This essay assumes that the topic of white privilege is merely an obstacle rather than the supplemental information that it truly provides.
Think of discussions of white privilege as another way in which a white supremacist society dismantles itself, rather than focusing on the guilt aspect. People of color, generally speaking, don't care if white people feel guilty or not: as you point out, we want the action. We want to see BOTH:
1. The elimination of ACTIVE RACISM;
and ALSO (this is especially relevant to white liberals):
2. The elimination of PASSIVE RACISM=PRIVILEGE.
This means that BOTH parts of the issue need to be addressed. To deny that white privilege is a very active part of white supremacy--that by rewarding white pp on an extrinsic basis while claiming it is about 'merit'--is to deny much of reality. The fact of the matter is that POCs are maintained as untermensch as a result of BOTH active racism and PASSIVE ACCEPTANCE of white privilege.
Most white liberals, like the people around me, don't need to deal with active racism. I believe that, on a conscious basis, they do believe that POCs are equal. These are not people who would ever use racial or ethnic slurs--at least not in nonwhite company--and will brag about how many black and brown friends they have.
BUT they are passively racist as a result of not acknowledging their privilege. This aspect typically operates at higher socioeconomic levels. For example, C suites and Boards of Directors, as well as government, are jampacked with white pp out of proportion to their percentage in society. At these competitive, zero-sum levels, privilege-- not active racism--is often used to justify elevating mediocre, underperforming white pp to leadership positions they haven't earned. This approach to negotiating superior performance of POCs and their own subpar lack of performance is most clear with college admissions, where any number of rich white pp cannot accept their child's mediocrity and extort, through donations, to set their mediocre child on a path to success that they deem 'earned.' Think about how bizarre this must seem to a wide range of Asians routinely performing at higher levels than their privileged white counterparts and then--as if this isn't bad enough--watching those same white pp JUSTIFY their privileged, extrinsic (free) ride by calling it 'merit'!
So, without attention to white privilege, we ignore a large portion of the way in which our society enriches white pp at higher, competitive (zero sum) levels AT THE EXPENSE OF A WIDE RANGE OF POCS, and negotiates that immorality by inappropriately slapping the word 'merit' on what is actually a free ride!
So, BOTH active racism and passive privilege--ie, acceptance of unearned reward at the expense of an actual performing POC--must be addressed in order to address white supremacy thoroughly.
I agree with you that all socioeconomic parameters must be addressed. The concept of white fragility merely asserts that this additional factor--defaulting to PRIVILEGE, not merit--is also an important approach. White pp give themselves the benefit of the doubt much too often: they dare believe that they earned something when privilege indicates there is no way to know. How can you know what you've earned when so much is gifted through white privilege? White pp can help fix this by assuming privilege, not merit, and then asking who really earned the reward that the white person got for being white, and returning it so that it can be distributed to the person actually showing merit.