HAVE YOU EVER been made uncomfortable by people who have accused you of benefiting from white privilege, male privilege or being an old white guy? You might as well retreat from that discussion because there is nothing you can say to defend yourself.

Just what is white privilege? What is male privilege? I went online to research these two topics. I learned that white privilege is invisible to those who have it and almost always unacknowledged by them. The same is true regarding male privilege.

Several articles said white privilege is a term used as a blanket condemnation of any success a white person (male or female) may have, regardless of any advantages a minority member might receive such as affirmative action, free tuition, easy loans or tax breaks.

The Urban Dictionary said white privilege is assumed whenever a white person succeeds. “White privilege can exist without white people’s conscious knowledge of its presence,” according to Ioakim Boutakidis, Ph.D., associate professor of Child and Adolescent Studies and acting associate dean of Student Success at University of California’s College of Health and Human Development.

If you think you treat all people as equals, you are probably clueless.

The argument is slavery remains a hideous, indelible stain on American history. We can’t forget generations of discrimination and institutional racism even if our ancestors had nothing to do with it. But at the same time, not everyone should automatically be labeled a racist.

At the heart of the concept is the assertion that “In a racist society, white skin confers on those who live it an extensive array of unearned privileges not available to people of color,” according to Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph.D. 

You might ask “How do we celebrate the accomplishments of white people who have overcome struggles and hurdles?”

The online dictionary said male privilege is much the same. It is a status that is conferred by society to certain groups, not seized by individuals, which is why it can be difficult sometimes to see one’s own privilege. At the same time, equal rights should not confer special rights.

Male privilege is a term used to describe the rights allegedly granted to the male population in society on the basis of their biological sex. If you Google these topics, you can find dozens of examples of white privilege and male privilege. You can’t challenge or argue them without starting a firestorm.

As a card-carrying old white guy, I’m constantly being blamed for every societal and cultural problem holding America back by one minority group or another. White male privilege might be a real thing, but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse in every situation.

I can tell you that my ancestors were not rich. They were farmers, laborers and blue collar. They struggled like everyone around them and very few had the benefit of a college education. Many of them served in the military (Army), including World War I and World War II.

If they were deemed successful, it was because they worked hard, paid their bills and set a good example for each new generation. I don’t know why I should be made to make apologies today for something my ancestors may or may not have done.

It seems like we are constantly being shamed and blamed for the tough road others have had to follow. I can’t find any record of my ancestors having caused that tough road. I don’t think I’m where I’m at in this American journey because of abuse of minorities.

I do know I worked long and hard. Fifty years ago, I probably had $1,000 to my name. I did have a great support team, a work ethic and the opportunity to make good decisions. I had desire and a fear of failing.

I see millions of people of all backgrounds that have become very successful. Some were just lucky, but most had natural talents and gifts. They worked hard and pursued the American dream. I’m sure they all faced tough challenges and made sacrifices.

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DO THINGS HAPPEN to you that make you feel like you are being left behind? When counting your blessings, do you factor in how you scored in the parent/family lottery?

When you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of having your particular family: your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, were they positive role models? Were they supportive and nurturing or did they expose you to destructive behaviors?

When it comes to playing the victimhood card, author David Hanscom, M.D. said “Being a victim is a very powerful role. It actually works very well. There are advantages to being a victim. Victims manipulate those around them until they are challenged. Failure to push back is called enabling.”

Hanscom listed these advantages of a serial victim: others expect less of you, you expect less of yourself, you have a feeling of power which masks the feeling of anxiety and it gives you a sense of entitlement.

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DID YOU KNOW, according to the FBI, there are more than 100,000 foreign spies operating in the United States? How well do you know your neighbors?

Considering our openness and access to just about everything, and considering information and leaks coming from our dysfunctional government, what secrets do we have that would make being a spy a tough assignment?

People seem to want privacy, but then, post details about their personal lives on social media. Cyber hackers seem to be able to access our personal information at will. Americans are an open book. Spying on Americans is a pretty easy gig.