What is White privilege? In this Essay, I explore the privileges that White men take for granted in dealing with the police, even as I acknowledge that the most privileged Americans are still potentially subject to arbitrary and unaccountable police abuses. I also examine the debate over changing the names of places in the United States, as well as taking down the statues of the people who have long been treated as heroes, including the founding generation. The common thread between these two topics is that privilege allows White people not even to notice when they receive favorable treatment. They do not feel privileged when dealing with the police, because their baseline assumption is that they will not be targeted because of their race. They do not feel privileged when thinking about the heroes of American history, because history has always been written largely as the story of White men; so if anyone else tries to think about history in a different way, the proposed changes challenge White people‘s long-held presumptions. It is those very presumptions that are the evidence of privilege.
Neil H. Buchanan, White Privilege: What It Is, What It Is Not, and How It Shapes American Discussions of Policing and Historical Iconography, 31 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 99 (2020)