Interesting article and well written but I can see where you might have gone off track.
White privilege is not primarily a privilege of economics and economic opportunity.
White privilege first off is a certain blindness to perspective and an assumption of sameness.
Often when white people think about privilege, we think in economic terms. We think rich vs poor but don’t touch upon other factors.
A better question to start with: Take two people of otherwise equal standing. One is white and one is not.
Who has a higher social standing?
There was a famous article written ” “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of White Privilege,” by Peggy MacIntosh which may be part of the issue. Her article framed white privilege in terms of economic privilege. I’ve heard she’s revised it since then, but the original article still floats around.
As white people, we tend to think in terms of class.
We understand the framework of class.
But what makes white privilege difficult for us to grasp fully (I still work on it) is that it contains metrics we don’t generally have to consider.
It comes with having the default status in a society.
The strange thing about white privilege is that race is a social construct that’s morphed and changed through the centuries. Yet this mythological construct remains even if it name isn’t spoken aloud.
What’s fascinating too- is that everything in your article is right. Nothing you said it wrong in there. But it’s very white.
You wrote a white article.
That doesn’t make it a racist article. But understanding white privilege requires a mirror to look at your own perspective as you are writing. You have to own up to your own worldview that you are coming from. It feels weird at first but it’s rather freeing. It eliminates this notion of “I have the objective perspective”.
Well, white privilege is even more innocuous to the beholder than even that.
Think 0 position. Default. The only values that are considered for this equation are 0 and above. There is nothing below 0.
When you’re at the default position, in your mind, that’s where everybody is at minimum.
But then someone comes along and informs you that there is such a thing as negative numbers.
=====The issue is that privilege _doesn’t_ see race. That’s what makes it distinct from racism. It’s the flipside of racism.
I’ll give a physics example. E=MC2 is the formula, yes?
Only when the mass isn’t moving.
But what if the mass is moving?
Will E=MC2 as a formula be able to help you? Or did we drop some variables (such as race) too soon and have forgotten what those variables are enough to do the calculation for moving mass at relativistic speeds properly?
It’s awkward to use E²=(mc²)²+(pc)² when we’re used to E=MC².
Being outside of the bell-curve in several ways, there’s some aspects of systemic oppression I can relate to.
However, it’s taken a conscious education for me to comprehend what it means to “be the default American” (white / male) in most ways and how that warping of my perspective blinds me to the realities of those who are not.
I’m still working on it.
Lash is presenting an “everything’s fine now” face to the public I’ve been telling people “We did what we said. We took it down. Had discussions. The democratic process happened and now the flag is back up again”.
The Trumpies will have their victory dance but I won’t give them the satisfaction of believing they had any kind of victory.
The sad thing about my “public face” response is that it’s yet again putting a white blanket over the issues.
I tell them that the college was in control the whole time – your little protests had no effect.
But did they? Absolutely. That Fox guy putting his foot in Lash’s door must’ve certainly put the threat of violence in his head: that the violent bullies need to be placated.
I won’t give Trumpers the satisfaction of believing they had any effect whatsoever. But yes, yes they did.
We’re in the post-truth era… or put another way, back in the Yellow Journalism era of the 19th century.
Well said Neil. Love the band name. The naked flagpole was inspirational to me as well. The fact that it was naked at all and caused such a public uproar was amazing and it was the college _I_ went to that did it is something I’m really proud of.
Oh absolutely. Well, I’ve given a little more data. The original theoretical framework for white privilege is from the 1980s, called Critical Race Theory. It’s grown and evolved since then but this is when this cultural interpretation began.
It’s related to color bilndness. You and I were probably raised with color blindness as the solution for racism. While it’s been partially effective, it appears that “not talking about it” may have made things worse.
“Critics of color-blindness argue that color-blindness operates under the assumption that we are living in a world that is “post-race”, where race no longer matters, when in fact it is still a prevalent issue.”
That’s the hardest part about white privilege: we _are_ part of the problem and yet it’s not really something we can entirely solve ourselves.
Look at the base definition of these studies:
“The intersection of race, law and power.”
If we just don’t talk about race (“Why are ‘they’ always bringing up race when it’s an economic issue?”) or law injustice (“Just do what the policeman says!”) and power (“Sure, most of the US government is white but they’re blind to race in the application of governing”) – then we can’t even begin to grasp it.
Having handicapped children, I bet you’ve come across some ridiculous notions, even among educated people, who are simply clueless about the realities yet have some fantastic theory.
I’ve seen that with child developmental psychology, something that’s been an ongoing interest of mine. In short, there’s a lot of crap out there by people who seem to know what they’re talking about but who only see children in laboratory settings… like school visits, or compare to their own kids, or base their notions on statistics or prior studies.
