“I have unfairly benefited from the colour of my skin. White privilege is not acceptable.”
So says Teresa Downs, Superintendent of Schools, District 74, British Columbia, Canada.
It’s a mantra repeated over and over in schools and college campuses in so many countries. On posters in corridors, and on pin badges issued by the students’ union reminding you to “check your white privilege.”
As we speak, university academics in the UK are being offered seminars about how to discuss the effects of white privilege, with titles like “Walking on the White Side of the Street.”
As if, somehow, the white side is the land of milk and honey.
In the UK, the only white privilege I know is working pretty damn hard in order to pay the highest rate of tax so that a vast swathe of lazy individuals can live for nothing.
And in other places too, being white is no picnic.
I think back to a few weeks ago when I sat with Peter and his wife on the floor of the place they call home in a white slum settlement just outside Pretoria, South Africa...