I appreciate your focus on yourself and agree that we all have implicit biases that we need to examine.
I do think that the approach may be one-pronged in that it lacks true action. Without a doubt, most white people need to examine their internal motivation for constantly relegating themselves ‘first in line’ status. BUT the introspection is not enough; it must be followed with definitive action which acknowledges the vast reaches of this privilege.
Adele acknowledged this privilege, to some extent, when she broke her Grammy in half and gave half to Beyonce. She announced in interviews that she knows when white people give prizes, as a rule they give them to white people. She acknowledged her privilege.
This is the only way to move forward: real action. You noted that white men run the show and that needs to change. Individual white people CAN do this by addressing the individual issues the way Adele did.
I will give you another example: I was involved in recruiting 4 people for administrative positions in a homogeneous white area. A ‘brown’ woman was hired (mixed), a white woman, and a white man. In the 4th case, there were ‘brown’ male candidates (Chinese, Indian) and a white woman. In these cases, both ‘brown’ candidates significantly exceeded the white woman in terms of documented performance, as determined by white men. These men basically followed the white man’s rules and did better than any of the white people around them. The upper level administration was clearly biased: 19/20 white, mostly men, with an attitude to match (just check off the box of diversity and get over it.) They picked the white woman despite overtly poorer performance. This is a woman who has known her colleagues for years and knows they are higher performers.
I asked her why she took the promotion when she knew her colleagues were stronger, and she stated “I earned it.” But there is no evidence of this earning; there is evidence that she got it due to the fact that she’s white. This is the damaged psychology that allows our system to continue: that individual, even knowing she couldn’t compete at an authentic level, managed to switch her psychology so that her white privilege didn’t exist. Something happened in her brain to turn off perception of reality.
This is the place individual white people can do some work. As people of color, we see these inner workings all the time: they constantly work against ALL peoples of color, and in most deleterious fashion against black peoples.
I would suggest that all white people do as Adele did: ask if it was truly earned. Look around: are only white people getting rewards? Are all the brown and black people doing the work? Are they tossing 5 syllable words into the meeting that white men don’t understand because the bar is set lower for them?
Also, I would not disregard the extent to which white women have been ‘allowed’ into this world. In the last decade or so, I’ve watched white women be promoted, as above, because they are white, and I see no greater proclivity in them to act any differently from the white men who they’ve spent so many years criticizing. This is something all people of color should register clearly: unless white women are examining their white privilege, the same thing will continue as it has already started. Some white women act like the doors just opened at a Who concert, and people of color — male, female, black, brown, etc — have been getting stomped by their ignorance. I can tell you that a range of people of color are finding this alarming, and if white women don’t examine this, they are going to find fewer and fewer people of color at their marches.
Each individual white person has an opportunity to look at their own unearned advantage and then ask: did I really earn it? Or did somebody brown or black do a better job, and I just got it because I”m white? What can I do to return this stolen item?
Otherwise, we are depriving our world of what, for example, these two men could have offered. When I checked back a year later, both men had left the company. I’m surprised it took that long…