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Don't Call It White Privilege While Talking About Black Lives Matter

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

Because it defeats the whole point

A black woman with lovely hair
A system favoring a certain race of people in terms of opportunities and benefits is not a privilege: it is exploitation of others` basic rights.

Here's an opinion of a dark-skinned Indian woman whose parents didn’t raise her with the entitlement of a tall, blond, white man. They raised her with the entitlement of an Indian woman, which wasn't any less:

Dear white, brown and black friends (words to never define your friends with),

I seriously believe if you say something too many times, it stays in the mind.

Many white people have shown support for black people by describing how they had things easy because of being white. This tells me that there still exists a sort of unwitting “white pride,” while the focus should rather only be on uplifting black people and other races.

Sure, many white friends of yours might understand the problem if you make them realize the privileges they’ve had, whether noticed or unnoticed, but that’s not the correct way.

You don’t explain to a man that a woman should be “allowed to work” because men oppressed women for a long time. The whole point is to realize that men are not in charge of deciding for women.

The fight against racism is a lot like feminism, the biggest difference only being that in racism, discrimination exists based on your race, not gender.

Similarly, you can’t explain Black Lives Matter by reinforcing that whites have been superior for a long time. It only reasserts a concept that should not exist in the first place and puts a race in a superior position by default. Black Lives Matter, and it’s not a question.

To support #blackouttuesday, one of my white friends posted this on his Instagram: “White people generally underestimate the racial discrimination that prevails. We (white) people rarely observe any. And unfortunately too often we build opinions only based on our own experiences. And if you were to understand the importance of a topic and disagree, don’t remain silent. Silence is acceptance. So, today, I stand up against a privilege I don’t want.”

Beautiful words. I instantly liked the post.

And then, I thought again.

Here’s what white people miss; the point is not to stand up against a privilege, the point is to stand up against exploitation.

The point is not to give up your white privilege. The point is to realize it is not privilege that you have or ever had.

A system favoring a certain race of people in terms of opportunities and benefits is not a privilege: it is exploitation of others` basic rights.

If we continue to fight against racism by saying that “white people have privilege,” perhaps it’s time to step back and re-evaluate our words, to hit where it really needs to hit, to get what we really want: stopping exploitation of other races.

If you are white and you feel you have “privilege” because of it, it might be an idea to check if there is any lingering pride there.

If the history books told you that you ruled this country or these people, perhaps they should have written you looted this country and exploited these lives. ***

This article was previously published in Little Things That Matter.

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