A Few Short Thoughts on White Privilege

I just talked to a couple of Whites about White privilege. One is middle aged and the other is elderly. Their IQ’s range from 140-150. One got partway through Law School, the other is a freshman at the university. Both are extremely well-educated (self-educated) compared to the average White. One is liberal, the other is Leftist, a Communist.

Neither one had ever heard of White Privilege Theory. I had to explain it to them, from its origins on. They sat there shaking their heads and saying how dumb and absurd the theory was. They also said it would not resonate at all with average Whites, and all it will do is piss them off and make them want to go to a Tea Party.

For Whites like me and my friends, we think that White Privilege means something like while we have to eat a shit sandwich, Blacks have to eat a triple decker shit sandwich. So the White Privilege theory says that while we are eating this shit sandwich, we are yelling, “Damn! This sandwich tastes good! I’m sure glad I don’t have to eat that triple decker like the you know who’s.”

Within White society, Whiteness gives you no particular benefit. You’re just another person, and you get treated on your merits like everyone else.

If you are low on the totem pole, especially at work, you get treated like serious shit by other Whites. They really look down on Whites lower on the pecking order in the workplace. You’re treated like a “nigger,” mostly because you have a “nigger job.” They order you around like you’re a slave, brutalize you psychologically, then fire you for no reason. They don’t even attempt to disguise their contempt for you. You may as well be Black.

As I said, White has no advantages in White society.

It’s not like you walk into a party, and as soon as you step in the door, the White host says, “Hey! You’re White! Come on in! Free drinks all nite on the house, you get in free and free drinks to my pool bar every nite from now on, and by the way, here’s my daughter, I want you to marry her if you would like. She’s an attorney, she’s beautiful, and she’s a nympho.”

Yeah right.

White privilege is a favorite of the Black bourgeois and upper middle class Blacks. It’s a way for them to avoid talking about class. If you go Abagond‘s site, you will notice that he never discusses the “C” word – class. It’s all about race. In this way, Abagond gets to promote his class interests – those of the upper classes, while avoiding the real race problem in the US, which is one of class, not race.

I have a feeling that Abagond would go to the favelas of Brazil and harangue those poor, downtrodden Whites there about their White privilege and racism against their Black and Brown fellow slum-dwellers. I’m sure that will go over real well!

All these people talking of White privilege and other forms of Identity Politics are objectively contras – this line is counterrevolutionary and rightwing. It divides the working classes into male against female, gay against straight, one race against another, churchgoers against non-churchgoers, encouraging one of each pair, males, straights, Whites and churchgoers, to vote against their class interests and for the Right.

It also avoids discussing class, probably because of the upper class interests of the economically privileged folks who are dishing out this intellectual theory.

This is the same thing that the Right has always done – to divide working classes on race, gender, orientation and religion to keep them from uniting to vote for their class interests against the elite. This stuff is just bourgeois indulgence and ought to be irrelevant to any real liberation project.

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25 thoughts on “A Few Short Thoughts on White Privilege”

  1. I’m still kind of on the fence about “white privilege.” I think it might exist in some forms, especially in some regions of Appalachia or the south, where white people are far more racist, but not to the extent that Abagond or most of his readers think it exists.

  2. Asking a couple whites about white privilege is like asking straights about about heterosexual privilege. “What? What hetero privilege? That’s silly…Just because I’m straight doesn’t mean I get anything for free, these gays are crazy talking how there’s a privilege in being straight. I mean there are shows like Ellen and she’s rich, and I’m a straight guy and I’m poor, yeah no heterosexual privilege!”…See what I mean?

    Of course anyone would have to be out of their mind to think that being straight isn’t a privilege over being gay all other things being equal. How would you like to be gay if you’re running for president? Maybe a few leftist would find it a welcome change, but most people would be uncomfortable with the idea. And we know it. And yes, being black is no advantage for running for president either. I think it helped that Obama is a mulatto as well as a fairly good-looking guy. Seriously, I think if he was as dark as his father, he wouldn’t have been elected. I think whites(as well as “Hispanics” and Asians) deep down are scared of really dark black people. I just get that feeling. It also helped that the previous Republican was the worse president in history and that McCain looked like he might keep over at any moment and his running mate was as dumb as a brick. Put it this way, if Obama had been darker and was running against a halfway competent opponent, he wouldn’t be president right now. And let’s say we reversed the script. Let’s say Obama was white and McCain was black with a dumb black woman as his running mate, Obama being white, smart, cosmopolitan and articulate, would’ve been the biggest landslide in history.

