Author Topic: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?  (Read 4726 times)

Wolfpack Mustachian

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White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« on: November 09, 2018, 08:52:33 PM »
This is a topic I've been thinking a lot about recently. There are some topics where people have inherent disagreements that aren't likely to be bridged due to genuine differing beliefs on fundamental realities. However, sometimes, it seems like people are literally arguing different points where it's almost two entirely different topics/issues they're discussing. I propose that this is one of them.

In any discussion I've seen on the topic of white privilege or privilege in general, the side that believes in privilege, if they're trying to genuinely convince people, present basic examples where they see it as indisputable. These tend to be things such as, police pull over black people more than white people, are more likely to shoot/hurt black people than white people. People with (for lack of a better phrase) "non-standard" names get less call backs for jobs. Minorities have to worry about their actions being generalized to their whole race, etc. These are all very important and real points.

On the other hand, people that are against the concept of privilege tend to rely on their own personal anecdotes. White people arguing against privilege comment that they weren't privileged. They weren't born with wealth. They had to pay their way through college. They may have been the first person in their family who went to college or who got a post-graduate degree. They may have lived with just one parent and had to work even in high school to pay for at least luxuries they got like a car to drive or maybe even necessities. Their feedback is, they didn't experience privilege because they had to work for what they got.

Let me first say, I'm not arguing against the concept of white privilege or that it doesn't exist or even that it should be renamed (I know people have given me crap in the past about focusing on the names of things instead of the problem itself). I've put a lot of thought into these different perspectives because I know many people who argue the second point, and to be frank, it's hard to completely disagree with them. If you look at the word privilege (honestly, my only foray here into definitions of a word), you get definitions like "A peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor; a right or immunity not enjoyed by others or by all." Yes, the fact that you're statistically going to get treated better by the police if you're white is an advantage, but it's only an advantage in a world where some things are crap. Privilege, to many people, should have a baseline of neutral. Again, it's hard to disagree with this completely. I'm privileged if I have the athleticism so far above the average person that I can play professional football and make millions. Of course that's privilege, I'm way above what any rational person would say the norm is. The fact people don't look at my actions and judge all white people is really an indictment on a false norm for how minorities are treated. It's a horrendous thing and should be remedied for sure, but it's actually the horrendous nature of the problem that makes privilege seem to not make sense. How am I privileged when I'm not treated like dirt? Especially when I worked through other obstacles where I was actually less than the norm (economically, family situation wise, etc.).

OK, so why is this important? Well, I'm someone who is willing to change his opinion on things (and someone who has changed his opinion on issues, his vote in the most recent election, etc.) in light of seeing and understanding differences. This has mostly been due to people actually communicating with me about the issues. Communication is important. Also, making sure that you're talking about the same issue is really important, because people can be convinced of some things if you don't lump everything in the same bucket, when it really isn't the same. This is a great example, in my mind. On the one hand, you have people arguing for the existence of privilege. They often use the examples I used above where being neutral is actually a privilege because many people are in a situation that's worse than neutral (neutral meaning for a brief statement, you are treated fairly for who you are and the actions you do without external baggage). I agree that the issues where this isn't true need to be combated and see it as a pretty clear cut case in this. People are being treated unfairly. That's a straight up problem that needs to be addressed.

However, the other side of the coin is more where privilege actually comes in. Some people are born with socioeconomic privilege where they are truly given advantages beyond many others. Maybe their college is paid for and they have the backing of parents so they can start their own business knowing if they fail there will be no long term repercussions because they'll never have to worry about things because they were born into the family they were born into. In the current state of things, even a stable home life could be viewed as privilege considering the norm may not be that. The topic tackles issues like inheritance taxes, social programs to give help to somewhat level the playing field, etc. This is an important issue, as well, but in my mind, it's a separate issue. It's also one that I don't quite support remedying in the same way as I support remedying the first one. I definitely think there is rational discussion that can be had and fixes that can be put in place from an overall societal and governmental standpoint to help address this. However, this issue has extended (at least in the comments of some progressive writers and pundits) to mean, for example, don't give your own children all the advantages you can because it could take away from other children. That's just privilege. I'm not getting behind that, sorry. It may seem like that's a side issue, but I guess that's part of my point (it's a very different issue than systemic racism).

So what does this mean in practical terms? Well, it affects how you address things and what you address. I'm willing to support and will try to support in my personal life, the eradication of privilege in terms of treating people like crap. I'm also not against overall, systemic addresses of what I think of as true privilege issues, but  I'm not sacrificing my family's interests to do so on a personal level. And, when I'm talking with someone who genuinely wants to listen about white privilege and they say they're not privileged because they barely had enough money for food and clothes growing up and had the work to get everything they had, I might just agree with them but also say even if you're not privileged, that doesn't mean other people aren't getting screwed and that we shouldn't do something about it. Who knows, it may get through to them like similar discussions have helped me.

Thoughts?

GuitarStv

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2018, 08:18:08 AM »
Yes, wealth is a privledge.  That has long been known, and indeed many of the underpinnings of socialism are based around reducing the inherent unfairness of wealth concentration.  Given that white privledge typically results in things that lead to higher income, I'm not entirely sure that you can examine it as a wholly seperate issue.  They are different, but intertwined.

Having privledge doesn't mean you don't work to get what you have.  This appears to be a common misconception in these discussions.  Having white privledge means that if you work really hard you'll probably get further ahead than a black guy working really hard.  It doesn't mean that you can't take pride in your accomplishments, it's an acknowledgement that others in your place would have had things slightly worse.

You mention that you're not willing to sacrifice your families interests to resolve privledge.  I'd argue that this effectively means you are not interested in resolving the privledge problem.  While white privledge exists, you have an advantage being hired for a job over a black guy.  The advantage might be slight, but it's real.  Your kid will also have this same advantage.  If you get rid of white privledge somehow , both you and your kid will have a harder time to get a job because you're forced to compete on a level playing field.  This would be a sacrifice of your families interests on a personal level.

pecunia

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2018, 04:44:56 PM »
It may take a generation or more to change a Society's attitudes.

Some folks in the South still battle over the War of Northern Aggression. (Civil War)

Change what you can change, accept what you can't and pray for the wisdom to know the difference.

One more thing - I see a lot of successful minorities.  Some were not born in this country, yet they climb the ladder of success against obstacles that many born in North America did not face.  I think a lot of them have mustachian values and this aids their success.

Kris

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2018, 04:49:52 PM »
The point of white privilege is, any problems you might have are NOT because of your race.

And other, non-white people, confront problems that hold them back BECAUSE of their race every day.

DreamFIRE

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2018, 05:42:55 PM »
Mehhh...  I think the whole "white privilege" thing is overplayed.  I never worried about it and just worked hard to get ahead in life.  There are too many excuses people choose to use that hold them back.

Spiritual_Lobotomy

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2018, 05:57:39 PM »
The point of white privilege is, any problems you might have are NOT because of your race.

And other, non-white people, confront problems that hold them back BECAUSE of their race every day.

This made absolutely no sense.

