“If your ancestors cut down all the trees, it’s not your fault, but you still don’t live in a forest.”
Pam Oliver, a professor in the UW-Madison sociology department, explaining the historical roots of racism in the United States to her undergraduate students (mostly middle-class and White). I try to use this when I teach race now, too, to get past the defensive “but why are you BLAMING ME” reaction.
Even if you are not the descendant of a particular slave owner, if you are white you benefit from racism and privilege in the United States of America.
Do you live in a forest, go to work or church with trees, do you know any trees?