I prefer “straight, white man” if you please. Let’s put the proper emphasis first.
Seriously, though, where did “white” come from? Where did brown come from, for that matter? What is brown? It’s not “light black” because that is gray. What the hell is brown exactly?
But I digress. The problem somewhat goes right back to the origins of racial identity which in terms of white, is not that long ago. Why am I a white guy? Not in terms of why do I choose to be a white guy, but why is there even an easily recognizable social category of “white guy”?
Really, I’m descended from the much maligned ethnic group of the Scotch Irish who were generally a big nuisance to Scotland and England and Ireland for their entire existence and then my ancestors all came to the New World to annoy the hell out of everyone over here. I’m obnoxious and proud! It’s my racial heritage.
So, like we can see in history, being white in a white continent like Europe didn’t matter. Just like skin color between Africans really doesn’t matter when it comes to civil conflicts.
So why, all of a sudden (centuries ago) did “white” become such an important defining characteristic?
Well - and I think this is obvious - it was only a defining characteristic when it became an important element of who had the power and who didn’t. Who had precedence over whom. It only became important in relationship to slavery, colonialization and the literal genocide of indigenous populations from America to Australia. And to the excessive and murderous oppression of immigrants like the Chinese - the “yellow” people even though honestly, there was and is very little difference in skin color between Asian and European (they just couldn’t be “white”) - who were allowed in for their labor and then decimated mercilessly when the railroads were completed.
I think that being “white” is significantly different than being Latino (Mexican and other native groups now accused of being illegal immigrants) or African American (brought here against their will, tortured in slave labor camps, and forced to relinquish any inheritance from the labor) or Chinese (as mentioned in regard to the railroads). I am content in who I am and I am proud of the specific family I descended from, but I am not proud of being white or of the unfair privilege that it bestowed me through no merit of my own and to the extreme detriment of those who were and still are excluded by not being white.
Being proud of who one is is different from being proud of a reward one didn’t earn except on the backs of others. But I don’t need to be proud. For the rest of my life, I will “enjoy” the privilege with little or no difference made to the social fabric it’s left us with for a few centuries now.