Trying to explain white privilege to someone who has experienced it their whole life can not only be daunting, but nearly impossible.
By its very definition, white privilege is experienced daily without cease—Tim Wise, an author and anti-racism educator, explains white privilege as "any advantage, opportunity, benefit, head start, or general protection from negative societal mistreatment, which persons deemed white will typically enjoy, but which others will generally not enjoy."
White privilege became a particularly hot-button topic when the Black Lives Matter movement made an appearance. Those who don’t seem to understand white privilege (and even deny that it exists) began fighting against the Black Lives Matter movement with another movement—All Lives Matter.
One person described the difference between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter.
Using an analogy based around food, Reddit user GeekAesthete explains how ridiculous the All Lives Matter movement sounds:
Imagine that you're sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don't get any. So you say, "I should get my fair share." And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, "Everyone should get their fair share." Now, that's a wonderful sentiment — Indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad's smart-a** comment just dismissed you and didn't solve the problem that you still haven't gotten any!
The problem is that the statement "I should get my fair share" had an implicit "too" at the end: "I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else." But your dad's response treated your statement as though you meant "only I should get my fair share," which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that "everyone should get their fair share," while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.
Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase "black lives matter" also has an implicit "too" at the end: It's saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying "all lives matter" is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It's a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means "only black lives matter," when that is obviously not the case. And so saying "all lives matter" as a direct response to "black lives matter" is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem.
Despite an enormous amount of explanation about this concept, white privilege still needs to be explained again and again, particularly to those who experience it. It is because of their privilege, however, that they are able to ignore the problem.
That’s where Chicago Theological Seminary, a religious organization which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ but educates future ministry leaders in 40 different faiths, comes in.
In a powerful ad, one white guy is given a pair of glasses that help him see the way someone of color experiences the world. It changes everything from how a woman with a baby reacts to his approach, to how seemingly innocuous signs can actually spell out oppression and ignorance. Not only that, but the ad ends with a typical encounter with a police officer that has our white-guy protagonist quickly taking the glasses off.
Check out the video to see if you need a pair of “white privilege glasses”:
Banner Image Credit: CTS ChicagoHD/YouTube