Politics & Race
“Black Privilege” Explained

By Michael Harriot

Lately, the term “Black Privilege” has crept into the zeitgeist of popular discussion in corners of neo-academians who want to flaunt their overevolved intellectualism by using groupthink words like “unpack” and “intersection.” Although the concept of Black privilege is not new, we at NegusWhoRead would like to inform our readers of the basic tenets of this rising phenomenon by explaining it in plain English.

What is “Black Privilege?” 

Black Privilege is the concept that  there is a set of societal advantages that people of color benefit from, to which other people (pronounced “wīt pee-pull”) don’t have access.

Where did the term come from?

White people.

I would love to give a more nuanced explanation than this, but that’s the simple answer. Specifically it emerged from the same underground laboratory of the evil geniuses who created the term “White Lives Matter”  and retort to every accusation of police brutality with “what about Black on Black Crime?”

Why, though?

Because… Guilt.

Specifically White guilt.

When a woman catches her boyfriend doing the horizontal bone dance with the bartender from the local strip club, he’s going to eventually explain how this is partly her fault for not fellating him every time he steps across the threshhold. When caught in their own transgressions, slickmouthed pimps and guilty parties always ask if you “remember that one time when you…” It’s the equivalent of charging all those dead black boys with police bullets in their backs with “resisting.” The term “Black Privilege” exists because someone finally isolated the concept of generational advantages afforded to the dominant culture in America and named it “White privilege.” Black privilege is the same as reverse racism and female chauvinism.

What are some examples they give of Black Privilege?

Let’s just examine the most popular four:

  1. Black people get to self-segregate – This is the most popular example used to explain Black Privilege. The theory goes–if White people created “White Entertainment TV,” a “National Association for the Advancement of White People,” or colleges designed to focus solely on White people, they would be considered racist.
  2. Positive stereotypes – Black people benefit from the societal stereotypes of athleticism, sexual prowess et all
  3. They get to keep it real – Black people get to say and do things that a white person would get in trouble for. They can wear their racism, homophobia and sexism on their sleeves.
  4. Affirmative Action – Black people get a “thumb on the scale.” They benefit from affirmative action policies that disregard whites.

But aren’t some of these things true?

Before you start weeping for the unbearable oppression the average white person has to suffer through every day, you should know a few things:

The average white person has every advantage in America. If given the choice of losing a foot in a gruesome lawnmower accident and waking up Black tomorrow, most caucasians would simply ask, “which foot?” America is its own National Association for the Advancement of White People. CBS is White Entertainment Television. Every institution of higher learning is a Historically White College–even the Black ones (You will learn more European history in a freshman-level World History course at an HBCU than you would African History in a graduate-level African Studies course at predominately white institution). The only reason the NAACP and HBCU’s exist is because, for a long time, Black education was limited to lynchings and whippings that “taught that nigger a lesson.”

All arguments about how good Black people have it stem from two points that ignite the envy of the masses: The myth of the black phallus and White people’s desire to say “nigger” whenever they want. White privilege is so powerful that if there is one room they enter, one word they can’t say or one advantage they don’t have access to–it must be because of reverse racism. They counter that if a company is racist because it hires 90% white people, then shouldn’t the multibillion dollar corporations–the NBA and NFL–who are 90% black be called racist too? They forget that those leagues are stocked with more athletic men because they were cherry-picked and kidnapped from the African coast and bred in a system of servitude to be that way. It is convenient to leave that part out.

Just as it is convenient to point out that less than 1% of Black people benefit from affirmative action. Even if it gives lesser qualified minorities an advantage (which it doesn’t). Even if it handicaps qualified whites (which it doesn’t). Affirmative action has evened no playing field or tilted no statistical scale. Equally qualified Blacks are still hired less. Equally educated minorities still earn less. Equally paid minorities still get higher interest rates on loans. But hey, we are always chosen first in pickup basketball games, we get to say nigger and swing those big ole dicks…

Why is the term gaining traction then?

Because somebody has to write these thinkpieces.

Smart people want to look smart, even if their argument is stupid. Privileged people down’t want to admit to privilege, even when they benefit from it. When I woke up this morning I was going to write about why I hate flip flops (seriously), until someone sent me this article:

White Privilege? What About Black Privilege?


So what should I say when someone insists that I benefit from Black Privilege?

Ask them when Black privilege started.
Ask them if it began when your great grandmother slept shackled in their great grandmother’s barn or when their people so graciously gave your people their own water fountains?
Ask them if your Black Privilege extends outside of Black neighborhoods where schools are universally worse but federal redlining laws and neighborhood covenants forbade Black people from living elsewhere until a generation ago.
Ask them if there is a Black Privilege sticker you can affix to your bumper sticker–and if so–if police will recognize it so you won’t be 21 times more likely to be shot than your white counterpart.

Or you can just stare into their eyes, grab your prodigious penis and say:

“Nigger please.”

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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