White male privilege is so much more than statistics about college and careers, it is much more than the opinions that are held on the topic. More than all of it. It's rather the little things. The constant assumptions about who I am as a person because I’m a white man.
I often see its definition encompassing phrases like “advantages you have that you think are normal” or “it can be difficult sometimes to see one’s own privilege”. However, as a white transman, those phrases don’t have any application to the privilege being experienced. There is not a second in which my privilege goes unchecked. Not because I am always aware of it, but because it is not something that has been instilled in me since birth. It is something that I am learning to live with and trying to understand.
You see this privilege is everything but normal to me, and with every encounter that proves its truth my weak nicotine soaked lungs race to keep up with the feeling of astonishment. Because the thing that I never understood before transitioning, is that there is so much more to it than people think. It is more than the feeling of safety as I walk alone late at night, or the non-stressful encounters with authority. The thing that most people neglect to realize, is that there is so much more to white male privilege than that.
It is the assumption that because I am a white male, and you are a white male, we hold the same values and are one in the same. It is the pat on the back that you give me before even knowing my name. And the comment about how “we conservatives need to look out for one another."
It is the understood fact that because I am a white man, I am a conservative, pro-life, pro-trump, non-feminist asshole. And us white men are one in the same.
However, the little-known fact is that we are not the same. Not even close. I know what it is like to identify as a woman in this society, and now I know what its like to identify as a white male. And am completely replused by the differences that I have encountered.
It is that aspect of white male privilege that has surprised me the most, and every time I hear strangers refer to me as “us” or “we” I am thrown back into that underlying surprise. Because you and I are not “we”. You and I are nothing but two strangers who feel the same privilege. But you and I interpret it very differently, and will never be one in the same. I will always keep an open mind, and will never use my privilege as the nail to others coffins. You, on the other hand, have never kept an open mind and will continue to wear your white male privilege as a badge of ignorance.
And if you mention the myth of white male privilege to me one more time, I might not save these thoughts just for my articles. Because I have experienced life from both binaries, and cannot begin to explain just how different they are. Just how different society treats you based on the gender you present. So next time you need questions answered about white male privilege, go ask your local transman rather than your fellow white male citizen that knows nothing other than the privilege that they recieved.