Well, it's understandable that poorer white people have a tough time getting the idea of white privilege. I grew up with people like that, and most of their racism is either passed down from ancestors or based on limited anecdotal evidence of black social hiccups. They're typically isolated in white places with few economic or social opportunities. I do not judge them, but I hope that something down the road can change their views. (My mother changed her views, and it seems my dad is saying "black person" more than the alternative, so there's hope.)
You're right about protagonists. That doesn't mean I can't or don't enjoy John Wayne, but denying what you said would qualify as willful ignorance.