Both talk about the importance of recognizing white privilege. And then it becomes a question of what we do with this recognition.
Though I’ve shared this before, it’s particularly germane here: my son – not one to always be the most ‘aware’ or ‘sensitive’ (he’s 13 and age-appropriately sullen and self-absorbed; yes, we are working on that) – asked me over the summer why he gets to be “that kid” and his friend is always “that Latino kid.”
“I just get to be the standard,” he says, “but X has to have some other adjective first. It’s weird and I think it isn’t fair. Why is it like this?”
And so began a long driveway conversation about privilege, feelings of guilt about it, and how best to handle it all. He and I agreed that being aware of it is important. Being aware of how his friends (and, therefore, so many others) have to bear their monikers is important. How this can’t be his guilt, but can and should be something he works to change – in small ways or large, life-defining ways.
And he learned this by going to school with people who are not all like him. By having poor classmates whose parents love them just as much as I love him. By having people in his life who are wonderful and who are jerks regardless of their parents’ income/color/language/heritage/etc. By really getting to know them, every day, in school.
So, yes, I have one way to ‘combat’ the pernicious effects of privilege. It’s a long game. It’s going to school together.