Yes, my kids have it easier. Yes, I had it easier. My Dad did not have it easy, but he had opportunities, and took advantage of them. All of this is at the end of a chain of sacrifice and risk-taking that stretches back to at least 400 AD. Political turmoil in an area that was later Denmark, combined with tales that there was a warmer and wealthier land to the southwest, across the North Sea. Traders led the way, followed by larger and larger bands of raiders that eventually came to stay. They conquered an area that became known as Danelaw, which was then absorbed into England. Their Viking genes added a hard edge to Norman and Scottish blood. Great Britain went on to conquer much of the world, including a part of North America that later became the US.
Then, as a result of lack of opportunity in Great Britain, my paternal grandfather and his family immigrated here in the 20s. They worked in the auto factories. My Dad joined the Army. The Army sent him to college where he became a dentist and served in the Korean War. His MASH unit was overrun by North Koreans, who machine-gunned the patients in their beds. That part was not included in the famous TV series.
My Dad in turn made sure that his sons also went to college. I made money at Microsoft. My brother is tenured faculty at a prestigious medical school. Both of my kids went to college, and my two nephews both have doctorates in the sciences.
The phrase ‘white privilege’ is meant to point out unearned privilege, with two goals:
- Ensure that progressives and blacks continue to view America as racist.
- Keep America from focusing on what will actually help black America: resurrection of the black family, improving inner city schools, lowering the crime rate in black neighborhoods.
From my point of view it’s the result of “a chain of sacrifice” that begins with death-defying Norsemen, and continues through people like Andrew Carnegie and those soldiers left behind in their hospital beds. All of them wanted, in the current phrase, to ‘pass it on’.
The Bottom Line
I celebrate my privilege. My forefathers earned it, and gifted it to me. I pass it on to my kids as best I can, certain that my great-grandfather the blacksmith from Motherwell would be heartbroken and scornful if I didn’t.
Don’t bother denying it exists. If you’ve got it, celebrate white privilege as a gift from your predecessors.