I’m supposed to go to a major corporation this afternoon and speak about white privilege.
Of course I’m going to speak about white privilege. Who better to speak about the advantages white folks in our society enjoy than an over-educated, middle-aged white guy from the suburbs? Why wouldn’t I be going?
I mean, that’s why they invited me, right?
So, why do I feel so conflicted about it?
When it comes to white privilege, I’m exhibit A. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, to be sure. My folks didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. But, let’s be honest, even when I was jobless for a time in the recent economic crisis, afraid that we might lose our house, I always secretly believed that things would turn out fine.
Why did I think that? Because, all things considered, things had always turned out fine for me.
Can you hear the assumptions at work in such a view of the world? I’ve always believed, whether or not I could articulate it, that the physical laws of the world ensured me a certain buoyancy, a manufacturer’s guarantee that things would never get so bad that somehow the world would fail to bear me up. It doesn’t mean I don’t get scared; merely that I assume the world is built to work for people like me. Somewhere along the line, something will happen to make things turn out right.