    On another thread, you basically felt that Abagond is spoiled because here he is with a well paying job and a house and what not and you’re poor. The thing is, you have to compare apples to apples. Abagond may have gotten to where he did because he worked his ass off, and maybe even worked harder than a comparable white to overcome any racial barriers. Tim Wise has even pointed to studies where resumes with equally qualified credentials were sent to employers. The ones with black sounding names were half as likely to get callbacks as the ones with white sounding names, even though the resumes were equally qualified on paper. You can’t compare yourself to Abagond or Oprah or Obama, you have to compare yourself to blacks within your socio-economic bracket and those with similar degrees/education levels and life experience.

    1. Put it this way, if Obama had been darker and was running against a halfway competent opponent, he wouldn’t be president right now.

      While I agree with that statement, I don’t agree with its implications.

      What you have to keep in mind is that most whites don’t vote Democrat regardless of race. Heck, it was during the presidency of the so-called “first black president” that gave us Timothy Mcveigh, and various militia movements.

      Heck, the term “angry white male” was coined during the 1994 Republican revolution during the Clinton administration! I hardly think that hostility towards Obama is unique, regardless of Glenn Beck’s racial rants, facebook page calling for Obama assassination, or a few idiotic Tea Party signs. Does anyone really think Obama is going to be assassinated or harmed? Ther’es always that fear, but I don’t think it’s realistic. There was a ton of white anger during Clinton, and that was when the economy was decent.

      Besides, with the One Drop Rule in America, whites don’t see much of a difference between light blacks and dark blacks. There may be less contempt and anxiety, but a black is a black.

      Whites definitely prefer dark blacks such as Clarence Thomas to light blacks such as Jeremiah Wright.

      Look at Deval Patrick. The idea that whites will never accept a black politician is absurd. You can say all you want about how the monolithic black vote (isn’t it always?) and other non-white votes put Obama in office, but if all whites were to get together and say “no” to a black president, Obama wouldn’t be in office.

      If whites voted like a bloc the way blacks do, no Obama or Holder. We’re hardly monolithic or viciously hateful.

      And again, name me one nation (non-western/white nation in particular) where a minorities can achieve so much power.

      1. I apologize for my typo. I meant “regardless of race,” not “regardless of face.” Though I’m sure a majority of whites would vote a certain way regardless of face!

  3. Privilege is just the natural result of inequality. There are certain privileges adults have that minors don’t. There are privileges married couples have that cohabiting couples don’t. Privileges citizens have that non-citizens don’t, and so on.

    It makes no sense to deny privilege where it exists.

  4. well, that’s the problem with ‘extreme’ capitalism, the playing field is uneven from BIRTH. this topic is like this are knotty because socio-economic hierarchy and racial patterns coincide and upset the generalisations that our brains are prone to make.
    so much , so so so much talent is wasted in this world. i suppose life can also be seen as an interplay of luck and predetermined circumstances from birth, childhood, family.

    and there is probably no such thing as ‘self made success’, the calculus of the successful in society are planted from existing circumstances of our background. but obv there r exceptions.

  5. Dear Robert
    The value of a privilege is inversely proportional to the number of people that enjoy it. From independence to 1970, whites in the US were about 85% of the population, so if whiteness was a privilege, it couldn’t have been important because it was shared by 85% of the population. If 85% of a population consists of aristocrats, then being an aristocrat isn’t much of a privilege, is it?
    Granted, since 1970, the white share of the American population went down, but at the same time racial equality became enshrined in American law. I can’t see how being white was ever such a big advantage in the US.
    This doesn’t mean that being non-white wasn’t often a huge DISadvantage. There is no necessary symmetry between the advantages that one group enjoys and the disadvantages that are imposed on another group. Let’s suppose that there are 100 farmers in an area, 98 Greens and 2 Blues. Out of spite, the Greens burn down the crops of the two Blue ones. Obviously this is enormously disadvantageous to the Blues but it brings no material advantages to Greens.
    The notion of white privilege is also a hindrance to blacks because it encourages blacks to blame outsiders for their troubles instead of looking inward and realizing that many of the problems of the black community in the US are self-inflicted. It isn’t whites that force black men to father babies out of wedlock for instance.
    Regards. James

    1. There is no necessary symmetry between the advantages that one group enjoys and the disadvantages that are imposed on another group. Let’s suppose that there are 100 farmers in an area, 98 Greens and 2 Blues. Out of spite, the Greens burn down the crops of the two Blue ones. Obviously this is enormously disadvantageous to the Blues but it brings no material advantages to Greens.

