How many times have you been told to check your privilege? Let’s be honest, the person demanding you do so isn’t trying to get you to challenge you to think about Western Culture. Really they are trying to delegitimize your viewpoint soley because you are white. Ironically while attempting to silence whites they simultaneously use the technology, education and systems of thought developed by white people. People of color also benefit from the culture Europeans developed in comparison to the cultures they came from. I for one believe that those who promote the idea of white privilege are the ones who need to challenge their assumptions.
White people haven’t just been blessed with the culture they live in. It has been evolving and sometimes devolving for centuries. Take as a starting point the Roman era. After fending off attacks from Africa and Europe they then conquered most of Europe, subsuming the cultures of the conquered peoples. An era of peace known as the Pax Romana was ushered in.
This however didn’t last as Rome fell and the dark ages engulfed Europe. At this time China and the Middle East were the preeminent cultures of the world. Once again Europe had to fend off invasions from Asia and the Middle East. Over this time the dominant Roman culture was fragmented leading to the development of regional cultures. Eventually these regional cultures coalesced into nation states.
As these nations fought over territory a great religious reformation led to lots of internal conflict. However a Renaissance was also ongoing which resulted in European culture finally caught up to and surpassed the rest of the world. Cultural upheavals continued with the Age of Enlightenment where reason, analysis and individualism were promoted.
All these cultural revolutions were resisted by many and didn’t come easy. As we can see by observing the Muslim world and China the cultural progressions are not inevitable or permanent. The purveyors of white privilege theory simplify and ignore the history of the culture they despise. They pretend that white people are somehow blessed with privilege just because of their color. By doing so they spit on the graves of millions of the millions of people who fought and died fighting to create this culture and its “privilege.”