My friend Sarah recently got me hooked on this website called Privilege Denying Dude. It's the same picture of a metrosexual white guy, but he always the most idiot, racist/sexist/homophobic stuff like, "B.E.T. is racist! Why can't there be an all-white TV station?" It's meant to poke fun at prejudice.
I hate to admit this, but I used to be that guy.
I grew up in a moderately Democratic family in the middle of a mostly black community, so I always knew that prejudice was bad. But the older I got, the more I started unconsciously pick up subtle prejudice from the world around me. The sad part is a lot of this prejudice came from Christians. I don't have enough hands to count how many times I heard preachers talk about "the radical feminist (and/or homosexual) agenda" that's out to "destroy the family" (even though most feminists I know love their families). Slowly that kind of thinking started influencing the way I saw the world.
Then a few months ago some one called out my privileged, and I was pissed. "I'm not racist!" I quickly retorted. "I never burned any crosses! Stop picking on me!" Then I realized this person wasn't talking about me, per se; he was talking about a system that automatically gave me more opportunities than my neighbors. It's a system that, up until then, I never noticed before. And when I did finally notice it, I was like, "Holy sh*t!"
I'm still learning what it means to own my privilege, but there is one thing I know: sometimes the best thing to do is shut up and listen. I've never been in my neighbor's shoes, so I don't really have a right say, "Oh, you're just overreacting!" Well, how do I know that? I haven't been through the things my neighbor has. I can't see the world through my neighbor's eyes. So that's where I'm at right now; I'm learning when to speak and when to listen. More often than not, the latter is preferred.