Psychstache

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 06:07:43 PM »
My thoughts are that anonymous online personal finance forums are not the place to change hearts and minds about contentious issues.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk


Kris

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2018, 06:52:05 PM »
The point of white privilege is, any problems you might have are NOT because of your race.

And other, non-white people, confront problems that hold them back BECAUSE of their race every day.

This made absolutely no sense.

This is why there is no point having this conversation.

ketchup

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2018, 07:20:31 PM »
The point of white privilege is, any problems you might have are NOT because of your race.

And other, non-white people, confront problems that hold them back BECAUSE of their race every day.

This made absolutely no sense.
It makes complete sense to me.  I'm a 27 year old white guy born in American suburbia to upper-middle-class married parents.  I'm privileged as fuck.  I've had problems, or limitations, or obstacles in my life; everyone does.  But zero of that has been due to my race, gender, or socioeconomic class.  Those are my unfair advantage.  This doesn't mean I've necessarily coasted through life.  I've worked hard for what I have, but I would've had to work harder to get to the same place if it weren't for those things.  That's privilege.

Johnez

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2018, 08:34:59 PM »
White privilege, I used to have a hard time with this term. It's often used as a weapon, which causes the defensive reaction, but it's there and it's real. I'm half Hispanic but look white. Being pulled over to me isn't a worry. I'm not wondering if the cop is afraid of me, if I'm being profiled, if I'll be confused for a wanted suspect and beat to a pulp. None of it. I wonder if this will be the day I get a ticket. Being white in this regard is like being male in the middle of the night walking to your car. The thought of "will this be the night I'm sexually assaulted?" isn't crossing our mind. The thing about privilege is that those who have it assume it's the natural state of things, which in truth probably should be the case. Recognizing that others of different race or sex actually have to think of ways to mitigate issues specific to their race or sex was hard for me. To point out there is a possibility that there is privilege to being of a race is to admit there is *gasp* racism in the world, which leads to the next step-that we might be playing a role in that racism.

Kris's post sums up what white privilege is perfectly.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 08:38:25 PM by Johnez »

FM5

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2018, 02:04:25 AM »
Having white privledge means that if you work really hard you'll probably get further ahead than a black guy working really hard.  It doesn't mean that you can't take pride in your accomplishments, it's an acknowledgement that others in your place would have had things slightly worse.

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is a liberal. He focused more on making Dilbert a success after being told at two different jobs he wouldn't advance any higher because he isn't "diversity."

White people have to get better grades, test scores, have more skills, etc, to get admitted to college or to get a job over "diversity."  Corporations spend time and money training and hiring people, while often saying whites need not apply. White people don't get special "minority" loans. Melinda Gates said some criteria for how she invests in startups is that she discriminates against whites and males.

White people aren't able to immigrate to a non-white-majority country and then tell the people there they are racist if they don't cater to them. Imagine a white person moving to Africa for a job and then complaining there's too many black people at the company.

The Congressional Black Caucus is a government-linked organization that refuses to let non-blacks join. "Minorities" are encouraged and praised when they put their racial group identity at the forefront of everything. Meanwhile, white people aren't allowed to be proud of any accomplishments by white people.

Non-whites follow white people everywhere they go while at the same time telling them how horrible they are to live with.
Why are non-whites so feverish to live in a supposedly white privileged society?

PKFFW

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2018, 04:23:08 AM »
Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is a liberal. He focused more on making Dilbert a success after being told at two different jobs he wouldn't advance any higher because he isn't "diversity."

White people have to get better grades, test scores, have more skills, etc, to get admitted to college or to get a job over "diversity."  Corporations spend time and money training and hiring people, while often saying whites need not apply. White people don't get special "minority" loans. Melinda Gates said some criteria for how she invests in startups is that she discriminates against whites and males.

White people aren't able to immigrate to a non-white-majority country and then tell the people there they are racist if they don't cater to them. Imagine a white person moving to Africa for a job and then complaining there's too many black people at the company.

The Congressional Black Caucus is a government-linked organization that refuses to let non-blacks join. "Minorities" are encouraged and praised when they put their racial group identity at the forefront of everything. Meanwhile, white people aren't allowed to be proud of any accomplishments by white people.

Non-whites follow white people everywhere they go while at the same time telling them how horrible they are to live with.
Why are non-whites so feverish to live in a supposedly white privileged society?
If you are going to post this kind of crap at least have the balls to do it under your real forum name rather than hiding behind a new account.

FM5

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2018, 07:12:31 AM »
If you are going to post this kind of crap at least have the balls to do it under your real forum name rather than hiding behind a new account.

Your post is the one that adds nothing to the discussion except rudeness.
You didn't even actually say anything.  Your post only consists of a personal attack.

What part of what I wrote do you think is a "kind of crap?"  Be specific.

GuitarStv

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2018, 07:34:58 AM »
What is the desired endgame of the "white privilege" movement?  What result are we hoping to effect?  Do we think the world would be a better place, if only white people would be more modest and show more humility about their accomplishments?  Like, "Yeah, I built that company up from scratch, but I'm white so I can't really be too proud of doing so because I had so many advantages along the way."

If white kids recite the Pledge of White Privilege every morning, would we be all good then? Or would that do very little to fix the underlying problem of systemic racism?   

When HIV and AIDS were escalating in the 80s and 90s, I don't recall activists calling out anyone's "Healthy Privilege". No, they focused on the epidemic and the people being harmed. 

If the problem is that non-white people suffer disadvantages in life, then I think the discussion and language should center on calling out those disadvantages, instead of on calling out a lack of disadvantage, a neutral state, and then labeling that neutral state as an advantage.

I put a term like "white privilege" in the same category as "mansplaining": needlessly incendiary and counterproductive terms, which risk offending allies.  I am a white guy who has voted for democrats my entire life, but I'll tell you this, I've done so despite hearing terms like "white privilege" and "mansplaining", not because of them.  They don't inspire me.  They don't make me more "woke".  They just annoy me.

The hilarious part of this is that I'm going to get roasted by saying I'm offended.  Try to hang in there, buddy.  I know it's hard to be a white guy. You'll be in our thoughts and prayers.   And it will be kind of funny.  And folks will get a good chuckle. I may even chuckle.

But beneath that, I'll still be offended.  And I'm tired of being lectured by people like Kris.  I'm tired of it.  And I'm not the only one. Right now there is some poor, pimply, overweight white kid waking up in a trailer in Oklahoma, and I can guarantee you he's not going to have any interest in hearing about his privilege. Why is that so hard to understand?

Those terms are so counterproductive.  My fear is, those terms (and others like them) may be one of the reasons why fewer white men .  They may even have helped put a dangerous nut job in the White House. 

So go ahead and have a good chuckle.  But the joke actually may be on you.* 

*last sentence is a way dramatic/cheesy but I'm keeping it. No point in revising when I'm going to get roasted anyway.

If you work hard to achieve something, of course you should take pride in it.  It doesn't matter if you have privledge that others don't, you've achieved something!  Good for you.

The 'endgame' of discussing and pointing out white privledge is not to take away from your own accomplishments, it's to increase empathy for those who work just as hard but aren't able to succeed because of their race.  Ideally, it will eventually change how folks think about race and the impacts of long standing, measurable, institutionalized racism . . . which will help to continue reducing the problem.

runbikerun

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2018, 07:44:58 AM »
"Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is a liberal."

