I am an Ashkenazy Jew; my family came from Germany, Poland, and France, so I appear European, although on occasion I have been taken for Native or Hispanic. More often, people guess that my ancestry is Greek or Italian, or maybe Persian. It is none of those. However, that said, I am not quite "the norm," nor do I wish to be. As a child in a very white Christian normative town I was often viewed as the 'exotic,' so I have a hint of what it feels like, but I choose to be seen as Jewish. The point is that I have a choice. If I were Black, or Asian, or Native, I would not have that choice. And therein lies the privilege: I have the choice to 'blend in' if I wish.
I became aware of some of the differences in privilege the 1980s when I dated a young black man. In my very white town, he was frequently stopped and questioned by police, in spite of the fact that my mother told her friend the police chief who he was and that he belonged here. I thought he was exaggerating, until I saw it one day for myself. That really opened my eyes to a side of life I didn't know existed. I had always viewed the police as friendly, as helpers. My view of them changed that day. I now understand that my friend had to fear the police, that he worried what might happen to him in an encounter with them. And I see that today it is no better than it was in 1983, and in fact might even be worse. And I see that as a senior woman of European origin, I have the privilege of not being afraid every time I see a police car drive by, and if I were to report a crime to the police, the chances are good they wouldn't view me as the criminal.