A Twitter video explaining the meaning of white privilege is causing a stir on Twitter. On Thursday, BBC Bitesize shared a video of psychologist John Amaechi explaining his perspective on the topic.

In the video, Amaechi discussed the importance of understanding the societal advantage. Rather than seeing it as an insult or a term used “to make white people feel bad,” he insisted white privilege had a deeper meaning.

“Privilege is a hard concept for people to understand, because normally when we talk of privilege we imagine immediate unearned riches and tangible benefits for anyone who has it,” he said.

“But white privilege – and indeed all privilege – is actually about the absence of inconvenience, the absence of an impediment or challenge, and as such when you have it, you really don’t notice it. But when it’s absent, it affects everything you do.”

Amaechi noted that he has two friends who are wheelchair users. The former NBA player admitted that he was initially ignorant about being able-bodied and took his privilege for granted.

The best-selling author reflected on the concept of understanding that he is privileged and embracing the idea that it doesn’t make him a bad person. However, ignoring it could result in him becoming oblivious to his friends’ feelings of exclusion, and that would be unacceptable.

“White privilege doesn’t mean you haven’t worked hard or you don’t deserve the success you’ve had. It doesn’t mean that your life isn’t hard or that you’ve never suffered,” he explained.

“It simply means that your skin color has not been the cause of your hardship or suffering. There is nothing but a benefit to understanding our own privilege, white and otherwise.”

On Twitter, Amaechi’s video receives mixed reactions. One person applauded his explanation.

“Thank you. This is a great explanation of not just white privilege but all privilege. I hope it goes some way to help people understand how the color one’s skin can directly impact the size & number of hurdles they have to jump throughout their lives. Also: what a lovely voice!” the individual wrote.

However, others were not happy about the discussion of the topic. “No such thing as white privilege, hard work is the key to success. No matter what you do or where you come from or even the color of your skin... If you give 110 percent and know your worth, people will notice and you will do well,” one person tweeted.

Amaechi went on to insist that understanding the challenges that others face could benefit society in the future.

“It brings us closer to those who are different. It helps us be vigilant about the ways we treat others different than us. It helps us make a society that is fairer and more equal,” he continued

“Having white privilege doesn’t make your life easy but understanding it can help you realize why some people’s lives are harder than they should be.”

John Amaechi
John Amaechi is pictured at the BT Sport Industry Awards on May 8, 2014 in London. Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images