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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.

Comments

gollwyn
May. 20th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
Still today.
Literally, within the last month, I've had three incidents. One was an acquaintance who assumed that I had certain racial suppositions in common with him in a casual conversation.

Another were a group of strangers at a bar, who didn't realize or care that I could overhear them.

Another was in the workplace, where one of my new bosses intimated that another of our employees wasn't "a good fit" for "cultural reasons"

It's there, just open eyes and ears. It is all over the place. And it is meaningful - the employee in question won't get the benefit of the doubt that another might somewhere down the road.

Again, it's not explicit privilege. It's getting benefit of the doubt.

Honestly, I think you are in a position where you not only don't see what didn't happen to you, that you do see what does happen to you, regarding weight-bias and socioeconomic bias, and that makes it look similar.

Statistically is the only way to gauge the similarity. Weight bias is actually pretty darn pervasive, and pretty significant in terms of impact, but while more common, it isn't typically measured to be as extreme in most people.

But for the idea that you can't find evidence of detrimental racism in practice in the last 20 years? You are fooling yourself. Ask and look around.
technoir
May. 20th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Still today.
Can I find a racism example? Of course. Does that equal a culture of racism being acceptable? Does that mean that is acceptabel to the society at large? No of course not. If you find someone doing so call them on it cause they are not the norm. They are the exception and society does not think they are okay.

It is okay in our present society to discriminate and insult people who are fat. Your weak, disgusting, and stink. A person can go on TV and say it and not get fired or lambasted. it is concidered funny.

Tell me which one has the privilege? People who face racism can appeal to the society and get recourse. Some one who is over weight cannot. Someone who faces possible racism may go and commiserate with others of their minority. They can sue. they can be proud. They can get aid in getting jobs and cgoing to college. I cannot. I can get fired from some jobs for being fat. I can't commiserate with someone else who is fat because the pervasive attitude about being fat infects the fat as well as the skinny.

Tell me where is the privilege? Privilege means special rights and rules in your favor. Being white does not confer that. White privilege is a catch phrase for saying whites have it easy at best. It is flat out an excuse for insult at its worse.

No one has yet told me why white privilege gets to be a thing that is accepted into acedemic circles, has books published about and repeatedly brought in almost any debate about race the past few years, BUT ....all of the statistical corollaries with the exception of sex get all but ignored. The fact the term exists is because we as a country are race obsessed and view the information through that lens.
lilisonna
May. 20th, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Still today.
I hate to say it, but covert racism is still completely acceptable in a lot of places. Overt racism is acceptable for that matter.

Yes, you can't get away with calling someone racial slurs in public, but I can assure you that the underhand, "ha-ha-ha" only joking sorts of racism? Alive and well.

The good news is that in another 20 or 25 years, black/white tensions will likely be replaced by Arab/Hispanic vs White/Black tension.
technoir
May. 20th, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Still today.
The good news is we have it within our power to eliminate racism as anything other than a historical footnote and the purview of the slow witted. The first step is to stop accepting it as the primary explanation for behavior and circumstance.

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technoir
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