A lie in the first nine words of a new poster's first post. That must be some kind of a record. Is there an annual award for speed-trolling?

GuitarStv

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2018, 07:47:16 AM »
If you are going to post this kind of crap at least have the balls to do it under your real forum name rather than hiding behind a new account.

Your post is the one that adds nothing to the discussion except rudeness.
You didn't even actually say anything.  Your post only consists of a personal attack.

What part of what I wrote do you think is a "kind of crap?"  Be specific.

The first sentence (for example), is crap.  Scott Adams isn't liberal.  He's takes extremely conservative points of view on issues of race, climate change, and in the politicians he supports.

Please provide evidence for your claim that white people have to work harder than minorities in order to get ahead.

Many of the black people in the United States didn't immigrate, their ancestors were brought to America as slaves.  They didn't have much choice in the matter.  Typical complaints are related to discriminatory practices, not a desire to have institutions 'cater' to a particular race.

Which white politicians have requested and been refused entry to the black caucus?

Can you elaborate on your 'non-whites follow white people everywhere they go' comment?  Exactly which 'non-whites' are you talking about?  Who is being followed?  Surely you don't mean North America . . . where white people arrived and followed Native people around until they killed and enslaved them, stealing their land . . . right?

FM5

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2018, 08:08:04 AM »
"Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is a liberal."

A lie in the first nine words of a new poster's first post. That must be some kind of a record. Is there an annual award for speed-trolling?

There's another rude post.
Scott Adams is a self-described liberal.

In my previous post, I mentioned that Scott Adams put more effort into his Dilbert comic after being told at two different jobs that he wouldn't advance any higher because he isn't "diversity."

Scott Adams said that. Since he's a liberal, he also said he thinks that was a good thing to promote "racial equality" or whatever.

Speaking of Scott Adams, here's a quick clip of him in 2016 saying that he can't be on the side of the bullies (Hillary) because she and Democrats are trying to make it physically unsafe for people to have a dissenting opinion in this country. Notice how that resembles Fidoh's post in this thread about being intimidated/bullied/made fun of for having an opinion. The bullies do that so they can avoid honest, adult debate on a subject.

https://youtu.be/4h8wZBxDuhQ
"Bullies For Hillary"

FM5

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2018, 08:28:50 AM »
If white kids recite the Pledge of White Privilege every morning, would we be all good then? Or would that do very little to fix the underlying problem of systemic racism?   

The hilarious part of this is that I'm going to get roasted by saying I'm offended.

But beneath that, I'll still be offended.  And I'm tired of being lectured by people like Kris.  I'm tired of it.  And I'm not the only one. Right now there is some poor, pimply, overweight white kid waking up in a trailer in Oklahoma, and I can guarantee you he's not going to have any interest in hearing about his privilege. Why is that so hard to understand?

*last sentence is a way dramatic/cheesy but I'm keeping it. No point in revising when I'm going to get roasted anyway.

Fidoh is a Democrat yet acknowledges the divisive racial rhetoric used by Democrats.

He points out that he knows he will be criticized for daring to speak up.  He knows some people will attack and call him names to bully him into shutting up in order to avoid discussion on the subject. That has been happening all over. Look at the #VerifiedHate hashtag on twitter. It is used to document the bullying, racism, calls for violence, etc, from "blue check mark" verified people on the left. Twitter and Facebook etc never censor those privileged people even when they call for someone to be assassinated. 

Fidoh mentioned systemic racism. In 2017, (former?) liberal Dave Rubin was asked which moment had the highest impact in changing his mind on politics throughout his career at the Rubin Report. His answer was when Larry Elder challenged him on systemic racism. The following video shows that moment. Larry Elder discusses police shootings, how black kids have an easier time getting into college, etc.

https://youtu.be/phPXTWJhnYM
The Moment LARRY ELDER changed DAVE RUBINS Mind Forever (Systemic Racism)




   

scottish

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2018, 08:36:06 AM »
Yes, that's what M. Adams says, he doesn't want the democrats to bully him into silence.   
I note that he has not been successfully bullied into anything.   I'm with guitarstv, Adams is definitely on the right side of the political spectrum.

I find the term 'white privilege' obnoxious.   But maybe that's the intent...

I'd feel better about the term if it was clear that the focus is on lifting everyone up to the same level rather than pulling the privileged people down.

 i.e. US cops should not shoot white suspects as frequently as they do blacks.   Instead they should stop shooting blacks.


bacchi

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2018, 08:36:41 AM »
"Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is a liberal."

A lie in the first nine words of a new poster's first post. That must be some kind of a record. Is there an annual award for speed-trolling?

There's another rude post.
Scott Adams is a self-described liberal.

You're too stuck on the "liberal" and "conservative" divide. What does that mean that he's allegedly a liberal? That his opinion is more valid? Or it has more weight to liberals?


Quote
Speaking of Scott Adams, here's a quick clip of him in 2016 saying that he can't be on the side of the bullies (Hillary) because she and Democrats are trying to make it physically unsafe for people to have a dissenting opinion in this country. Notice how that resembles Fidoh's post in this thread about being intimidated/bullied/made fun of for having an opinion. The bullies do that so they can avoid honest, adult debate on a subject.

By immediately saying that the "other side" is a bunch of bullies, you're doing the same thing. What's the response to that?

"No, we're not."
"Yes, you are!"
No, we're not!"
Oh yeah you are!"

That...doesn't seem like a way to generate honest, adult debate on a subject.

FM5

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2018, 08:38:50 AM »
The 'endgame' of discussing and pointing out white privledge is not to take away from your own accomplishments, it's to increase empathy for those who work just as hard but aren't able to succeed because of their race.  Ideally, it will eventually change how folks think about race and the impacts of long standing, measurable, institutionalized racism . . . which will help to continue reducing the problem.

"White Privilege"... you mean like how Asian immigrants are doing so poorly in America and aren't able to succeed because of their race?  So much "white privilege" holding them down while they have higher income, more degrees, and live longer than white Americans?

maizeman

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2018, 08:40:51 AM »
You mention that you're not willing to sacrifice your families interests to resolve privledge.  I'd argue that this effectively means you are not interested in resolving the privledge problem.  While white privledge exists, you have an advantage being hired for a job over a black guy.  The advantage might be slight, but it's real.  Your kid will also have this same advantage.  If you get rid of white privledge somehow , both you and your kid will have a harder time to get a job because you're forced to compete on a level playing field.  This would be a sacrifice of your families interests on a personal level.

GuitarStv, I read the original poster as saying they weren't happy with the idea of accepting a systematic disadvantage institutionally applied to white people in the USA and Canada to balance out the societal disadvantages applied to folks of color in both countries. I don't see that as being equivalent to being unwilling to work towards a more level playing field by finding and supporting ways to reduce or eliminate the societal disadvantages folks of color experience in each country.

If two people are running a race, and one is competing with stones in her shoes, fairness can be restored by emptying out her shoes or putting stones into the shoes of the other runner. In both cases the end result is much more fair than if no change is made, but there are plenty of runners who will look at you like you are crazy for wanting to put pebbles into their shoes who would never-the-less support delaying the race so that the pebbles can be removed from their competitor's shoes (and look at you like you were crazy if you suggested NOT doing that and forcing their competitor to run with the pebbles).

