In response to “Character, Not Skin Color” (Sept. 6) I, too, am a white male of middle age, and very grateful to have been born in the USA.
I don’t believe that the term “white privilege” is meant as an insult. It is an acknowledgement that people of European descent have some distinct advantages within contemporary American society, and have done since the founding of our nation. It can be used a bit snidely in reference to many white Americans’ inability to admit that these advantages exist.
There is no need to feel guilt, but yes, as someone who was born in the US, a white male, to two parents in a committed relationship, I certainly won the lottery of birth.
I have been on a journey, this past year or two, of deliberately growing my ability to hear what others of different backgrounds and experiences are trying to tell those of us who fit neatly within the predominant culture. I am becoming uncomfortably aware that I am the beneficiary of a system that tacitly, and at times blatantly, acts to preserve these advantages.
If anyone is interested in hearing some great stories from people of all walks oflife, I highly recommend the following podcasts: This American Life, The Moth, Invisibilia, and Conversations with People Who Hate Me.