The investment in white supremacy continues precisely because there is a lot to lose: everything that has been, and is being, stolen.
Being nice isn’t going to solve this problem, and most white people know it deep down inside. This problem is solved once there is true equality. True equality will mean that whites will have to give up real, concrete items in addition to the cultural beliefs they hold, whether conscious or not.
This means the actual promotions will start going to POC, not just whites. It means the kudos and the money will then go to the POC who earned them, not the whites getting them due to extrinsic privilege. It means the competition for jobs will no longer favor whites and will therefore exclude some of them, by definition, from the jobs they got on the basis of whiteness. Because the initial privileging was so profound, the ‘losses’ (ie, the exhibition of actual equality) will be perceived as significant.
Yes, there is a binary component to this in addition to complexity. There are only so many Fortune 500 CEO’s (96% white as of 2016), so many positions in Congress, so many higher level leadership positions, Grammy awards, etc. These areas will necessarily exclude privileged whites in order to allow for performing POC to (finally!) reap the benefits of their hard work.
No matter how subjectively hard whites feel they work, they have an advantage which will go away once others start to get credit for their (actual, real) accomplishments. At that point, those under-performers who are at those higher levels will have to go. This is a real, concrete loss which includes money, and whites interested in real equality will have to drum up the courage to let that money and fame go to those who deserve it.
From a pragmatic standpoint, whites will have to cede things of monetary and cultural value in order to be fair and moral to others. Will they have that moral courage to agree to ‘lose’ things that weren’t theirs to begin with?
Thus far, the bulk of whites simply do not exhibit this sort of morality. The majority of whites continue to maintain the delusion that what they have has been wholly earned, even in the face of what is often profoundly subpar performance.