I find the term 'white privilege' obnoxious.   But maybe that's the intent...

I'd feel better about the term if it was clear that the focus is on lifting everyone up to the same level rather than pulling the privileged people down.

 i.e. US cops should not shoot white suspects as frequently as they do blacks.   Instead they should stop shooting blacks.

Agreed.

bacchi

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2018, 08:50:26 AM »
He points out that he knows he will be criticized for daring to speak up.

???? Why would someone post in a thread like this if they didn't want their ideas to be criticized?

Quote
  He knows some people will attack and call him names to bully him into shutting up in order to avoid discussion on the subject.

Link to someone doing this to Fidoh?


MonkeyJenga

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2018, 09:39:05 AM »
If you look at the word privilege (honestly, my only foray here into definitions of a word), you get definitions like "A peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor; a right or immunity not enjoyed by others or by all." Yes, the fact that you're statistically going to get treated better by the police if you're white is an advantage, but it's only an advantage in a world where some things are crap. Privilege, to many people, should have a baseline of neutral.

We live in a world where some things are crap. Some people get less crap due to their skin color or economic status or whatever, and that is an advantage.

White/light-skinned people can assume our experience is the "neutral" state of things, and that people who don't experience it are disadvantaged compared the baseline. Understandable considering that's our main or only perspective. I would bet people living in communities that are treated unfairly by the police, see the baseline/neutral that white people enjoy as an advantage.

I agree that the phrase itself can make people defensive, which is unhelpful for having meaningful conversations. Even if the concept is valid, language is important for finding common ground.

To speak to your point about one side arguing systemic vs another side arguing personal experience: it's really, really hard to have these conversations, even when everyone is arguing in good faith. Because people can legitimately be disadvantaged even when they are white males, and it's not useful to discount individual experiences. It's just that they likely would have had additional barriers if they weren't white men.

ETA: I went to the Museum of African-American History and was surprised to see notes on how poor white farmers and freed/ex-slaves helped each other and saw each other on the same side against the ruling class. While race and class are related, it shouldn't cause race to be a dividing factor when trying to unite across class as well.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 10:12:47 AM by MonkeyJenga »

Luck12

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2018, 09:48:58 AM »

"White Privilege"... you mean like how Asian immigrants are doing so poorly in America and aren't able to succeed because of their race?  So much "white privilege" holding them down while they have higher income, more degrees, and live longer than white Americans?

Yeah we Asians just love being used by white people in the implicit put down of other minorities.    In the business world white people have a huge leg up over Asian Americans, it's so obvious from the studies and from personal experience.   If we were treated as well as whites, we'd have even higher incomes relative to white people.  Not to mention the social and dating world by far favors whites over Asians, especially white men over Asian men.  So GTFO with that ridiculous BS man.   

White people are so damn sensitive.   We are not denigrating your personal experience, just saying all else equal white people have an advantage in life over minorities.   I get it, it's hard to admit something when you benefit from it. 
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 09:51:50 AM by Luck12 »

MonkeyJenga

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2018, 10:02:41 AM »
You mention that you're not willing to sacrifice your families interests to resolve privledge.  I'd argue that this effectively means you are not interested in resolving the privledge problem.  While white privledge exists, you have an advantage being hired for a job over a black guy.  The advantage might be slight, but it's real.  Your kid will also have this same advantage.  If you get rid of white privledge somehow , both you and your kid will have a harder time to get a job because you're forced to compete on a level playing field.  This would be a sacrifice of your families interests on a personal level.

GuitarStv, I read the original poster as saying they weren't happy with the idea of accepting a systematic disadvantage institutionally applied to white people in the USA and Canada to balance out the societal disadvantages applied to folks of color in both countries. I don't see that as being equivalent to being unwilling to work towards a more level playing field by finding and supporting ways to reduce or eliminate the societal disadvantages folks of color experience in each country.

If two people are running a race, and one is competing with stones in her shoes, fairness can be restored by emptying out her shoes or putting stones into the shoes of the other runner. In both cases the end result is much more fair than if no change is made, but there are plenty of runners who will look at you like you are crazy for wanting to put pebbles into their shoes who would never-the-less support delaying the race so that the pebbles can be removed from their competitor's shoes (and look at you like you were crazy if you suggested NOT doing that and forcing their competitor to run with the pebbles).

The question of how to remove stones from someone else's shoes is complicated, though. What if the stone is loss of generational wealth, historical redlining, under-investment in schools? There are historical causes that can lead to current situations seeming like it's a matter of personal responsibility. And on an individual level it might be, but in the aggregate, groups are worse or better off because of things outside their control.

Education, for example. If you decide to invest more in economically disadvantaged schools, that will take money away from elsewhere. If you move away from local property taxes funding schools to make our educational system more equally funded across the country, people who worked hard and paid a lot of money for their nice homes in a good school district will say it's unfair and harming them personally.

Not that everything is zero-sum, and there are arguments to be made that even a change in school funding is not zero-sum, but how to take pebbles out of someone's shoes if it makes other people think they're getting them in their own shoes?

maizeman

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2018, 10:37:16 AM »
I completely agree that in practice aspects of removing vs adding stones get messy and hard fast so I'm not trying to argue this leads to different policy choices so much as different ways of framing the same policies so that they are perceived as removing a disadvantage rather than adding a new disadvantage.

I think there are three groups of people in these debabtes: those who don't think there are any problems or disadvantages which people face as a result of their perceived race (never going to support policy change), those who agree there is a problem and are fine with any action to reduce achievement and opportunity gaps between people of different perceived races (always going to support policy changes to agree this issue) and people who agree there is a problem, but are going to be supportive of actions which are framed as trying to level the paying field by removing a disadvantage, but are not going to support trying to level the playing field by adding a disadvantage.

For example when you talk about education funding gaps, you can either say 1) look school A has higher test scores than school B, so let's take some money away from school A and give it to school B, which will be perceived as punishing success or 2) we're going to move funding schools from state-wide property taxes on a per-pupil basis rather than taxes on a district by district level, so that our government is investing the same amount of money in the future success of each child.

In both cases, it's probably true that the parents who bought expensive houses to get access to the best public schools will scream because they spent a lot of money trying to secure an advantage that is now being threatened. But for people who aren't directly impacted one way or another (for example the child less/child free), I think the second framing will do a better job of mustering support, while still achieving the objective of shifting more government support to currently poorer schools.

nick663

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2018, 11:29:10 AM »
While I understand some of the "privilege" arguments and it's hard for me to live in other's shoes the one thing that really annoys me is the assumption all white people grew up in upper middle class neighborhoods with 0 worries.  As someone who grew up in a very middle class household in a middle class/blue collar area of the country, I did not have the benefits of wealth or education that are assumed under "white privilege."  Maybe 10% of my high school graduating class are in the upper middle class and if it wasn't for the actions of a very generous family member it is unlikely I probably wouldn't be in that group.

