Have you ever wondered why there are so many terms for white people? Caucasian is often the designation on the census form. Anglo-Saxon has been attached to white and Protestant to give us the acronym WASP. Nazis and skinheads refer to whites as Aryans.
Why are wars so common given that they are so destructive? When they are so rarely won? When they are so often fought for reasons that turn out to be lies? When they invariably bring out the worst in human brutality? How do individuals and societies recover from such destruction and mendacity?
White privilege is knowing that when you are shopping alone you won’t be followed or harassed, says columnist Christine Emba. It means that when you buy a house in a nice neighborhood, you can expect your neighbors to be nice or neutral, not hostile toward you. “It’s the level of societal advantage that comes with being seen as the norm in America, automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender, or other factors,” says Emba. “It makes life smoother, but it’s something you would barely notice unless it were suddenly taken away—or unless it had never applied to you in the first place” (Washington Post, January 16).