DEAR TOKEN: How can I help my friend see through her white privilege? Is this really anonymous? LOL.
DEAR ANONYMOUS: That's a great question. And, yes, this really is anonymous. So I have no idea who you are, what you look like, or how your friend's white privilege is affecting you personally. But let's take a step back. What is white privilege anyway?
Here's a simple test that all white people can take to see if they have white privilege. Just answer the following question honestly:
Are you white?
If you said yes, congratulations. You have white privilege.
White people cannot get rid of their privilege any more than birds can get rid of their feathers. It comes with being born white.
You don't have to like it, or even believe it. You don't even have to like other white people (and God knows it's easy to feel that way a lot of the time).
White privilege is like having one of those club cards you get at the supermarket; except the club is America and, even though everybody else still gets to shop there, it'll cost them a little bit more to get the same stuff and they won't get weekly e-newsletter letting them know the mayonnaise (it's gross white people, gross) is on sale and the store is going to discontinue some of their favorite items like healthcare, voting rights, or equal protection.
Privilege is exactly that - a privilege. You don't earn it; you just benefit from it.
You already have the club card. Even if you don't bring it in, the cashier knows your number and you still get the discount. And, while we're beating this metaphor to death, I hear some of you well-meaning whiteys saying, "well I let other people use my discount card" and you can. And you should.
I went to college with a WHOLE BUNCH of white people because somebody let me use their club card. #FinancialAid. But even when you share the card, you still get the bonus points, the 10 cents per gallon off at the gas station, all of it. In short, you can't give your privilege away.
So, to answer your question, you can't get your friend to see through her white privilege. You might be able to get her to not be an asshole to people of color, but even that is probably a lot to hope for if you're at the point of asking Token for advice on the matter.
I'll be honest, if I were white I wouldn't want to see through my privilege either. Thinking about it too long not only causes white guilt, it gives you forehead wrinkles.
Anonymous, if you have a problem with how your friend goes about being white, you should find a new friend. You don't have time or energy to allow yourself to be frustrated by the foolishness of white people. It is all-consuming otherwise. Take comfort in the fact that white privilege is not the be all end all when it comes to humans sizing up the implicit worth of other humans.
If your friend really wanted to feel privileged in America, she'd have to also be a man.
Julian Michael aka "Token" is a former guidance counselor turned comedian, writer, and radio host. Take what he says with a grain of salt, because your food is probably bland anyway. If you found this helpful or interesting, please share with your friends. Got a question? Need advice? Write to #DearToken here!