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Race & Reality in America
01:32 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Blacks are being catered to, and "you can't even talk about whiteness," those who believe in the concept say

But one activist calls the concept a "prolonged whine" from people who resent being challenged about their white privilege

Some call affirmative action a black privilege, but others say whites have been the biggest affirmative action beneficiaries

CNN  — 

Here’s some good news for all you black folks complaining about racism in America.

You don’t know how good you have it.

At least that’s the message I heard during one of the strangest conversations I’ve ever had about race. I was talking about the concept of white privilege – the belief that being white comes with unearned advantages and everyday perks that its recipients are often unaware of. I asked a white retiree if he believed in the existence of white privilege. He said no, but there was another type of privilege he wanted to talk about:

“Black privilege.”

Confused by his answer, I asked him to give me an example of a perk that I enjoyed as a black man that he couldn’t. His answer: “Black History Month.”

“In America you can’t even talk about whiteness,” said Drew Domalick, who lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “If you try to embrace being white, you are portrayed as being a racist. If we had a White History Month, that would be viewed as a racist holiday.”

Domalick isn’t the only one who believes in black privilege. The term is being deployed in conservative circles as a rhetorical counterattack to the growing use of the term “white privilege.” It’s part of a larger transformation: White is becoming the new black.

Google the phrase “black privilege,” and one steps into a universe where whites struggle daily against the indignities heaped upon them because of their skin color. In books and articles such as “Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream,” and “It’s Past Time to Acknowledge Black Privilege,” white commentators describe how blackness has become such a “tremendous asset” that some whites are now trying to “pass” as black.

If you’re a skeptic, there’s even a “Black Privilege Checklist” listing some of the perks blacks enjoy that whites cannot.

A sample: