One of the signs of white privilege is apparently not allowing any accusations of white privilege to exist.
Plenty of white people are angry about an image posted by the United Church of Christ's Facebook page offering "10 Ways You Can Actively Reject Your White Privilege."
The image is an abridged version of a post made on the church's blog, NewSacred.org, by editor Marchaé Grair and entitled "So you say you’ve got white privilege. Now what?" The blog has some suggestions about how to actually help fight racism as opposed to simply being a performative "ally," which must be why it ended up proving too controversial for many.
The post has since been shared almost 10,000 times on Facebook with thousands of comments, many from white people rejecting the very idea that white privilege is even a thing.
Donald Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord even whined about the post in a CNN segment, saying "My own Church has got somebody there who's putting out a statement that if you're white, you're a racist and there's nothing you can do about it."
Both Lord and most of the commenters seem to be most alarmed by the tenth item on the list: "Recognize that you're still racist, no matter what." The original blog post expands on that idea a bit more:
Recognize that you’re still racist. No matter what. Sometimes, anti-racist allies talk in an “us vs. them” framework when they discuss race, with the “us” being POC and anti-racist allies and the “them” being racist people. That’s an oversimplification of centuries of racism, and it also avoids one simple truth.White people always benefit from institutionalized racism, no matter how anti-racist your ideologies may be. You can’t disconnect yourself completely from the racism from which you benefit, and recognizing that is a large step in rejecting white privilege.
The idea that white people benefit from institutional racism regardless of their views isn't exactly radical or crazy, but don't tell that to these commenters.
Grair, the author of the original post, shared some of the less restrained comments on her Twitter feed.
Update: In an e-mail interview, Grair told Fusion that she wrote the blog post to try and make people uncomfortable about their privilege, so the response didn’t surprise her too much.
"If people feel victimized by a critique of their racism, imagine how victimized I feel by actually experiencing that racism,” she wrote.
She said she doesn't have plans for an immediate follow-up to the post, but that she plans to continue to campaign for social justice on the blog.
"In the age of the Internet, trolls and Internet bullies want advocates to be silent because having a voice translates into claiming power," she wrote. "Refusing to be silent after writing this blog—even in the face of people trolling me and calling me racial slurs—is my message to people that the message of racial justice is more powerful than bullies who attempt to silence it."