I think you are oversimplifying the concept of White privilege and drawing parallels that aren’t really valid. This article, which I wrote for Reader’s Digest, clears up some of the common misconceptions about White privilege and how people often twist its meaning to suit whatever argument they’re making. In short, a White person who is born poor and/or physically challenged still has inherent privileges that a Black person born under the same circumstances do not.
I dislike buzzwords like “identity politics” because they oversimplify complex qualities that aren’t purely political in scope. Things like race and sexual orientation inform not only political ideology but who we are and how we respond to the world. Those details about us are important, especially when talking about things like discrimination, because whether you want to admit it or not, they influence our points of view. There are some things a straight White man will never really understand about the experiences of a gay Black man and how those experiences shape his views unless the straight White man can get out of his own head. That’s just the way it is.
My niece has been targeted by boys too, and as good as your advice is, and I’m sure that’s what my sister in law has been telling her, my niece still has to deal with this stuff now. A stiff upper lip and strong backbone won’t ease the pain, especially when society is constantly reinforcing it. People have to be open to having uncomfortable discussions about racism and stop treating it like we are overstating the havoc it wreaks. For many of us, reacting to it is not optional. I don’t know if you have any close friends who are Black, but if you do, I would suggest listening carefully to them, and not from an analytical place where you are carefully forming your rebuttal, but from a purely emotional place. As much as I respect your points of view (and probably agree with them more often than you agree with mine), they seem to usually come from an extremely practical place and ultimately have very little heart. There’s always a “but,” and sometimes there shouldn’t be.