I write in response to Nancy Leeman (“Being white doesn’t always mean privilege,” April 9). I sympathize with her story of a difficult and abusive childhood — how couldn’t I?

Hearing the term “white privilege” can feel like an attack. I know that; I am a white person who has bristled at it in the past. But white privilege isn’t saying that all white people live in the same kind of luxury as someone like Elon Musk. It refers to the fact that white people don’t have to think about our own race. We can find makeup that matches our skin color, see ourselves represented in movies, television, and advertising.

People don’t behave in a stiff and self-conscious way around us. If we get a promotion, people don’t assume it was due to our race rather than our ability. We can trust the police to act in our interests and those of our children. We can expect a trial by our peers. Others see us as individuals, and not only as members of our racial group.

White privilege is not our fault; it’s a system we were born into, and this makes it hard for us to see. It just feels “normal.”

In a way we are also its victims, as we would undoubtedly be leading richer, more beautiful lives in its absence. And that is something all people should want, regardless of race. But it is something that we, as white people, can do something about.

Wheeler Lowell, Buckfield

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