As part of Donald Trump’s “Only White Lives Matter” 2020 campaign theme, his administration announced last Friday it would stop spending federal funds to teach racial sensitivity training to government employees because to Trump such programs are “divisive” and “un-American.” One facet of this new Trump administration policy mandates identifying all programs that teach about “white privilege” and “divert[ing] federal dollars away from these un-American propaganda training sessions.” The irony of Trump denying that white privilege exists is that he’s the poster child for it.
Here’s the truth: White privilege is real. It provides white people with tangible benefits that for the most part they take for granted. I know, because I used to have white privilege. But being of Arab heritage and Muslim, my white privilege was revoked in the years that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
It’s often been said that “race is a social construct” in America. To that very point, noted African-American historian Nell Irvin Painter explained, “Race is an idea, not a fact.” Well, I’m the living, breathing example of that concept come to life. I was for all practical purposes a white person before 9/11. And as such, I had all the benefits encapsulated by the term white privilege.