The Problem with the Term ‘White Privilege.’

Political Discussion, Uncategorized

Make no mistake, I am not like some people who do everything they can to claim their European heritage, to insist that they are ‘Spanish’ and not Mex-icky-can.[1]

I make no effort to insist that I am white. And yet I have privilege (even if, for all intents and purposes, borrowed).

We are supposed to talk about our privilege in negative terms, and certainly any and everything that gives us an unfair, unearned advantage over others is a rotten thing, but I need to advocate for my privilege just for a second, only to state that I reject being white and I still have it. This is partially because I live in a city and a region[2] where most people look, act, and smell[3] like me… And that’s my point.

[1] But, also make no mistake, I do not speak Spanish even though I have lived along the US-Mexican border my entire life. People are insulted when they address me in Spanish and I respond in English or give them an uncomfortably confused look. The embrace of my culture that I claim is problematic to be sure, but I do not try to erase the impossible journey my great-grandmother made in order to escape an abusive and cold husband. I do not try to erase the fact that she walked, with three small children, hundreds of miles of desert, fleeing dozens of authorities, and dredged across the muddy scar that people use to separate everything here from there. I do not try to deny that I am here because of her.

[2] Current demographics for El Paso, Texas are ~80% Hispanic/Latino. “Hispanic,” in many cases is coded as “White” but always with a caveat distinction (with it’s own percentages) labeled “White, Non-Hispanic.” A no-mans-land of pseudo-belonging…

[3] Surely cultures and regions have distinct smells…


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