Privilege is what’s assumed by those who are in power. It’s like water for fish. It’s the things you don’t actually think about because that’s just the way things are. And in every society, it’s different. It will look different in Guatemala than it will in the United States or Korea.
But in European influenced societies, the mass migration of Europeans to the world, five centuries ago, created a particular version of that - and a version that we still live with today.
Now the reality is, most people would never ask the question - again, that’s just the way things are. And of course, if you’re challenged on why things are that way, you can give all kinds of rational explanations:
Through most of the 19th century, American scientists could explain to you (and there’s some that will still use these kind of explanations indirectly) why people of African descent are inferior to people of European descent. And they could prove it, scientifically.
We have religious explanations: we are the people of God, we are the city on the hill, etc.
And if you’re more liberal, you might be a little more polished in what you say.
But the point is: we can give all kind of interesting reasons. We have all kinds of ways explaining why the world is the way it is. And at the end of the day, it’s social darwinism. This is the top of the heap - everyone’s going to look like us at the end of the day anyway.
But this kind of situation is hard to see unless you can see groups. One of the American myths is that we’re all individuals, and we all make it on our own. And that’s why it’s so hard to even have this conversation because some people can’t even acknowledge that as a group (as a class, as a socio-economic class, as people that have certain common characteristics) some benefit and some do not.