Did I have to worry about getting shot by the police growing up?  No because it was a small town where the officers knew everyone.  If I did something my parents would hear about it.  Did I work very hard to get where I am?  Yes, and I take some offense to the arguments that come up in some of these "white privilege" discussions where it acts like everything I have was handed to me.

Everyone has a different path and to act like 76% of the country all have the same privileges is pretty ignorant.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2018, 12:12:01 PM »
Yes, wealth is a privledge.  That has long been known, and indeed many of the underpinnings of socialism are based around reducing the inherent unfairness of wealth concentration.  Given that white privledge typically results in things that lead to higher income, I'm not entirely sure that you can examine it as a wholly seperate issue.  They are different, but intertwined.

Having privledge doesn't mean you don't work to get what you have.  This appears to be a common misconception in these discussions.  Having white privledge means that if you work really hard you'll probably get further ahead than a black guy working really hard.  It doesn't mean that you can't take pride in your accomplishments, it's an acknowledgement that others in your place would have had things slightly worse.

You mention that you're not willing to sacrifice your families interests to resolve privledge.  I'd argue that this effectively means you are not interested in resolving the privledge problem.  While white privledge exists, you have an advantage being hired for a job over a black guy.  The advantage might be slight, but it's real.  Your kid will also have this same advantage.  If you get rid of white privledge somehow , both you and your kid will have a harder time to get a job because you're forced to compete on a level playing field.  This would be a sacrifice of your families interests on a personal level.

Thanks for the response. I definitely see why you say they are intertwined, and I believe that they are not disconnected. However, I guess the example that comes to mind because of, again, what's usually brought up for an example when people say that there's no privilege is a police officer shooting a black person for no good reason. To me, I look at that and say, no, that's tragedy. When I watched some of the videos that came out awhile back of police shooting unarmed, complying black people, I didn't think wow, I'm privileged. Nor should I, in my mind. No, I thought, that's an injustice that needs to be fought. It's not a privilege that when I've interacted with the police that they haven't assaulted me. It's just the way things should be. I'm at the point now where I don't get upset by people using privilege, nor would I ever fault someone for using it. I don't have a problem with the concept or misunderstand it to mean I shouldn't be proud of what I've done or think that I haven't had a head start in life (I know I have). However, I do know that the very word made it harder for me to understand and get behind the concept because it just doesn't seem to fit the situations as much as maybe other words like injustice would, so I was thinking that part might be worth commenting.

In regards to the other comment about me not willing to really fight privilege because of my comment about my kids, I believe that's a bit harsh, but it's probably because I didn't give specific examples (or maybe after the examples you'll still think I'm wrong). There were two writers I read that said, don't put your kids in the advanced classes you'd like them in because that would take away classes from others. I have two kids with situations that fit into that mindset. One (potentially two) will likely be taking advanced classes, and no, I'm not going to hold them out of classes they can excel in and that will benefit them to make room for some potential other kid that may or may not be out there and may or may not have someone to push them to take it to try to excel because I should feel some kind of guilt about it . I also have a kid that has special services for them. Could other kids need the services more than my kid? Probably, as it's not like my kid is non-verbal autistic or something more extreme. Am I going to fight for my kid to get all the services I think will benefit them? Of course I am, that's my job as a parent. Both of these could be argued that they are a result of my kids privilege in having parents that care. I'm not really bothered by that and am going to continue to work with them as best as I can in their situations. Any frustration in this paragraph is due to the way it was presented and the tone in the articles, not to you.

I am serious about trying to help with the concept of privilege. To your comment on hiring practices, I would be completely supportive of the company(ies) that work to make it where the application process is fair outside of race (can't remember the company's name off the top of my head that is working to help other companies with this). I've tried to be aware of things in my life to help, as well. For example, as I learned more in other threads and in life about the way it can be easy to be heard as a guy instead of a woman in the work place, I've tried to be conscious of that and work to try to make sure I don't dominate any conversations and lift up women I work with.

Anyways, any thoughts are welcome. Specifically in regards to the kids thing, have you/would you pull your kids back in the way I was mentioning above? I see it, especially, while they're in my house underage, as my responsibility to help them in those situations, which is the main reason I was arguing against that specific application of the concept of privilege.

shenlong55

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2018, 12:25:58 PM »
What is the desired endgame of the "white privilege" movement?  What result are we hoping to effect?  Do we think the world would be a better place, if only white people would be more modest and show more humility about their accomplishments?  Like, "Yeah, I built that company up from scratch, but I'm white so I can't really be too proud of doing so because I had so many advantages along the way."

If white kids recite the Pledge of White Privilege every morning, would we be all good then? Or would that do very little to fix the underlying problem of systemic racism?   

When HIV and AIDS were escalating in the 80s and 90s, I don't recall activists calling out anyone's "Healthy Privilege". No, they focused on the epidemic and the people being harmed. 

If the problem is that non-white people suffer disadvantages in life, then I think the discussion and language should center on calling out those disadvantages, instead of on calling out a lack of disadvantage, a neutral state, and then labeling that neutral state as an advantage.

I put a term like "white privilege" in the same category as "mansplaining": needlessly incendiary and counterproductive terms, which risk offending allies.  I am a white guy who has voted for democrats my entire life, but I'll tell you this, I've done so despite hearing terms like "white privilege" and "mansplaining", not because of them.  They don't inspire me.  They don't make me more "woke".  They just annoy me.


The hilarious part of this is that I'm going to get roasted by saying I'm offended.  Try to hang in there, buddy.  I know it's hard to be a white guy. You'll be in our thoughts and prayers.   And it will be kind of funny.  And folks will get a good chuckle. I may even chuckle.

But beneath that, I'll still be offended.  And I'm tired of being lectured by people like Kris.  I'm tired of it.  And I'm not the only one. Right now there is some poor, pimply, overweight white kid waking up in a trailer in Oklahoma, and I can guarantee you he's not going to have any interest in hearing about his privilege. Why is that so hard to understand?

Those terms are so counterproductive.  My fear is, those terms (and others like them) may be one of the reasons why fewer white men .  They may even have helped put a dangerous nut job in the White House. 

So go ahead and have a good chuckle.  But the joke actually may be on you.* 

*last sentence is a way dramatic/cheesy but I'm keeping it. No point in revising when I'm going to get roasted anyway.

I completely understand this perspective and I hope that liberals can move away from some of these types of words, but I don't think that supporting someone like Trump is a reasonable response to the situation.  Instead, maybe take the advice of Trump supporters and quite being a snowflake who's so easily offended by words.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 12:28:16 PM by shenlong55 »

maizeman

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2018, 12:41:35 PM »
In regards to the other comment about me not willing to really fight privilege because of my comment about my kids, I believe that's a bit harsh, but it's probably because I didn't give specific examples (or maybe after the examples you'll still think I'm wrong). There were two writers I read that said, don't put your kids in the advanced classes you'd like them in because that would take away classes from others. I have two kids with situations that fit into that mindset. One (potentially two) will likely be taking advanced classes, and no, I'm not going to hold them out of classes they can excel in and that will benefit them to make room for some potential other kid that may or may not be out there and may or may not have someone to push them to take it to try to excel because I should feel some kind of guilt about it . I also have a kid that has special services for them. Could other kids need the services more than my kid? Probably, as it's not like my kid is non-verbal autistic or something more extreme. Am I going to fight for my kid to get all the services I think will benefit them? Of course I am, that's my job as a parent. Both of these could be argued that they are a result of my kids privilege in having parents that care. I'm not really bothered by that and am going to continue to work with them as best as I can in their situations. Any frustration in this paragraph is due to the way it was presented and the tone in the articles, not to you.

