Tuesday, November 09, 2010

White Privilege

I hear a lot about it from my more "enlightened", liberal friends, but I don't buy into it. You know what I do buy into? The ideas put forth in this post. Many of the comments afterward are enlightening, too.


mmazenko said...

Of course you don't buy into it - you have no reason to do so. Yet, that doesn't invalidate it.

Mike Thiac said...

Yet, that doesn't invalidate it


I take it you buy into it…then the obvious question. What is your white privilege? What black man did you oppress to get to your position in life? I mean the first thing these group want is for white people to admit white privilege…so what is yours?

I'm not a racist said...

The beneficiaries of white privilege are the ones who understand it least. It's invisible to them, so of course they never see it.

They will consider a list of daily-life examples to be ridiculous. But it's not. They'll argue over the details and reject the entire list for not liking some specific item.

They need to reject it. To do otherwise saddles them with the burden of responsibility they are unwilling to shoulder.

If you don't want to accept responsibility, that's your right. But don't object to a reality that you don't live simply because it makes you uncomfortable about who you are.

And please don't argue that white privilege can't exist because you, specifically, didn't personally trample a person of color.

mmazenko said...

Mike, you obviously don't understand the term. It wasn't about me oppressing anyone - it was about decades and centuries of physical, socioeconomic, and psychological oppression.

While I don't fully endorse the concept - and believe there are larger issues than just race at work in achievement gaps - I do understand that I am simply exempt from suspicion and doubt where others are not.

Being in the fishbowl, you can't understand. Nor do you wish to try. That's OK. As long as you "own it," and you generally do.

Darren said...

Likewise, saying I'm too dumb to understand what's clearly around me isn't likely to garner my support.

Privileges are granted, and can be taken away. What "privileges" do I have that should be taken away?

Bill said...

How about the privilege of being considered innocent of criminal activity in your own neighborhood? Of people assuming that you are successful through your own effort and merit? Or that if you own something nice that you worked for and earned it legally? That if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer that you will not be verbally or physically abused? Those are some nice ones.

Darren said...

You would take those from me? If not, they're not "privileges".

Bill said...

They have been taken from others, which by your definition makes them privileges which you maintain. Hence "white privilege" Not a hard concept, really.

Darren said...

Reagan said in '64 that a liberal can't see a rich man without thinking he got that way by oppressing someone. He was right then and remains so.

Again, do you think they they should be taken from *me* because I haven't earned them? Not a hard question, really.

Bill said...

Think of it as the difference when seeing someone broken down on the side of the road of stopping to help vs. gloating that there's one fewer person in your way.

Darren said...

Who "gloats"?
And what you've written above is significantly different from saying that I should also be broken down by the side of the road if I see someone there.

Bottom line is, you don't have a very good answer to my questions. You want to hate--that much is clear by the words you use--but don't expect me to accommodate you. You can feel "privileged" all day long, if you want; to my way of thinking you'll just be feeling "guilty", suffering from a form of oikophobia, and I'm not going to cry at your party just because you want to.

Or Taylor said...

I'm sorry but the term "white privilege" is being completely misunderstood. I'm not asking you to recognize the fact that you have it easier because of race and then because of that have them taken away. The whole point being made by the "white privilege" is the blacks, hispanics, arabs, and other minorities that are underprivileged. The issues is not that we want to take away your privileges, the issue is to recognize that you have them, and that others do, and try to solve the problem of "minority under-privilege".

Darren said...

Calling it "white privilege" is to point the finger at me, to suggest that I have something that I shouldn't, and honestly, I don't think it's an accident that it's named thusly as opposed to the more logical "minority under-privilege".

Darren said...

Interesting post here:

Darren said...

At that same link is a comment, interestingly enough *not* put there by me:
There is this mindset amongst some people that they are guilty, and they look for reasons to justify that feeling.

And there are times when it's healthy to consider how much you depend upon the work of others (Salk, Pasteur, Lincoln, Patton, et al.) and you can be grateful.

This lamentation about "white privilege" is, in my mind, the efforts of the unoppressed to find a way to feel guilty about their own blessed state. Rather than saying "how wonderful - how can I repay what's been given to me by men & women who worked to benefit me?" they say "we are all such rotten people & we are so so sorry for being healthy and rich. Please forgive us. We are not worthy."

