I was looking at American Digest and there was an article about Home Depot with its training material on privilege. I think the first time I heard about privilege, it was another white guy telling me about my white privilege. Not his white privilege, but mine. He was an Ivy graduate. I’m a cow college graduate. Somehow, just looking at race-based privilege didn’t seem to be packing it
I thought I understood white privilege. I don’t want to be another race – I’m comfortable in my pigment-challenged hide. I’ve known some Asian colleagues who were equally comfortable with their privilege. I have the idea that being white provides me a little more opportunity, to succeed or to fail. I don’t have the idea that white privilege is the be all and end all in our competitive world. I might be able to dress out of Muhammed Ali’s closet – we’re about the same size – but my white privilege could never match his abilities.
The Home Depot training material stresses that “If you’re confident that the police exist to protect you, you have white privilege.” I’m not really sure about being confident that the police exist to protect me. Frankly, I’ve encountered police that were more concerned about their own safety than protecting professor Mike even when I was escorting my daughter and her friend through an educational facility. I think Bob Dylan got it best – “the cops don’t need you, and, man, they expect the same.” If I have to be confident that the police exist to protect me, my white privilege is a low rate privilege.