This is useful context to have regarding your comment Wolfpack Mustachian. So you weren't even concerned about the idea of adding new institutional biases to try to balance out social prejudices (which is what I assumed you were thinking about) but about being asked to voluntarily disadvantage solely your own family.

... FWIW I wouldn't be willing to do that either, and I don't think it is an effective solution to the very real problems which exist in our society, because we'd be self selecting for the children of liberal (and white) families to be specifically disadvantaged relative to the children of conservative (and white) families who would still do everything in their power to give their kids the best shot in life possible. The net result would be a small shift towards greater racial diversification among the next generation of the elite and a big shift towards more conservative political beliefs among the same group.

rdaneel0

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2018, 01:21:45 PM »
I'm not offended by the term white privilege or other people pointing out my privilege in general, but I think it's mostly an ineffective approach because I'm an outlier and most people of all races and classes hate being called out on things. I also think the concept of privilege distills the experience of complex individuals down to one or two topics, but also, ignores a lot of global class issues.

For example, we never hear about "clean water privilege" but in fact, if access to that one thing were removed from the lives of all people in the USA, suddenly no one would be worried about anything else, because without water we would all die. So, in this hypothetical, 100% of the focus on inequality would be centered around water. I've also never heard someone use the term non-homeless privilege, literate person privilege, non-POW privilege, employed privilege, mentally healthy privilege, average IQ privilege, able-bodied privilege, internet access privilege, etc.

Many people view the privileges they do not have as the most important privileges that provide other people with an unfair advantage in life, and they view the privileges they do have as baseline needs that don't negate all the other struggles they've faced (if they consider them at all).

The other issue with privilege is it can appear to order people from most to least privileged. This is effective for making points about larger trends, but only when you look at extremes. A straight white male from an upper middle class background is more privileged than a gay black woman from a poor background. But that's not how most people are! I think in the end a lot of privilege questions can be settled by "who would you rather be?" and that falls apart the more intersectional and complex the examples become. In the first example it's easy to say who is "more privileged" but what about here: a gay white man with an IQ of 65 from a lower middle class background living in the deep south, and a straight black woman with an IQ of 130 from a middle class family in New York. Who has more privilege? Does it matter where they live? Does it matter how much family support they each have? Does it matter what their childhood's were like? What if the white man had a massive supportive family but the black woman lost her entire family in an accident? What if the white man had no health insurance but stayed mostly physically healthy, but then the black woman developed a chronic illness but did have health insurance?

The only thing that holds true through all these alterations is that the lower class gay white man would never have to deal with racism or sexism and the middle class straight black woman would never have to deal with poverty, homophobia, or a developmental disability. In this example, neither person would ever have to deal with living in a third-world country, having a physical disability, not speaking a country's language natively, having citizenship questioned, and a whole host of other disadvantages people face. This is why I think rather than focusing on privilege, we should focus on gratitude and LISTEN to what other people are going through. If you truly appreciate what you have, and what you don't have to deal with on a daily basis, I think you are more likely to become a strong ally than if someone calls you out on the exact same types of things.

I think life feels hard to most people, so when you tell someone they're basically playing the game on "Easy Mode" (even if they totally are!) they're going to get pissed off...especially if they are from a group that's not used to being generalized/called-out.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 01:37:26 PM by rdaneel0 »

rocketpj

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2018, 02:04:00 PM »
I'm white, male and grew up in a pasty white middle class/working class exurb in Canada. I'm 6'4 and passably good looking. While my family is not rich, we are and were not poor and have a history of wealth.

Every time I've made a mistake in life, and I have made a great many, I have known that my family has my back.  They have never had to 'bail me out', but I know they would.

I've walked into jobs I was barely qualified for and considered myself lucky.  I have no idea who else was applying for that job. I've been given many gifts in life that I had to really think about to even recognize.

That doesn't make me a bad person, and it certainly doesn't make people who haven't received those gifts less deserving. 

White privilege is a concept,  not a weapon.  It really upsets all of us to think that we have been living in a nice protected bubble.  We all have struggles and challenges.  But I never worry about getting pulled over, I never worry that the bank might refuse a loan for any reason other than my credit score.  I never worry about not getting a job because someone doesn't like the way I look or talk.

The point of thinking about white privilege is to get us all to think about the people around us.  I've seen kids on my son's hockey team get physically assaulted and called racial slurs because their skin is brown.  It has not and will not happen to my kid, but that doesn't mean it isn't a problem.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2018, 02:14:03 PM »
While I understand some of the "privilege" arguments and it's hard for me to live in other's shoes the one thing that really annoys me is the assumption all white people grew up in upper middle class neighborhoods with 0 worries.

Is it just the term white privilege that makes you think it comes with an assumption of happy easy lives for all white people? Everyone has worries and troubles. There are just other institutional and individual barriers facing some people due to their race.

It's not a privilege that when I've interacted with the police that they haven't assaulted me. It's just the way things should be.

I'm only highlighting this again because you seem like a smart, open minded person who's stuck on one specific word.

It is a privilege that you get to live in the "way it should be" scenario because you have light skin. And not just for the rarer tragedy of being shot, but for the daily experience of not being pulled over because you're suspiciously driving a nice car, or riding a bike at night, or doing some other innocuous activity. Or some other thing that has nothing to do with the police but contributes negatively to some people's lives and not yours.

lentil

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2018, 02:41:01 PM »
I think this Scalzi post uses a pretty good metaphor to describe privilege: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

GuitarStv

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #35 on: November 11, 2018, 04:39:04 PM »
Yes, wealth is a privledge.  That has long been known, and indeed many of the underpinnings of socialism are based around reducing the inherent unfairness of wealth concentration.  Given that white privledge typically results in things that lead to higher income, I'm not entirely sure that you can examine it as a wholly seperate issue.  They are different, but intertwined.

Having privledge doesn't mean you don't work to get what you have.  This appears to be a common misconception in these discussions.  Having white privledge means that if you work really hard you'll probably get further ahead than a black guy working really hard.  It doesn't mean that you can't take pride in your accomplishments, it's an acknowledgement that others in your place would have had things slightly worse.

You mention that you're not willing to sacrifice your families interests to resolve privledge.  I'd argue that this effectively means you are not interested in resolving the privledge problem.  While white privledge exists, you have an advantage being hired for a job over a black guy.  The advantage might be slight, but it's real.  Your kid will also have this same advantage.  If you get rid of white privledge somehow , both you and your kid will have a harder time to get a job because you're forced to compete on a level playing field.  This would be a sacrifice of your families interests on a personal level.

