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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.


May. 20th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
The problem with this is it infers an accepted cause and effect from the statistics which is not actually proven. Because i am white statistically more likely to succeed. because I am overweight I am less likely to succeed. Because someone else is taller than me they are more likely to succeed. Why is it we always come back to race? Why is that the important one? I can get the sexism one. There are cultural forces that still find it acceptable to deny someone something based on sex. They cant serve in direct combat roles(though that is lessening) They cant be priests in many religious sects. It is still okay to occasionally make fun of women being ineffectual. People still enjoy the I love Lucy bits which do this pretty solidly.

Race is the one gets trotted out though, with the exception of sexism it gets more play. Mainly because we are as a people obsessed with race when it really does not have as much of an effect on your relative success as say being born with money. The reason it is okay to bring up white privilege is not because it confers privilege which is in fact defined as special rules or standards separate from everyone else. It is brought up to say see white people wont understand because they have never faced real racism. This is in of itself a racist statement. I have faced racism in just not the kind people think of. I get told I am racist because i am white and southern. I get called cracker. I get told I don't belong in a neighborhood because I am white. But I am privilege and there for dont have to deal with racism.

Cant you we just say some people are getting the short end of the stick for various reasons. That something should be done about that. Does it have to be about race? Does it have to be about nullification of my perspective because I was born of the wrong skin color?
May. 21st, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Race gets trotted out, as you say, because people still alive can remember when it was worse than it is. Yeah. But up to your knees or up to your neck, shit is still shit. Just because there isn't as much doesn't mean it's gone.

Also not saying it's just as wrong when someone calls you a cracker as when someone calls me by any of the myriad slurs as can be used against a mullatto. That's overt racism. That's something different. It's also overtly wrong when someone misuses the concept of privilege to use it as an insult, just as it's wrong to hurl words like 'gay' as epithets-- then it's just abusive namecalling.

Namecalling is lame.



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