'White privilege' is not something to feel guilty about. Here's what it does mean.

On some level, we can all agree that things aren't exactly where we'd like them to be.

Does the idea of "white privilege" make you uncomfortable? Angry? Guilty? Attacked? I don't blame you.

It's a hard thing to get your head around, and it feels kind of ... well ... accusatory. But the idea of white privilege isn't itself a bad or good thing; it's just telling us how it is.

And it's broken.


Let's explore an example about how racial inequity in our society is 100% real.


The U.S. Census Bureau decided to examine how wealth* was distributed across race and income. When they looked at the median net worth by race, here's what they found:

That's right, there's massive economic disparity across races at every income level.

And for the poorest of the poor, you can't even see them on the graph. We have to zoom in.

And zoom in EVEN MORE.

Remember, the median net worth for the poorest white household? It was $24,000. The discrepancy is so wide and so real that it is clear society somehow favors those who identify as white.

Something about the way our current system is functioning is not making up for how terribly our past system treated people of color. And that is what white privilege is about.

White privilege is a REAL thing, but it's not a BAD thing.

If life is a race, white people have been running for over 400 years, and black people just started running 50 years ago — and we just got shoes, like, 15 years ago. White people have distinct advantages in life over people of color because of structural racism, discrimination, and disenfranchisement both past and present.

This is not something to feel guilty about, but it is something to act on. Guilt is not productive. But conscious awareness is. White people should not feel guilty about the discrimination of the past but should feel compelled to help correct the inequalities of the present.

Racism still exists, and "colorblindness" makes it worse.

Racism has not disappeared from the country because we have a black president. People of color deal with discrimination on a daily basis, sometimes in small ways (like feeling uncomfortable in a store) and sometimes in big ways (getting killed by a cop despite not being a lethal threat).

The only way to make racism disappear is not to ignore it through “colorblindness" but to actively fight it — in your own mind and the people you know. No real problems have ever been solved by ignoring them. You're much more likely to fall on your face if you're unwilling to look for pitfalls.

Good people do racist things.

When Joe Biden called Barack Obama "articulate," it was kind of racist. But Joe Biden isn't a racist person. He just lets dumb stuff fall out of his face hole sometimes. The word "racist" is loaded because it immediately subjects the accused to shame. Unfortunately, we don't have too many alternatives. I wish we did.

Try to resist the urge to get defensive and listen to the person's arguments with an open mind. They didn't say you were racist. They said that thing you just said was racist. If the arguments make sense to you, change the behavior and move on with your life. Consider it a free self-betterment seminar. If you don't agree, consider changing the behavior anyway if it is feasible to do so. Can't hurt to err on the side of not hurting someone.

The first step — the very first step — is acknowledging that the system is broken. It's also the easiest.

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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