No, not all white people. But a substantial chunk of them. Just look at this collection of white reactions in today's New York Times for examples.
This man just cannot understand the ingratitude.
“A lot of them have gotten better than fair shakes,” said Mark Johnston, a 61-year-old white merchandiser who was on the job on Thursday in Mehlville, in the mostly white and working-class southern reaches of St. Louis County. While expressing sympathy for the Brown family, he said of the events that have unfolded since the shooting — the protests, the looting, the cries of injustice — “I think it’s a crock of stuff, myself.”
A lot of "them?" If, by better than fair shakes, he means having the privilege of driving while black in order to fund the local police force, well, then ok. I don't really blame Mr. Johnston, though. He's just repeating what he watches on Fox News or reads on the Internet. Damn moochers.
You know he'll swear it's not about race but let me tell you about conversations I still have every day about the Affordable Care Act. It starts with them calling it welfare, which is, of course, code for money going to "those people." When I answer that I'm one of "those people" benefitting from it, the response is inevitable. Looking at me sympathetically, they mutter something about how "it's different for [me]."
Translation: Because I'm a middle-aged white chick, I deserve that premium assistance.
That's white privilege right there.
Then there is Mr. White Flight:
“They always want to stir up to trouble, the blacks,” said David Goad, 64, a retired movie projector operator who lives in a neighborhood bordering Ferguson. “I grew up around blacks, so I know how they are,” he said. “That’s why we had to get out in 1962, because it was getting so bad.”
That's just outright racism. Not much more needs to be said about that. There are racists, they do exist, and they will use every opportunity they can find to slam blacks along with just about every other community of color. Rather than living in harmony with folks of other races, he "had to get out."
This guy is the one I've seen way too much of in the past couple of weeks. He is, by the way, no relation to the detestable Phyllis Schlafly.
“Maybe it was my blinders, but if you had said to me three weeks ago that the world would be looking at conflagrations in Gaza, Ukraine and Ferguson, I would have been utterly bewildered,” he said. He is still puzzled, he said.
Bewilderment. The only way you're bewildered by something like this is if you're not paying attention. Story after story after story about young black men being profiled, young black men being unemployed, more black families living in poverty than white families, a different justice system for blacks than whites, yet he is puzzled.
What does that even mean? Trayvon Martin's death should have served as that wakeup call for those most deeply asleep, but he's still puzzled?
Wake up, white folks. If you were dumb enough to be fooled by all the press kumbayas about living in a post-racial society after Obama's election, you need to engage your brains and look around.
When the financial health of your city depends on issuing traffic citations to the people who inhabit it, it won't end well. One article I read this week described how the cycle works. Get pulled over and cited for a traffic violation you didn't commit. Either buy the ticket down to an infraction (assuming you can do that because you have money) or fight it in court. Go to court only to discover the doors of the courthouse have locked you out because the judge convened a half-hour early. On purpose. Now you've got a warrant for Failure to Appear, which then puts a felony on your record, which means you're barred from voting.
And you're puzzled when an entire community rises up and screams because they know in their gut there will be no justice for this unjust, tragic and permanent act?
That's what white privilege looks like. It's ugly, it's destructive, and it's responsible for what just happened over the past two weeks in Ferguson.
Will it ever change?