It's all in the attitude.

Darren said...

And I like this comment, too:
Blaming people for things they have no power over and didn't choose? Isn't that, in essence, the root problem with racism itself, and most other bigotry?

Ah, irony.)

Mike Thiac said...


White Privilege. A school of thought pushed by the race industry and poverty pimps (e.g. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton) that the only reason white people are more advanced (economically, educationally, etc) than blacks is the aftereffects of slavery, Jim Crow etc and current underlying racism, i.e... whites get all the breaks.

Again, I must insert reality into the liberal world view:

- It’s not racism that causes almost 75% of the births in the black community to be out of wedlock which is a fast track to poverty for both the mother and the child.

- It’s not Jim Crow who said “Black men, don’t worry about taking care of your families or getting a job…just sit on your ass, let your women collect welfare and food stamps while you collect disability before 22”… you can thank Lyndon Johnson and his nightmare of a Great Society. OTS, what is the exit strategy of the War on Poverty? And if ever there was an “unfunded war” it’s that one.

- Question, will you call it “Asian advantage” because of the fact Orientals have the highest percentage of four year college degrees than any ethic group. Or does this have something to do with they have not let their families be destroyed by the welfare state and still raise and discipline their children.

…I do understand that I am simply exempt from suspicion and doubt where others are not.

Mazenko , a bit of insight from the other side of the badge. Part of the area I patrol in Houston is Rice University, a very high end (500K to tens of millions) and yes, it’s very white. Assuming that is your picture on the blog I would not find you driving around the area in a 2007 Honda suspicious. You are not out of the ordinary. Now I also patrol the 3rd Ward, aka Da Hood. The University of Houston resides there. If I saw you driving up Scott St or Elgin (I doubt you know the roads but go with me they are major streets in the area) in your Honda, that alone would not be surprising. Now, you’re off the main streets (Tuam/Anita…I know, this means nothing to you but there are in the area) and alone, will that raise my eyebrows, oh yes. You are definitely out of your element. Now, I see you driving with the black homeboy in the passenger seat driving around 3500 Tuam am I going to pay attention? Yes, good chance homeboy is taking you to the crack. It’s not racist to say someone like you would be out of your place in the area…and that I as a cop should be taking a look at it.

Being in the fishbowl, you can't understand. Nor do you wish to try. That's OK. As long as you "own it," and you generally do.

Being from academe you understand fishbowls very well. But racism…that you and yours (i.e. leftists/liberals). It was a democrat who screamed “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” It was democrats who subjected a qualified black man to a high tech lynching in 1991 when he was nominated to the Supreme Court. Lyndon Johnson would never have gotten the Voting Rights Act or other civil rights legislation over the filibusters of J William Fulbright and Robert “Sheets” Byrd without the help of the Republicans in the Senate. If you didn’t know who laid with, you should have. If you do, don’t complain.

Anonymous said...

What's so difficult about this?

1) Privilege and direct oppression are not the same.

2) Privilege is a recognition of the RELATIVE advantages that a group possesses in the world, as compared to to another group.

3) As with all such discussions, things that are true (or relevant) on average, may not hold for every individual. Some women are taller than some men; men on average are still taller than women; same with privilege.

4) Because privilege is RELATIVE, there is no functional distinction between "group A should not have that right" and "group B should have that right, but doesn't." Both of those mean that group A is privileged over Group B.

Now, on to privilege itself (in the next post)

Darren said...

So, some are taller, or whiter, than others. What do you want us to do with that? Feel bad about it? Because that is how it's often presented. "Be aware" of your (so-called) privilege--why, if not to feel bad for someone else's not being white? No, thanks.

N Lopez said...

AS a guilty white dude..

Feeling bad is important--there's a difference between 'being aware' and being stuck in one's own guilt.

I think pausing to reflect on one's fortunate birthright is what I'm talking about here--I'm not at all a fan of putting myself on hold to feel guilty all the time, but if I never stopped and recognized the life that I've had then I'd feel pretty arrogant.

The problem, for me, is making sure that I balance arrogance(pretensions)/confidence/guilt(insecurity) such that I can acknowledge my fortunate skin pigment and not shove my fortune into the faces of the Other(s).

Darren said...

I'm not interested in shoving any good fortune I've had in anyone's face, and I'd appreciate if they'd not try to shove it in mine.