You’ve missed part of the point.
The reality is that people of color, and especially Black people, are oppressed both by active oppression towards them AND by the favoritism white people receive. This is a two-pronged issue, and ignoring that white privilege plays a part is to ignore a big portion of it.
Let me elaborate:
- On the racist side, there are people who actively support white dominance through certain choices such as voting, etc. This is the ACTIVE racist side, the one which it seems you understand. In this regard, reparations helps to compensate for ACTIVE racist acts.
2. On the passive/white privilege side, there may not be conscious, active racism, but the privilege itself dictates circumstances that support white supremacy. For example, corporations are much less diverse at higher levels, where there is virtually always a much higher number of white pp than there are at lower levels. At these higher levels there is more money, more prestige, and more ability to advance on an extrinsic basis — on the basis of whiteness. Because important decisions are made at these levels, these need to change their proportion of white to other and include more POCs. They don’t, at least not in any appreciable way. I’ve worked for corporations for about 30 years, at times at these higher levels, and they promote a form of discrimination when they favor each other, even if they never make negative comments about POCs.
That is WHITE PRIVILEGE. For some reason, white pp perceive themselves as higher quality, more likely to be real leaders, and deserving of the highest rewards society has to offer. My experience is that this is the fact most white liberals don’t want to see: that they truly believe in their superiority, at least as a collective.
If this privilege isn’t addressed, we will never see true changes in society. It must be that pp with privilege admit that they have it, because real power is negotiated at these higher levels. If white privilege doesn’t exist, neither does POC discrimination. I can assure you, Mr. Hurst, that discrimination is active, that it maintains white mediocrity at higher levels, and that it usually does so NOT through overt racism but through the covert and continual promotion of white pp by white pp AT HIGHER LEVELS.
This isn’t as much about feeling guilty when a cop pulls you over and hassles you less than a black person. It is about how privilege works at higher levels, where power is negotiated. At those levels, white people who perceive themselves as not overtly or actively racist should be asking themselves how their extrinsic rewarding is stealing things — such as promotions, money, awards, houses in ‘white’ neighborhoods, etc — from a POC that likely performed at a higher level. No guilt is needed; it is simply that, if you are white, you default to ‘privilege’ not ‘merit,’ and let the POC that exhibited true merit despite constant discrimination get that promotion, award, etc.
No guilt needed: just the right action. Assume, if you are white, that you got it because you’re white and that a POC likely actually earned it. That would result in proper behaviors: that is, the white person would question the promotion, thus leading to POCs’ admission to higher levels.
Overt racism is not the only kind. The other kind is white privilege, bc it destroys POC opportunity even when our performance is better.