PG had heard the phrase “white privilege” a few times, and decided to ask Mr.Google about it. The top choice was White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack “This article is now considered a ‘classic’ by anti-racist educators.” It is four pages long, which might not break the attention span.
A document like this is almost impossible to read with an open mind. You are a member of a group, such as a white male like PG. There are a lot of things here which PG agrees with, a few his disagrees with, and a few that are dependent on the reader’s point of view. The sentence that PG felt obliged to copy was ” I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitudes”. It is as if the attitudes of black people did not matter.
There are more headshakers in this article. In a list of privileges white folks take for granted, number 18 was ” I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.”. That might have true once, but is not today.
Getting back to White Privilege (and ignoring the White Privilege Conference results), there are lots of people thinking about this subject. The University of Dayton contributes Defining “White Privilege”. In the text, the author mentions starting a site, Whiteprivilege.com. This site is currently under construction. It does give you the opportunity to buy “Privilege Car Insurance”.
A feature, What is white privilege?, compares every person with pale skin to the Palin family. “White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.” This runs counter to line 21 of the Invisible Knapsack list, ” I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group. “
PG went looking for answers, and got more questions. He does not deny that being caucasian has advantages in our society. These advantages do not mean that one should lay down quietly and let black people get their revenge. We are all G-d’s children. You should be proud of who you are, without taking advantage of your neighbor.
After publishing a feature about white privilege , PG thought it would be fair to look into black privilege. When you visit Mr. Google, some of his suggestions are black privilege checklist, black privilege furniture, and black privilege fact or fiction. The top result is a feature in American Thinker. “Personally, I have never had a moment of white guilt in my life. Now this is a significant statement given that I am Jewish and from New York. I feel guilty about pretty much everything!”.
NPR has an audio file called Black Male Privilege? . It is downright fascinating.
Prof. LEWIS: I think youve unfortunately identified one of the central issues of black male privilege. So often, black men are used to being under attacked that when it comes to being accountable for the actions we may have, we quickly say, well, I couldnt possibly be doing anything wrong. Look at all the ways in which Im oppressed. Look at all the ways in which Im at the bottom of the barrel. What that does is rob us of an opportunity to actually build stronger community and it robs black men of a chance to actually take hold of the actions that they have so that we can empower the community.
MARTIN: What reaction do you get when you talk to people about this?
Prof. LEWIS: Among black women, in particular, I get a lot of amens and saying, thank for actually exposing this. Among black men, one of the most common ones I get is, well, this seems ridiculous. Its an oxymoron. How could black men be privileged? Its like jumbo shrimp. It doesnt add up. … And they say, you know, what did my black male privilege get me? Im unemployed. … : Initially, my first exposure was actually around the Million Man March. I felt that I was transformed by the Million Man March, and I thought it was one of the most powerful events ever. And I was having a conversation in class with a professor, Dr. Beverly Guy Sheftall, and she said that she couldnt support the Million Man March because it was very patriarchal and it put black men at the center. And I said, well, it doesnt always have to patriarchal. You dont always have to put black men at the center. And if she said, isnt it an amazing privilege to tell someone else what they dont have to take seriously? And that paused me for a moment. And I said, wow. What is it in my past that makes me say I can define what someone else would think of as important? (Here are more thoughts on this subject by Dr. L’Heureux Dumi Lewis )
Times are tough in the US of A. To an unemployed white person it is easy to say, what good has this privilege done me? And isn’t it a form of privilege to label anything you don’t like about someone as being due to privilege? Has privilege become a catch22 for anything you don’t like about a person?
This feature is not a complete recap of the google results for black privilege. There were a couple of white racist sites that are best ignored. Two wrongs do not make a right. This is a double repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is written like H. P. Lovecraft.