Former NBA player perfectly explains how white privilege works in under 3 minutes

No matter how familiar we might think we are with a concept, it never hurts to brush up.

Especially when it concerns privilege.

Of course there’s still those out there who could definitely stand to learn a little more about what it entails.

Which is why a new video from BBC Bitesize is being praised for how expertly it breaks down what ‘privilege’ is, especially in the case of ‘white privilege’ and racism.

John Amaechi, a former NBA basketball player and psychologist, was asked to discuss what ‘white privilege’ means.

And his answer was simple but excellent.

“Privilege is a hard concept for people to understand because normally when we talk of privilege, we think of immediate, unearned riches and tangible benefits for anyone who has it,” Amaechi said.

Continuing, he explained:

But white privilege – and indeed, all privilege – is about the absence of inconvenience, the absence of an impediment or challenge.

As such when you have it, you really don’t notice it. But when it’s absent, it affects everything you do. 

Amaechi also used other examples of privilege to outline the concept, including an example from his own experiences.

“There are lots of types of privilege out there,” he said.

“Being born into a wealthy family versus a poor family is kind of obvious but then there’s the privilege of being able-bodied versus having or acquiring a disability.

“I have two very close friends who are wheelchair users and when I first met them, I was completely ignorant in the various ways their lives are made harder through no fault of their own.

“Some of these ways are simply thoughtless but some of them are just the way we live. Just the way we build infrastructure, the way everything works, that just makes their life harder than mine.”

Amaechi stressed that understanding privilege doesn’t make someone a bad person or reflect poorly on an individual – but ignoring it does.

He said:

Understanding [privilege] doesn’t make me a bad person. But ignoring it raises the chance that my friends will be excluded in ways that are not obvious to me.

As their friend, I can’t allow that. 

He then explained that you can experience difficulties and still be privileged, observing:

There’s a good chance, as a white person watching this, your life is already hard.

Every day you have to overcome some difficulty or challenge just to get by.

But you can still have white privilege. 

White privilege doesn’t mean you haven’t worked hard or don’t deserve the success you’ve had. 

It doesn’t mean your life is hard or that you’ve never suffered.

It simply means that your skin colour has not been the cause of your hardship or suffering. 

Amaechi’s clear-sighted and compassionate explanation of white privilege is attracting praise.

One person called it “wonderfully clear”.

Another said it was the “best friendliest kindest explanation of white privilege ever”.

However, right wing pundits are leading backlash against the video, in an attempt to dispute Amaechi’s explanation of white privilege.

Darren Grimes, who was recently at the centre of a racism scandal for comments made on his internet web show by historian David Starkey, seemed confused, asking how his “unemployed” brothers were ‘privileged’.

He’d apparently missed Amaechi’s explanation that white privilege doesn’t mean your life is easy; simply that your skin colour is not the source of the hardship.

Maybe some people need to rewatch the video…

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