But they lack the direct experience or have difficulty in perspective shifting enough to see where their lenses aren’t working properly.
Being a know-it-all type, I’m always fighting with this in myself. I’ll have a marvelous analogy and a very clear grasp on something and I’ll defend it: it’ll be a completely defensible position… yet lacking critical variables that I don’t even realize it needs, rather like the people who come up with elaborate alternative theories of the Universe that base their notions on E=MC2 without ever seeing the motion variable they’re missing.
[I’m not calling what you wrote as crap by the way. It’s not at all: I’m just expressing a frustration that I run up against when I’m studying various things]
For example : I’ve had this article tossed at me when I’ve been in discussions about white privilege. It makes the same mistake I see frequently: substituting class for race.
A good example of white privilege explained in entertainment: Tyler Perry has a TV series called “Too Close to Home”. The initial premise is great and with my eyes more aware of white privilege, I was able to see what he was doing : the message would be missed by most white viewers but heard loud and clear by PoC:
One of the main characters is a white woman from a very poor Alabama town. She fakes her resume, gets a nice haircut and loses her accent. She manages to get a high level position in US Govt and somehow ends up sleeping with the President (which gives him a heart attack and leads her to returning to her roots, but not before taking down a few of her political friends).
White privilege is the only reason why she was able to cross class lines so freely. I don’t know if anybody else noticed it or pointed it out, but I spotted it when I saw an episode.
I’ve become fluent in explaining white privilege to people who are the “why can’t we just ignore race and all get along?” (which is what I once was).
I’m pretty left although I see some things on the right that I agree with or don’t have a problem with at least.
But I basically like finding ppls triggers and gently prodding them and seeing what happens. I don’t just do it to troll either; i find it leads into interesting discussions.
I push intellectuals buttons. It’s a challenge because I pick people who are way smarter than me but *I* can see their fatal flaw… the perspective they missed or the thing they unconsciously rest their whole arguments upon.
I like how the left is changing. I knew that’s where I was but never gave a shit about politics beyond voting sometimes. Now it’s looking interesting. I had fun with the alt right and related groups – I learned all about the ‘other side’ – and they make some good points even. But I’m looking back at the left again and seeing what I can do there.
That’s a funny thing though: I have friends on the left who are saying the same thing. Same thing that the people on the right have been saying. It’s one of those areas where the left is taking ideas from the right and adopting them. [such as ‘identity politics is dead’]. I see opportunity there.
But I think political systems are generally becoming a dying thing anyway.
Equality is one of those things that’s impossible to achieve but not an unworthy goal. Capitalism is simple and easy to achieve.
Yeah. Like to me, I don’t care if there’s rich people out there or powerful people out there, so long as the lowest have a decent enough existence and opportunity for self-betterment.
I think what we’re seeing now is the capitalists are standing there naked whereas at one time they hid better.
We may be moving back towards monopolies. Already, one business used threats to move 2000 jobs to Mexico in order to get promised tax breaks from an incoming President. Now they’ll only move 1000 jobs to Mexico, get tax advantages. The precedent is set, and other companies will follow suit.
The stock markets are useful lies. It’s the most emotional thing ever created.
The problem with the markets is that they’re based on human bias, all the way down to the “fundamentals”. Emotions (news driven) create bubbles and bursts, but all a bubble and burst is, is moving further away from the truth and closer to the truth but never actually achieving the truth.
There’s real value but it’s not reflected in the markets. The market solely reflects emotions and will always be in turmoil.
The shareholders affect the market though. That’s the thing. Doesn’t matter how fancy the trading software is; the very fundamentals are emotionally driven and don’t reflect rationality.
Some aspects can be. I did investing long ago and loved it. I did long term. I learned how to read the charts and they’re very predictable. You can see a bubble forming that’s way out of line, ride it, and jump off before it bursts.
[well, I invested for long term knowing I’d only use it short term – I’ve since taken everything out of the market just a few years ago ]
Unstable but not unpredictable. You just have to keep 1/2 an eye on the movements.
Right now for example, [I’m not following it but ppl tell me this] – apparently the market’s booming. People are attributing it to Trump’s victory. But that’s not it at all.
It’s a bubble. A HUGE bubble being invested into by some very smart people who just have to wait until the time is right and then.. BOOM, then pull out just before the burst happens.
I did well by studying unfairly depressed markets and looking for the strong ones. Basic contrarian investing really.
Only fools believe they control the market. The wizards of the market know how to read it, encourage and discourage but not control.
I know how to get the money but my conscience keeps me from doing certain things, so I don’t. It’s my own stupidity.