My comment is not simply about the way individuals behave. It is about group behavior.
Yes, white men have done quite a bit for white women, though I don’t doubt, as you imply, that they aren’t doing it out of a sense of generosity. White men, centuries ago, created a world in which nobody else had the opportunity to win: they declared everybody on the planet ‘subhuman’ with the exception of Europeans. That automatically included white women, who were necessary in order to maintain their dominance: white women did the work at home, essentially unrewarded from a financial perspective but protected by the concept of ‘whiteness.’ Without this concept, they would have to compete on an even playing field and one must assume they knew they couldn’t.
‘Whiteness’ is like having permanent property that gives automatic free benefit to the white person. Of course, in order to do so, it must create an ‘inferior,’ which is black. The rest of us are in between, and used in whatever way maintains that power for white people. Most people don’t want to admit that what they’ve convinced themselves they’ve ‘earned’ was actually handed to them at somebody else’s expense. However, as group psychology and reality goes, this is what happens for white people: to some extent, they ‘get’ things that are taken from others, and a lot of dysfunctional (?criminal) psychology goes into convincing themselves they ‘earned’ it.
White men protect white women. Why else would more than half of the white women in America vote for a clear-cut misogynist?! They know that their whiteness is more valuable than their gender is an impediment. Deep down, white women know that they have a freebie POC”s don’t get, but most of them lack the courage to admit it.
Meanwhile, POC who can see their performance level is higher are acutely aware of what we are not getting while the lower performer gets it. White women are not excluded from this.
Yes, white women and white men had something to do with refunneling affirmative action monies that should have gone to POC, and in particular black peoples. These were laws enacted at the time which allowed white people to be included when the original goal was African-Americans. Yes, a group of white people made this choice, because they wanted to protect whiteness. Why include white women when you have a list of nonwhite women, and you know that some of these will be taken from POC and given to white women? If you already have women included, the only reason to include white women is to protect ‘whiteness.’ This may not be the specific fault of individual white women, but because our society fosters this ignorance — that is, that white people have ‘earned’ when in fact the task of ‘earning’ is much harder for POC — we will continue to see white women accept these things as if they earned them.
Please refer to Adele’s Grammy win. She is the rare white woman who seems to understand that her win comes, at least in part, only because she is white. She broke it in half and gave half to Beyonce.
Until we have an actually fair system that rewards the performer without favoring whiteness, all white people should be making an effort to see where what they call ‘earn’ is actually gifted as a result of being white, and return these items as any basic moral behavior would dictate.
Adele is only one example: our society, at this late stage of centuries of white privileging, should be filled with these examples.