Thanks for the response. I definitely see why you say they are intertwined, and I believe that they are not disconnected. However, I guess the example that comes to mind because of, again, what's usually brought up for an example when people say that there's no privilege is a police officer shooting a black person for no good reason. To me, I look at that and say, no, that's tragedy. When I watched some of the videos that came out awhile back of police shooting unarmed, complying black people, I didn't think wow, I'm privileged. Nor should I, in my mind. No, I thought, that's an injustice that needs to be fought. It's not a privilege that when I've interacted with the police that they haven't assaulted me. It's just the way things should be. I'm at the point now where I don't get upset by people using privilege, nor would I ever fault someone for using it. I don't have a problem with the concept or misunderstand it to mean I shouldn't be proud of what I've done or think that I haven't had a head start in life (I know I have). However, I do know that the very word made it harder for me to understand and get behind the concept because it just doesn't seem to fit the situations as much as maybe other words like injustice would, so I was thinking that part might be worth commenting.

I guess I kinda agree with you on this.  It is an injustice that systematic racism exists in the police force, and that it's unequally applied to people of colour rather than white folks.  Personally, I prefer the term 'white privileged' because it's something that hits home a little bit better.  Injustice is something that happens to 'them'.  Hopefully some day someone fixes the problem, but I don't really have to think/care about it.  'White privileged' is something that happens to me, something that I am benefiting from . . . which makes me passively complicit in the issue, which makes me want to be part of the solution.

It's really just acknowledgement of the problem and a willingness to do things to address the issue   If you want to call it injustice and actively try to use your power to help solve the problem I've got no issue with that, althouth for the aforementioned reasons it is useful to think of privilege too.


In regards to the other comment about me not willing to really fight privilege because of my comment about my kids, I believe that's a bit harsh, but it's probably because I didn't give specific examples (or maybe after the examples you'll still think I'm wrong). There were two writers I read that said, don't put your kids in the advanced classes you'd like them in because that would take away classes from others. I have two kids with situations that fit into that mindset. One (potentially two) will likely be taking advanced classes, and no, I'm not going to hold them out of classes they can excel in and that will benefit them to make room for some potential other kid that may or may not be out there and may or may not have someone to push them to take it to try to excel because I should feel some kind of guilt about it . I also have a kid that has special services for them. Could other kids need the services more than my kid? Probably, as it's not like my kid is non-verbal autistic or something more extreme. Am I going to fight for my kid to get all the services I think will benefit them? Of course I am, that's my job as a parent. Both of these could be argued that they are a result of my kids privilege in having parents that care. I'm not really bothered by that and am going to continue to work with them as best as I can in their situations. Any frustration in this paragraph is due to the way it was presented and the tone in the articles, not to you.

Those are stupid writers.  No, holding your kids back in the hopes that people of colour will benefit is crazy.  Put your kids in whatever classes they can achieve and learn from, and support them to do their best.  As mentioned previously, just because you benefit from white privileged doesn't mean you don't/shouldn't work hard and earn what you get.

I see this as quite distinct from affirmative action policies . . . where your kids aren't held back, but the kids of people of colour are boosted forward.

GuitarStv

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2018, 04:59:37 PM »
"Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is a liberal."

A lie in the first nine words of a new poster's first post. That must be some kind of a record. Is there an annual award for speed-trolling?

There's another rude post.
Scott Adams is a self-described liberal.

"On social issues, I lean Libertarian" - Scott Adams (http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/16/dilbert.economy/index.html)

"Lately I have been describing my personal political views as left of Bernie" - Scott Adams (http://blog.dilbert.com/2017/09/21/how-a-silicon-valley-investor-does-leadership/)

"Some of you watched with amusement as I endorsed Hillary Clinton for my personal safety. What you might not know is that I was completely serious. I was getting a lot of direct and indirect death threats for writing about Trump’s powers of persuasion, and I made all of that go away by endorsing Clinton. People don’t care why I am on their side. They only care that I am.

You might have found it funny that I endorsed Clinton for my personal safety. But it was only funny by coincidence. I did it for personal safety, and apparently it is working. Where I live, in California, it is not safe to be seen as supportive of anything Trump says or does" - Scott Adams (http://blog.dilbert.com/2016/07/11/when-persuasion-turns-deadly/)

"As most of you know, I had been endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, for my personal safety, because I live in California. It isn’t safe to be a Trump supporter where I live. And it’s bad for business too. But recently I switched my endorsement to Trump" - Scott Adams (http://blog.dilbert.com/2016/09/25/why-i-switched-my-endorsement-from-clinton-to/)



So, Scott Adams is a left of Bernie Sanders Libertarian who supports Clinton (but only because he'll be killed by Clinton supporters otherwise).  And he really supports Trump.  It's pretty clear from his words that what Scott Adams says about his left/right affiliation can't be trusted . . . so can you point to some leftist policies that you believe Adams supports?

use2betrix

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2018, 06:37:29 PM »
I don’t think there’s many reasonable white Americans that would believe that a form of white privilege doesn’t exist.

I think the important thing missing from most of this thread, is that the amount of that privilege needs to be reasonably quantified.

I personally believe that for many, whether they grew up in a good home, with married, college educated parents, and weren’t poor, might be a bigger privilege than simply skin color.

The way white privilege is brought, is that it is such a huge contributing factor it outweighs all the other “privileges” in our society.

For example, would a 6’2” perfectly built black man that looks like Usher, who was raised in an affluent, loving home, with college educated parents and a good school, be at some huge disadvantage to a 5’ 300 lb white man that looks like Jonah Hill with a speech impediment and was raised to a poor, single mom on welfare in a super shitty school?

Personally, in those two scenarios I’d place my cards with the black man to be more successful. However, the only term we ever here is “white privilege” which leads to believe that being white trumps any other possible advantage in life.

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2018, 07:47:39 PM »

This is useful context to have regarding your comment Wolfpack Mustachian. So you weren't even concerned about the idea of adding new institutional biases to try to balance out social prejudices (which is what I assumed you were thinking about) but about being asked to voluntarily disadvantage solely your own family.

... FWIW I wouldn't be willing to do that either, and I don't think it is an effective solution to the very real problems which exist in our society, because we'd be self selecting for the children of liberal (and white) families to be specifically disadvantaged relative to the children of conservative (and white) families who would still do everything in their power to give their kids the best shot in life possible. The net result would be a small shift towards greater racial diversification among the next generation of the elite and a big shift towards more conservative political beliefs among the same group.

Thanks. Yes, I am good with helping institutionally for problems but thought that it was a poor point about holding your own kids back that wouldn't help and was a bad example more in line with trying to assuage guilt than help a problem. On the other hand, I think changing how schools are funded to more of a state wide approach where focused wealthy communities wouldn't mean that all the wealth and solid schooling was concentrated on schools in those communities would be a better way of evening things out, for instance.


I guess I kinda agree with you on this.  It is an injustice that systematic racism exists in the police force, and that it's unequally applied to people of colour rather than white folks.  Personally, I prefer the term 'white privileged' because it's something that hits home a little bit better.  Injustice is something that happens to 'them'.  Hopefully some day someone fixes the problem, but I don't really have to think/care about it.  'White privileged' is something that happens to me, something that I am benefiting from . . . which makes me passively complicit in the issue, which makes me want to be part of the solution.

