White people "hear" the strangest things. When I write about White privilege, I think about all those who criticize the term for being about guilting White people. Do those who think Colin hates Whites feel guilty about something?
Actually, I say that guilt is never a problem when you are personally AND socially responsible. Personally responsibility has to do with your actions, whereas social responsibility is an awareness of things beyond your personal sphere. Inactions towards those responsibilities are why we have social problems.
Not committing bad things is good, but not committing to what is beyond our immediate senses is an omission of our wider responsibilities. I think hierarchies come from a social responsibility deficit. Once we start isolating ourselves into a clan, we are accessing the tools for hierarchy building. Those with the most power, of course, will get the better part of that hierarchy. Since the powerful almost always isolate themselves in some fashion, that means at least another group will be isolated, and sometimes forced into isolation and-or very drastic conditions.
We isolate or segregate in various ways, the wealthy, less wealthy, middle class, working class, very poor, skin-color, ethnicity, religion, immigrant status, etc. not necessarily in that order, and by two or more categories such as poorest immigrants. Our "I don't see you, or won't mingle with you" omissions are where our lack of social responsibility is founded and why we flounder at it.
Unfortunately, it is how American society was structured from the git-go. It began as "the brotherhood of man", which may sound great to some, but others realize it meant White men, puritan overreach, and not women at all, really, let alone other genders or slavery abolition, or appreciation of native cultures. Actually just White English protestant males. The remainder of us were not really considered as part of the "core team". Okay, they made "exceptions" for "some" Catholics, Germans, and a few Scots.
So pretty much everyone else came here with at least a chip on one shoulder, or got forced on them one shoulder boulder when the English arrived, or got a boulder forced on both shoulders as they were dragged here. This big group could have flipped the society to something much more palatable to all, but we just decided that whoever could fit in to the dominant group was a winner, everyone else a loser. So most White males from wherever got accepted and moved up. Those considered the female gender would not, and people of color would get an even shorter end.
We merely let it continue and things solidified almost completely except for a blip after the Civil War until 1920 for White women, then little changed until 1965. And it percolated some here and there until now. Yes, there has been "much" progress compared to slavery and Jim Crow in some areas. But if there are many other areas where things are still badly lopsided, merely due to skin-color, gender and-or wealth, should the people in those situations be happy because the "remainder" are?
This is where personal responsibility alone fails. That is because we have only one guidepost, financial success. If you have complete personal responsibility, and fail financially for whatever reason, you lose in that paradigm we created. What if you are personally responsible and your parents are not? Many lose again. Then your future family also loses -- in some way at least. Of course, if you "do not see others" then nothing is wrong with our society, and you are absolved of responsibility.
Yet, social responsibility is gooey, sappy, hippy, empathetic, socialism, welfare, reparations, higher taxes, and on and on. Those are words uttered to avoid seeing, hearing, knowing, and doing for others, for the best society possible, for a stronger nation. We can be like our blinder wearing ancestors, and take on the isolated attitude of a superior hierarchy, or obsess over the chip on our shoulders.
Otherwise, we can choose to see that others have that same chip plus even more debilitating weights place on them simply because of their skin-color, gender, or lack of family wealth. A long slog of inward personal responsibility is a failure if there is little outward-looking social responsibility being practiced, beyond our White dominant cocoon clan.
When Colin or others pick at this scab, too many White people see their little chip, and that is all. The Whites who see hatred in Colin, are looking into a mirror, see their guilt. Recognizing White or male privilege requires social responsibility – and this privilege does NOT need to be about wealth. If Whites have feelings of hate or guilt, both can melt away when Whites start seeing more than your own little world.
Black, White, male, female, and all others may live in their own world, but not all have the same kind of power. You cannot have guilt if you are seeing others, and doing the work a good society requires. If Americans are separated - geographically and in other ways, there is a reason for it. That reason can only be us. Sadly, our ancestors left much unresolved. Those with the most power [and wealth] have even greater culpability.
You personally are not being blamed for what society did in the past. But we are part of what is going on today including the good that is not going on. Being color blind only means you won't see reality, which includes the problems our ancestors left us with.
If you gladly accept the good our ancestors did, and do not actively reject the bad they left us with, are you living in reality? If the good they did still propels us, the bad they did should repel us. Avoiding one makes the other a lie. Social responsibility provides the perspective to see both the good and bad. Personal responsibility alone makes it possible to avoid the bad in society, or merely take offense to it, building anger toward those not as "successful" as the dominant group. Either way, little is done to improve society as a whole, mostly just deriding others, and scapegoating.