      Exactly! While in the past, discriminatory laws and government policies did favor white and exclude non-whites, that hardly meant that most whites in absolute terms were privileged. If whites were 85% of the nation and blacks 13%, then it takes a leap of faith to say that all or even most whites enjoyed success at the expense of blacks.

      Most whites didn’t have a black neck to step on.

      If 85% of the population consists of millionaires, does being a millionaire really make you privileged throughout most of society?

      The problem with “white privilege” is that it rests on shaky foundations. When you define “privilege” as something a majority enjoys relative to a minority, then there’s trouble.

      Heck, even though gays are a small minority, I’m wonderfully “privileged” just because I’m straight. Yes, I can avoid headaches that come with being gay, but I’m hardly “privileged,” since almost 90% of people share my sexual orientation.

      That’s some excellent analysis.

  6. @ Tulio

    Again, “white privilege” simply means that I get to eat a shit sandwich while a black person has to eat a triple shit sandwich. I think Robert phrased it perfectly.

    “White privilege” hardly means that being white is all fun and games as everyone suggests. Yeah, it may mean that I can avoid a few headaches, but it’s not like being white is peaches and cream.

    To the extent that there is “white privilege,” I really like to think of it as “non-black privilege.” Asians and even Hispanics get to enjoy this “privilege” to a certain extent.

    Also, some white people are powerful and control everything. While most politicians and corporate executives are white, that hardly means that the vast majority of whites are powerful. I have absolutely zero power.

    You like to give whites a hard time for grudgingly accepting Obama (and not even the majority at that). Some people think that it’s somehow virtuous for the majority to empower a minority. Name me one other country (particularly a non-western country) where a minority can achieve such power. Also, name me a country where a minority president can appoint a minority Attorney General who chastises the “dominant majority” for being cowards. Whites have absolutely no obligation to bend over backwards in order to help blacks. Spare me your moral arguments. Show me some pragmatic anti-racism.

    Besides, when blacks are the majority in certain cities, they almost always elect a black mayor. As Chris Rock joked, if blacks were the majority, there would be a black president all the time. In LA, a Hispanic is the mayor. In SF, where I was born, there was a Chinese police chief for a while due to the numbers and clout of Asians in that city.

    Trust me Tulio, when whites are reduced to a minority, you won’t have to worry about all of their unjust “privileges.” When non-whites become the majority, they won’t be any more egalitarian or kind than we were.

    Can you name me any other nation where the “dominant group” flagellates itself over its bad deeds?

    In China, you have Han Chinese “privilege.” In Turkey, you have Turkish “privilege.” In Japan, they don’t even acknowledge the Rape of Nanking, let alone force their kids to take “privilege walks.” To me, there’s nothing wrong with a majority group being able to avoid headaches that certain minorities can’t. I’m sure that sounds harsh, but that’s the reality of human history. You don’t see any non-western groups flagellating themselves over their “privileges.”

    To suggest that white peoples’ lives are wonderful and easy because of various invisible racial “privileges” is absurd.

    And Tulio, I know you have a thing for Tim Wise, but if pseudo-intellectuals/polemicists like Timmy are the face of anti-racism, then you guys are in trouble.

    That self-righteous asshole can go fuck himself. Calling me a pale face and melanin-challenged. Fuck him!

    Besides, did you read Ta-Nehisi’s article? As he points out, these moral appeals revolving around “white privilege” are futile.

    What did black activists in the past want? They wanted better housing, better treatment, and an end to discriminatory laws. Or, in the case of Malcolm X, separation, self-respect, and meaningful autonomy. Ta-Nehisi points out that black activism was rarely about washing white people, but rather about freeing blacks. While they were certainly conscious of racism and their struggles, for the most part they didn’t buy into “aversive racism” or CRT.

    With a few exceptions such as James Baldwin, they weren’t asking whites to purify their souls and analyze their “white privilege” and delusions.

    Again, the CRT approach is not the right approach to take.

    Also, my definition of “privilege” is different from the CRT crowd.

