The idea of white tends to connote an absence of ethnicity, despite the pride so many whites take in our varied European ancestries. The obvious examples of this assumption of blankness appear in grocery stores, travel guides, and haircare departments of pharmacies. White and European do not equate. It is important to disassociate race from ethnicity before deepening any self-interrogation of one's whiteness.
The smug superiority that inhabits the consciousness of an internalized "right" to domination characterizes the psyche of entitlement. Rights discourse sometimes defines a right as an entitlement, and such justice theories would not regard the notion of entitlement as an inherently problematic status. When we complain these days about people being "entitled" the underlying indignation seems to be targeted against unjust entitlement. A similar argument may be made about the notion of privilege. When we add the adjective white to the front of entitlement or privilege, a race theory rubric surrounds these terms to expose the injustice of those positionalities. Ironically, whites still do often feel unconsciously entitled about our privileges, and resistant to acknowledging any injustice in the advantages accrued at personal levels. Our roles in the system of oppression have become internalized.
Acknowledgment of such internalization often shows up in the symptoms of resistance, denial, avoidance, belligerence, and bellicose attention mongering. For the earnest white liberal, a typical emotional response arises in the forms of fear, anxiety or dread. Thanks to the Existentialists, we have learned that such abysmal openings in conscious can shift and transform a horizon of being. Let us mine these existential opportunities for awakening.