White privilege is a concept that highlights the unfair societal advantages that white people have over non-white people. often described as an invisible force – a series of unseen, unconscious advantages, such as the ability to move through life without being racially profiled or unfairly stereotyped. It is something that is pervasive throughout society and exists in all of the major systems and institutions that operate in society. White privilege is rooted in European colonialism, the Atlantic slave trade and the British Empire, and is a system explicitly designed to protect white racial privileges, rights and benefits at the detriment of everyone else.
It is the implicit and systemic advantages that white people have relative to those who are subjected to racism. It is also a system of conscious decisions meant to keep Black and brown populations subjugated, incarcerated and oppressed. It manifests in the racial wealth gap, in the statistics for prison populations – which see Black people locked up at wildly inflated rates compared to their white counterparts. When a white person commits an act of terrorism, they are portrayed in the media as a "lone wolf" or a victim of mental ill health. When a person of colour is involved in an act of violence, it is portrayed as representative of that person's race or community.
Since September the 11th, white supremacists have perpetuated more acts of terrorism in the United States than any foreign threat. None of these people were labelled "terrorists", nor were white people asked to apologise on their behalf or to publicly denounce them, the way communities of colour are asked to. Minneapolis Police killed George Floyd during an arrest based on allegations he had used counterfeit money. Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old white supremacist who murdered nine members of a Black church group in a targeted hate crime, was not only arrested alive and unharmed, but was later taken to Burger King because he said he was tired and hungry.
On the 23rd of March, 2015, a newspaper in Iowa ran two stories about two separate burglaries. The images used for the three white men from one burglary were yearbook photos. The other story, about the arrest of four Black men, used their mug shots. Brock Turner, a white college student who violently raped an unconscious girl, was given a six-month sentence due to his "previous good character". He served three months.Compare this to the Central Park Five, a group of innocent Black boys scapegoated for the rape of a white woman, who served between six to 13 years for a crime none of them had committed.