifts.
But there are issues you raised that have real consequence.
What you label “white privilege” I label prejudices.
I want to examine one particular example that you cited.
Are you more likely to be suspected of shoplifting and monitored in a store than I am because of our skin hues?
I think the answer is both yes and no.
If Oprah Winfrey or any well dressed (non celebrity) black person walks into a store at the same time as a white guy whose face is covered in tattoos walks in, security will fixate on the white guy as a more likely threat.
So that is not as much a race issue as it is a class issue.
If two teens walk in dressed in the same style clothing and one is black and the other is white, will security pay more attention to the black teen? My gut says “probably”.
But I also think that the black teen is as likely to be scrutinized by a black security guard a white security guard. I wonder if you would disagree.
There is no doubt that we all have prejudices. Some negative some positive.
Black people are assumed to be uneducated, lazy, thugs. They are also assumed to be genetically superior in sport and to have exceptional rhythm.
I am Jewish. So people assume that I am a crafty (for self_interest), rich (through theft), cheat, with poor hygiene, who cares only about other Jews. I am also assumed to be an intelligent, educated professional.
Perceived as a white male, it is assumed that I am a dork, who cannot dance and if you watch any movies this century, I am fairly stupid compared to any other minority. Since I am not gay, I must be incapable of matching socks unless a woman helps me. I also must shut the hell up because I have “white privilege” so I cannot POSSIBLY understand what anybody else feels. I am either a complete pussycat or a mysogynist. There is no in between. It is also assumed that my forebears were slaveowners and I carry resentment toward black people even though my ancestors arrived in North America decades after the Civil War.
There are countless negative stereotypes. Blondes are dumb. Women cannot drive. Midwesterners are inbred.
We ALL face prejudices.
Some are gender based, some are race based, some are religion based. Nobody is exempt.
So we all have privileges.
The most blatant privileges have nothing to do with race.
A pretty black teen is more likely to sweet talk her way out of a moving violation, get a few freebies thrown her way at a restaurant, or have doors held for her, than an overweight 50 year old white woman.
The pretty privilege (for both men and women) destroys what you label “white privilege”.
A wealthy, older, black man is more likely to be treated with a great deal more respect by virtually everybody than a 25 year old, white, blue collar worker.
“Wealth privilege” dominates “white privilege”.
A lot of people today, try to make divisions about race, but it is largely inaccurate and ultimately self-defeating.
You can choose to spend your life complaining about some truly awful, inhuman, crap dumped on your ancestors 150 years ago and I can choose to spend my life complaining about truly awful, inhuman crap dumped on my ancestors in the Holocaust 70 years ago.
How will that make the lives of blacks or Jews any better at all? How would that help either of us as individuals? How will acknowledgement from white people that there are certain things that suck about being black help black people?
We, as a society need to mature to the point that we stop worrying about being judged. If somebody thinks you got that job because you’re black, prove them wrong. I do not know if Clarence Thomas was appointed to the SCOTUS, in part, because he is black. He may have been. He has proven to be a brilliant judge. So who cares?
You do not need approval or recognition of black struggles from me and/or any and every white person to grow and be wildly successful.
To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, growth for minorities comes when we STOP fixating on people based on their race or color of their skin, but rather fixate on the character of their person.