This is how you handle getting your privileged called out.
Not “reverse racism!” Not “heterophobe!” and all those other dynamics that don’t exist. Just recognition. Recognition of privilege (and hopefully continuous self-checking)
It’s not simple recognition of privilege though. It’s beyond that. Recognition of privilege does not, in and of itself, dismantle that privilege. Neither does self-checking.
This is an exchange. It is a conversation. It is open communication between two human beings. One person expresses something about their past experiences: “High school sucked.” Another reminds this person of her own experiences, and that juxtaposition fosters not only awareness of privilege, but awareness of another person’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences as being equally valid.
The problem of privilege is that is says some people’s experiences are not as valid as other’s, and that some people are not as valid as others. The point of acknowledging privilege is not simply to say “I have privilege”. It’s to move past the walls that privilege has often deliberately constructed to keep us apart from other human beings: walls that keep us from recognizing, understanding, and validating the diversity of our human perspectives and experiences.
So instead of acknowledging your privilege with guilt or shame (both of which are not productive for you or for other people), acknowledge your privilege and accept it, and then put it aside so you can be with your fellow humans and do the hard work of seeing them and treating them as your equals. Listen to them. Learn from them. Have conversations.