    You’re still not doing a good job of convincing me to join the anti-racism team.

    Piece of advice for blacks who wish to win white allies in the anti-racism struggle: Leave self-haters like Tim Wise and Robert Jensen at the door. You should probably also leave esoteric ramblings about white skin “privilege” at the door.

    Just my two cents.

  7. “Again, “white privilege” simply means that I get to eat a shit sandwich while a black person has to eat a triple shit sandwich. I think Robert phrased it perfectly.”

    The average white has to eat a shit sandwich? How do you figure that? White Americans have the highest standard of living in the world.

    ““White privilege” hardly means that being white is all fun and games as everyone suggests. Yeah, it may mean that I can avoid a few headaches, but it’s not like being white is peaches and cream.”

    Nobody said that being white is all wonderful. Everybody has a number of life problems that have nothing to do with race. But so what? Whites could’ve said the same thing during slavery. Hey I’m poor, I don’t own slaves, my life sucks. What privilege do I have over these slaves. At least they get healthcare and free food and shelter from their slavemasters. But I bet those poor whites wouldn’t have traded places with a black either.

    “To the extent that there is “white privilege,” I really like to think of it as “non-black privilege.” Asians and even Hispanics get to enjoy this “privilege” to a certain extent.”

    I’m not so sure about that. Asians are still to small of a demographic to show up as a demographic threat. If the country were 25% Chinese, people would be complaining about the Chinese trying to take over and there’d be calls to cut immigration from China as there currently is with Hispanics. Hispanics aren’t a race and some do pretty well like the white, wealthy Cubans and some not so good like Mexican and Central American mestizos, with high drop out rates and gang and crime problems.

    “Also, some white people are powerful and control everything. While most politicians and corporate executives are white, that hardly means that the vast majority of whites are powerful. I have absolutely zero power.”

    That’s only if you’re thinking of power strictly economic. YOUR interests are looked after more than black interests. If one of YOUR women gets kidnapped or turns up missing, you have the privilege of knowing it will be blasted all over the news endlessly, like Natalie Holloway, while black women that turn up missing or kidnapped don’t even show up on the radar. You have the privilege of knowing that the police are primarily in the business of protecting white people, and your neighborhoods will the quickest reaction time to calls. Not saying they don’t protect non-whites, of course they do, but there are differences in response times. The L.A. riots could’ve probably been squashed within minutes if the cops hadn’t taken so long to show up at Florence and Normandy. Just like you can stamp out a brush fire if you hurry up and put down the flashpoint. Think they would’ve taken so long showing up if a bunch of blacks were throwing rocks and bottles in a white neighborhood? I remember being in high school at the time of the riots and me and dad were watching the news. He kept saying, “Where are the police? Look how long this has been going on!”

    “You like to give whites a hard time for grudgingly accepting Obama (and not even the majority at that). Some people think that it’s somehow virtuous for the majority to empower a minority. Name me one other country (particularly a non-western country) where a minority can achieve such power. ”

    Peru. Fujimori.

    “Also, name me a country where a minority president can appoint a minority Attorney General who chastises the “dominant majority” for being cowards. Whites have absolutely no obligation to bend over backwards in order to help blacks. Spare me your moral arguments. Show me some pragmatic anti-racism.”

    No one is asking whites to bend over backwards and do anything. I just think that a candidate’s race should be irrelevant. It makes no sense that many whites who normally vote democrat crossed over and voted for McCain. I remember all these white women saying that if Hillary didn’t win the nomination, they were voting for McCain. Even though Hillary and Obama’s policies are virtually identical. Yeah, no racism there huh? I didn’t hear blacks saying they wouldn’t show up to vote if Obama lost the nomination.

    “Besides, when blacks are the majority in certain cities, they almost always elect a black mayor.”

    New Orleans just elected a white mayor.

    “As Chris Rock joked, if blacks were the majority, there would be a black president all the time.”

    I don’t believe that. Blacks have no problems voting for whites. They do it all the time.

    “In LA, a Hispanic is the mayor.”

    Yeah, but he’s the first Hispanic mayor of L.A. since the 1800s. What’s the big deal? I don’t like Villaraigosa, but it has nothing to do with him being Hispanic. I can’t stand Gavin Newsom for much the same reasons.

    “That self-righteous asshole can go fuck himself. Calling me a pale face and melanin-challenged. Fuck him!”

