There's a simple White Privilege test that I apply whenever meeting anyone who may be an unconscious carrier of the White Privilege germ. It is as easy and reliable as the home pregnancy test. That is, the test tells you quickly and with a reasonable margin for error whether a person is White Privileged or a Totally Cool & Down White Person.
The test is this. Just ask the person some version of this question: "Do you understand that things could go wrong?"
"Do you get that things go wrong?" "You know how that might go badly, right?" "You see how that might be a bad idea?" You can ask these questions to yourself as well.
|There is no possible way that this could have a bad outcome for anybody.|
See, the central tenet/symptom of White Privilege is this: Things Are Supposed To Work Out For You. Thus, you never need a plan. You never need to anticipate anything that happens in the real world. Because, as we all know from watching TV and movies, the white male is the hero, deserves to find love with the nice girl (also the Asian girl, the Latina girl the Black girl and the manicpixiedreamgirl), has a righteous mandate to get rid of anyone who stands in his way, and will always win in the end.
So when you meet that guy who goes, "Aaah, let's just play it by ear. We'll get there and figure it out. Don't worry. Think positive. I have confidence," la la lah, WATCH OUT.
What that guy means to himself is, "I'll get there, have a beer, talk to the pretty girl, and everything will turn out all right."
What that guy does to the world is, fuck everything up with his ignorant careless know-nothingness.
People of Color and women (that is, about 70-80% of the world) know that Things Go Wrong. They learn it from life. If they don't, it's because their parents own A) a sports team or B) a country.
White People should know that Things Go Wrong, but sometimes they are not given the opportunity to learn. Sometimes you just get the girl, or the job, or the chance, for no observable reason except, things are working out for you.
Being aware that Things Go Wrong, and sometimes you make them go wrong, is a quality that makes you a better person. I think it's Louis C.K. who said (paraphrasing), "When you say to yourself I'M SO STUPID HOW COULD I DO THAT, that's you learning never to do that thing again." It's a far superior way to approach life than the White Privileged way, which is, "Everything I do is okay, because I'm a great person."
When you're aware that things could go wrong, you are a functioning useful part of the world.
- You can notice when things are going wrong for another person, and maybe help them out.
- You can perceive trouble coming down the street, and with your awareness that Shit Does Happen, you can avoid trouble instead of walking right up to it.
- You make plans that anticipate all the things that could go wrong, and you don't absurdly expect that your plans will work, ever. But at least you have a plan.
- You talk to women respectfully, because you understand that you might not get to have sex with them, in fact the total opposite of that might happen.
- You are not James Franco, Donald Sterling, or any kid who goes to Princeton.
Look, I don't care if you were born rich or worked your way up out of the widget-selling fields; if somewhere along the way you learned that It Is Not All About You, then you have a chance of living a White-Privilege-free life.
Do you realize that things could go wrong? You do? Excellent. Let's try to do something anyway.