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okay the controversy

So I was reading an LJ today and the subject of "White Privilege" Came up. This is the notion that by the mere dent of being white, a persons life will have an inherent benefit or easing of problems or standards. This was used as an argument for why someone was being clueless talking about a subject related to race. The idea is if you are white your opinion on race is suspect because you benefit of the so called White Privilege.

Now I believe that 50 years ago there was a strong argument for White Privilege. It was clearly present Culturally and in the laws of the time sadly. I believe in the last 20 years though you are hard pressed to come up with real evidence for it. You can find evidence of some things which are sad. The statistics of minority students who get higher education or doctorates are distressing. However the evidence these days could easily be read on the aspect of financial status more than race. With a very few exceptions the evidence just is not conclusive.

I personally don't believe in it. It just isn't there any more. That is not to say there are not some individual racists out there. There are of course plenty of them out there. I am saying there is no inherent cultural, religious, or legal benefits to being born white. I certainly have never benefited from it. There is no one in my long and winding experience that I can point to and say they benefited from it more than being born in to an upper middle class home. The arguments so far presented fail to show privilege in an indisputable way. What is more I feel using that as a justification to discount someone is lazy and disingenuous. Rather than explain why you think someone is wrong on something you point to them and say well they are white. Not only does it not address why they are wrong, but it really is kind of racist. it renders any argument might offer there after weaker as a result.

This discussion went on someones lj and they very politely indulged the discussion till they were done and then asked it be moved elsewhere. So I am posting my thoughts here to any who felt compelled to continue the discussion.

keep it civil.


(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
May. 20th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
And, ultimately, I think the argument about whether there's social privilege is less useful than the argument of, assuming there is, what I, as an advantaged individual, am able or ethically required to do about it.

I agree. I think that white privilege, to sum up a point made elsewhere, is in part the ability to ask whether there ought to be a debate. It'd be nice to just go on and move ahead from that already.
May. 20th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
It is ridiculous to state people of minority cant ask whether should be a debate. They can of course ask that and no they are not stupid for doing so. Obsession with race on both sides is holding it around as a relevant issue. That realization does not require a particular ethnicity.
May. 20th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC)
To some extent, you're correct and I agree, but there will always exist some measure of racism (witting or unwitting): and much for the same reasons you describe. Labeling people/things is instinctive. If the shit goes to hell in a handbasket, we're surrounded by others like us. If you're the odd man (or woman) out in a group in such situations, whether you're the only one of your kind in an office who is undergoing layoffs, or something far more serious, chances are it won't go as well for you. It's a survival mechanism, and while we can fight against it, only by so much: therein lies your acceptance of similarly "minded" persons. All in all, however, race is the easiest label we can use and frankly, if things went really bad, I wouldn't want to be the only white/black/whatever person in a crowd... however much they and I might think alike.



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