    Relax dude, he’s just being tongue-in-cheek.

    1. Peru. Fujimori.

      Okay, I stand corrected. You have one. Even though I know of Fujimori, and have actually travelled to Peru, his name somehow eluded me.

      New Orleans just elected a white mayor.

      I never said that blacks never vote for a non-black candidate. There are exceptions. But let’s be honest: When do you think Detroit will ever elect a white mayor? When will Baltimore elect a white mayor anytime soon? Don’t let “The Wire” fool you.

      Yeah, but he’s the first Hispanic mayor of L.A. since the 1800s.

      Okay, but as “La Raza” continues to grow in numbers and become more active, I suspect that he will be the first of many Hispanic mayors.

      But hey, I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.

      Even though Hillary and Obama’s policies are virtually identical. Yeah, no racism there huh?

      I know that I’m falling into an anti-racist trap, but what about the monolithic black vote for Barack Obama during the primaries? Even black women, a group some thought would relate to Hilary, chose the black guy.

      Hilary won a higher percentage of the Hispanic and Asian vote (not 100% sure about the Asian vote), so how exactly did Obama win the primary in the first place? The monolithic black vote.

      I know, blacks are oppressed, so they’re just voting for someone whom they think can best represent them. For whites to vote for race, however, is an expression of white supremacy. Blah blah blah.

      I didn’t hear blacks saying they wouldn’t show up to vote if Obama lost the nomination.

      Well, blacks are always going to vote Democrat regardless of what happens. That’s what happens when you vote as a monolithic bloc. That’s hardly because blacks are more enlightened and mature, as opposed to those white Hilary voters.

      Why should blacks be able to base their votes solely on race while just a few whites making their votes race based is evidence of horrible racism?

      White Americans have the highest standard of living in the world.

      Well, black Americans also have one of the highest standards of living in the world. If black America were a nation in and of itself, it would rank 14th or 15th in the world in terms of GDP and wealth.

      You’re just speaking of overall American prosperity, so I don’t see your point.

      Besides, that nice standard of living you speak of continues to erode.

      But I bet those poor whites wouldn’t have traded places with a black either.

      Probably not. But again, that’s the problem of speaking of “privilege” in these simplistic, relative terms. Sure, they may be “privileged” relative to many blacks, but they are hardly privileged in absolute terms. Just because you may have a relatively better life as opposed to a slave hardly means that life is good. I hardly consider that “privilege.”

      Also, blacks in the U.S. enjoy countless rights and opportunities that minorities elsewhere don’t get to enjoy. I’m guessing blacks wouldn’t trade places with them either. Therefore, based on relative terms, blacks are “privileged,” when in absolute terms they clearly aren’t.

      I know, you’ll say such a comparison is inaccurate.

      But really, if we’re all “privileged” on account that we would rather not trade places with someone who faces greater problems than us, then virtually everyone except an impoverished, homosexual, disabled, and uneducated Dalit woman infected with Aids living in a Mumbai slum is “privileged.” Your definition of “privileged” means not having it quite as bad as the next guy.

      That’s a shaky definition.

      YOUR interests are looked after more than black interests.

      How exactly are my interests look after? Last time I checked, there’s still unchecked 3rd world immigration (which is supported by our current administration), radical leftist thought on college campuses (including the one I attend, though it’s not so bad compared to other campuses), which goes against white interests, outsourcing, etc.

      I think outsourcing and illegal immigration are great examples of how the vast majority of whites are powerless despite the fact that most powerful individuals happen to be white.

      Most whites are strongly opposed to both ills, yet corporate and political elites continue to encourage such things.

      I hardly see my white interests being looked after.

      I rarely follow the MSM (I rely on alternative news sources), particularly on TV, so I rarely see or hear about missing white women. I guess I have to just turn on the idiot box in order to truly enjoy such a “privilege.”

      Okay, I’ll give you the cops to a certain extent, even though I’ve never really had cops rush to my rescue.

      Relax dude, he’s just being tongue-in-cheek

      See, that’s the great thing about being a polemicist. You can say as much offensive and provocative shit as you want, but when someone actually calls you on your BS, you can pull out the “I’m just being tongue-in-cheek and satirical” card.

      So I guess if black conservative polemicists were to refer to underachieving blacks as “neglectful negroes,” “tar faces,” or “melanin-plagued,” it would all be tongue-in-cheek, right?

      Memo to Timmy the unwise: I don’t care whether or not your tirades are partially tongue-in-cheek. They aren’t funny, and they won’t win me over. Try again, asshole.

      Tulio, it seems as if we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

  8. Dear Bay area guy
    In Peru there is no racial majority. The four main racial groups in that country are whites, mestizos, indians and blacks. None of them is a majority and there is a lot of animosity between all four groups. Since Fujimori belongs to a tiny racial minority that is not hated by any of the four main groups, he actually enjoyed a huge racial advantage because he was neutral to nearly everybody else in Peru, a sort of racial compromise candidate.
    India has a Sikh president. France has had Jewish prime ministers. Turkey has had a Kurdish prime minister. Canada has had 3 French-Canadian prime ministers. Of course, language and religion are different from race in that with race there can be no assimilation or conversion. A Kurd can learn Turkish and become prime minister, but a black can’t become white.
    To digress a bit, although an individual can’t change his race, a society can change its racial composition through interbreeding. For instance, a society which is initially 60% white and 40% black may after a few generations be 10% black, 30% white and 60% brown.
    In the US there is the illogical habit of thinking in terms of racial dichotomies. In the past it was white versus black, with no brown inbetween, while today it is white versus non-white. However, the non-whites are a diverse lot and include many partial whites such as Obama and Hale Berry.
    I refuse to call Obama black. He is a half-white, and in terms of upbringing, he is American white and Indonesian. Psychologists may figure out why Obama became a such a strongly self-identifying black, but a person can’t change his ancestry or race, and objectively Obama remains a mulatto. End of story.
    The case of Hale Berry is even more curious. She is another half-white who identifies as a black, although she was raised mainly by her white mother and her black father beat the daylight out of her mother. I just can’t figure it out.
    Obama and Berry racially identify with the parent who either played no role in their lives, as in Obama’s case, or only a small and negative role, as is the case with Berry. Go figure!
    Regards. James

    1. “I just can’t figure it out.
      Obama and Berry racially identify with the parent who either played no role in their lives, as in Obama’s case, or only a small and negative role, as is the case with Berry. Go figure!”

      They identify as black because that’s what society sees them as. Keep in mind there are many blacks that have their same phenotype and neither parent is white. Blacks tend to only see themselves as mixed or mulatto if one parent is white. If they have the same features yet both parents consider themselves African-American(e.g. Prince the musician), that person considers their self black.

  9. Let’s say for the sake of argument that white privilege does exist, and for the record, I think it does, in the very small sense that–all else being equal–white people are not subject to things like automatic suspicion from police, etc. Mostly, BFD. But sometimes it really is a BFD, I’ll admit it. Yesterday, I got caught zipping through a stop sign and got a warning. I know that wouldn’t have happened if I were black. I’m grateful for the $75.00 I get to keep, and possibly not getting tazed.

    But if it does exist, it’s such a small factor in American life today compared to other factors. It doesn’t really make white people’s lives better in any measurable way when stacked up against other things, and white people are right to dismiss it. And the idea is so outlandish that if you actually want to communicate, you’re better off just dropping it. If you want to piss people off for no reason–as I suspect is the case a lot of the time–then it’s just the thing.

    And that’s another thing: if it does exist, why would I or anyone else give it up? Life gives most people few enough advantages as it is… So if I have it, you’ll pry it out of my cold dead hands. That is all.

    1. Yes, no one is going to give up privilege, at least not willingly. Besides, other Whites would have to revoke the privilege, and that’s not going to happen, either.

    2. “And that’s another thing: if it does exist, why would I or anyone else give it up? Life gives most people few enough advantages as it is… So if I have it, you’ll pry it out of my cold dead hands. That is all.”

      You’re not saying anything new here. Blacks have been prying it from the gripping hands of whites since Frederick Douglass. We already know whites have never wanted to give it up. Why do you think there were sit-ins and boycotts and marches in the 60s?

  10. Corrected:

    To Alpha Unit:

    Yes, no one is going to give up privilege, at least not willingly. Besides, other Whites would have to revoke the privilege, and that’s not going to happen, either.

    Alpha, how would an individual then give up White privilege?

    1. It was Mort Goldman who suggested that no one would willingly give up privilege. I agree with him, but my point is that even if a White person wanted to give up privilege, other Whites would have to cooperate and not extend it.

      For example, if you are given the benefit of the doubt in a situation by another White person, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about that, no matter how much you may personally deplore White Privilege.

  11. To Alpha Unit:

    even if a White person wanted to give up privilege, other Whites would have to cooperate and not extend it.

    Well I think as James alluded it’s really about majority privilege. In terms of business one tends to hire people whom you can read the best or have some connection to. In 1975 and earlier that was clearly Whites. In California in the present day….
    Take a look at who is doing construction or landscaping. (Considered decent jobs when I was growing up…) or the IT industry. The former is now is heavily Latino and the latter is predominantly Asian… whereas as recently as 25 years ago both were predominantly White. No privilege there that I can see. Where’s the privilege when your union job is shipped to Mexico or China.. or your accounting or IT job to India or China…? Capitalists don’t give two shits what color you are as long as you can do the for less money and better than the next guy.

    Most of the sociological studies that support the notion of White privilege examine the differences between Black and White… sort of binary thinking (and stuck in an era from 45 years ago..)

    Throw in Latinos and Asians and one decidedly gets a different read.

    Best performers in School: Asians
    Longest lifespan: Asians
    Lowest infant mortality: Asians followed by Latinos.
    Highest family income: South Asians, followed by second generation NE Asians, followed gen 1.5 Asians
    Lowest incarceration rate: Asians

    Oh by the way.. if we wanted to drill down and look at how ethnic groups within the category of White are performing…. any guesses as to how the tribe is doing. (this will get Heg/Hoff going..)

    I haven’t seen any stats but I would speculate that Jews do substantially better than Gentiles in terms of education and income. Robert Jensen or Tim Wise talking about “Jew privilege..” ahh whooops. Maybe not. (Understand of course that my father is ethnically Jewish although, since he was raised in Mexico till the age of 13 he does Latin pretty well….)

    1. Jews in the U.S. are almost entirely Ashkenazi Jews, so they fall under the umbrella of white privilege. Maybe that in part explains why America defends Israels interest unwaveringly.

      “In terms of business one tends to hire people whom you can read the best or have some connection to. ”

      That has sociological consequences in life chances when you’ve spent most of your history with a racial caste system. You may say, “well too bad”, but if the shoe was on the other foot, you might feel differently.

      1. I would say that blacks have been subjected to a negative caste status that other minorities (even heavily persecuted ones like Native Americans) have not. This no doubt has harmed their ability to climb the socioeconomic ladder. Nevertheless, I get the sense that this stigmatization is slowly withering away.

  12. To:

    UM:
    ““In terms of business one tends to hire people whom you can read the best or have some connection to. ”
    Tulio:
    That has sociological consequences in life chances when you’ve spent most of your history with a racial caste system. You may say, “well too bad”, but if the shoe was on the other foot, you might feel differently.”

    Well I guess I should more clear.. that’s how things used to work…. but the so called racial caste system has not precluded Asians from dominating in the IT industry nor Latinos to dominate (at least in Cal and the SouthWest….) the construction industry and in the Midwest meat packing. The former very desirable White color jobs and the latter very desirable blue color jobs.

    Jews in the U.S. are almost entirely Ashkenazi Jews, so they fall under the umbrella of white privilege.

    I guess my point wasn’t clear.. I would wager that Jews outperform gentiles in income to the same degree as Whites outperform Blacks. Sort of like the notion of a market dominant minority such as the Chinese in Indonesia, Malaysia (in the two former countries there are laws that restrict Chinese entrance in Universities and certain businesses yet they still outperform the locals..) and in Thailand and the Philippines.

  13. I was thinking about White Privilege the other day in regards to beauty. One statement that you will always find on a list of White privileges is that “a white female has the privilege of knowing that females that are considered beautiful resemble them more than they resemble women of other races.”

    And that’s the statement that I’m not so sure about. Even before I read studies that suggest that there are racial preferences in interracial dating, I noticed that men of all races prefer white or Asian women. These days I even wonder whether Asian women have replaced white women as the most beautiful women in the world!

    If they have then that’s one statement we can cross of the White Privilege list.

    1. I think Asian women are way overhyped. There are some beautiful Asian women, don’t get me wrong, but they are fetishized to ridiculous extremes. I’ve seen MANY a ugly Chinese woman. And few of them have any sexy curves. I think the fetishizing of Asian women has less to do with the way they look and more to do with their perceived submissiveness.

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