It's really just acknowledgement of the problem and a willingness to do things to address the issue   If you want to call it injustice and actively try to use your power to help solve the problem I've got no issue with that, althouth for the aforementioned reasons it is useful to think of privilege too.


Those are stupid writers.  No, holding your kids back in the hopes that people of colour will benefit is crazy.  Put your kids in whatever classes they can achieve and learn from, and support them to do their best.  As mentioned previously, just because you benefit from white privileged doesn't mean you don't/shouldn't work hard and earn what you get.

I see this as quite distinct from affirmative action policies . . . where your kids aren't held back, but the kids of people of colour are boosted forward.

I can see your point on it hitting home in terms of being passively involved versus an other person problem. That is one of the better arguments for it that I've heard for it. Thanks for the comment on the writers. I thought that people would see it that way, but I wasn't sure since I hadn't spoken to any progressive people about that particular thought process. I agree that it's different than affirmative action policies as well. Those, I feel we can definitely have good discussions about what works and what doesn't. I don't really feel the other argument merits too much rational discourse on.


It's not a privilege that when I've interacted with the police that they haven't assaulted me. It's just the way things should be.

I'm only highlighting this again because you seem like a smart, open minded person who's stuck on one specific word.

It is a privilege that you get to live in the "way it should be" scenario because you have light skin. And not just for the rarer tragedy of being shot, but for the daily experience of not being pulled over because you're suspiciously driving a nice car, or riding a bike at night, or doing some other innocuous activity. Or some other thing that has nothing to do with the police but contributes negatively to some people's lives and not yours.

Thanks for the compliment, MonkeyJenga. I really don't think we're that far off in our thought process. I agree that I am fortunate or whatever word people would like to use that these things don't happen to me. It's ridiculous that they do. I guess my thoughts for why it's worth discussing and why I still think it's worth thinking about despite good arguments like GuitarStv's above is that there are drawbacks for using the phrase. There's a decent number of people that are conservative and probably think like I do. I see these issues, as I mentioned before, as tragic and injustices. When I started thinking more about it awhile back, I thought like I said, that I wasn't privileged to have them not happen to me, really, I was just being treated fairly. That shouldn't be a privilege (even though it is). Although privilege as I see it is certainly linked to racism, privilege, as I would term it, has certain distinct differences from racism. The biggest, to me, is that I think that once you see, because sometimes it takes time for people to see this, but once you see that these things are crazy injustices happening (we'll use the worst of unjust police shootings since they do the worst of robbing someone of their life), there's no real discussion about this being a serious issue. Treating someone differently because of their skin tone no matter how minor it is (to your example of just riding your bike at night in peace) is just straight up wrong, and it should be combated with much more vigor. It also doesn't seem to me to make sense to call not having that happen, privilege, because, just to me, it's acting like it's a privilege for police to not pull me over unjustly....it just seems to normalize really bad behavior as like, well, I'm lucky it doesn't happen to me. Once you get the next level up of privilege of, say, kids that can take risks because their parents have wealth to help them if they fail, well....that's not as clear as something to be combated. Should we tax people to the point where parents that have good jobs can't be in a position to support kids if they fail? Not saying progressives say that, just an example where, it's a much more complicated issue of privilege there, which, to me, coincides closer to the connotations of what privilege means in my head. This is why I think that it might be better to differentiate between these two things which, although they have similarities and ties, are different in intensity of resistance merited at least, IMO.

Overall, I don't have a problem with people using the phrase white privilege. I don't correct people for doing it, certainly, and am not bothered by it. I just have the reservations listed above and some personal experience with it. To me, it's important and worth discussing because a real issue I see on this topic is actually communication that there is an issue. The more people that see it's an issue, the more people will work against it. I can say that it took a good friend who was in a unique situation to help convince me. He is an extremely conservative guy and a white guy married to a black woman. His discussions on how his first hand experiences convinced him about the reality of minorities being treated poorly all the time helped me. He was convinced despite his initial skepticism, and him describing the evolution of his beliefs coupled with his willingness to keep communicating the issues in ways that he knew would make sense to a conservative perspective helped. Well, that, and seeing a random white woman at work literally play with my black friend at work's hair just randomly not just once but twice (pulling it where it sprung back and saying, oooo, that's cool, the second time she did it was literally right after my friend told her to stop after the first time she did it), and a light bulb went off in my head saying, dang, people really are that obliviously demeaning. All that, for what it's worth.

This is why there is no point having this conversation.

Kris, as much as we've disagreed, hopefully the fact that I've been convinced that this is a problem through conversation is an encouragement to you :).

MonkeyJenga

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2018, 08:47:07 PM »
Thanks for the compliment, MonkeyJenga. I really don't think we're that far off in our thought process.

Yep, I think we agree on the basic concept, it's just a matter of framing. Like those spending levels, where anyone who spends one level more than you is spendy but understandable, two levels above is careless and wasteful, anyone who spends one level down is admirable, and two levels down is crazy. But that baseline "this is normal" changes depending on how much you personally spend. Other people will see their own experiences as the baseline, and your position as the one level above, even if there's still another level of advantage above you. Not to mention the global levels which introduce even larger disparities.

I do think the framing is important, but mostly when it keeps people from supporting potential policies or acknowledging the problem in the first place. Since we're pretty aligned already, I'm good with agreeing to disagree on framing. And your point about potentially normalizing bad behavior is interesting.

Either way, I agree that the phrase can be counter-productive with a proportion of people who will get defensive. Not everyone does, but it's certainly helpful to reframe the discussion with those who do.

I don’t think there’s many reasonable white Americans that would believe that a form of white privilege doesn’t exist.

I think the important thing missing from most of this thread, is that the amount of that privilege needs to be reasonably quantified.

I personally believe that for many, whether they grew up in a good home, with married, college educated parents, and weren’t poor, might be a bigger privilege than simply skin color.

The way white privilege is brought, is that it is such a huge contributing factor it outweighs all the other “privileges” in our society.

For example, would a 6’2” perfectly built black man that looks like Usher, who was raised in an affluent, loving home, with college educated parents and a good school, be at some huge disadvantage to a 5’ 300 lb white man that looks like Jonah Hill with a speech impediment and was raised to a poor, single mom on welfare in a super shitty school?

Personally, in those two scenarios I’d place my cards with the black man to be more successful. However, the only term we ever here is “white privilege” which leads to believe that being white trumps any other possible advantage in life.

People have made this argument in the thread and in the "real" world. Maybe it doesn't come in a "XX privilege" phrase, but plenty of people rail against the 1%, or try to address gender inequality, or discrimination against gay people, etc. There are different ways of having advantages or disadvantages. People inclined to use the term "white privilege" also try to talk about "intersectionality" to address the different levels. But, uh, a lot of people hate that term too.

Your example ties in pretty well with the original post - one side argues statistics, the other side argues personal experience. There are always going to be individuals who don't line up neatly with aggregate affects.

In the aggregate, since race is tied with income, college education, nuclear families, and school quality, Not!Usher is less likely to have those advantages. But of course Rich Happy Not!Usher is a lucky mf-er. (Albeit one who's still gonna get pulled over by the cops for driving a nice car.)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 08:49:31 PM by MonkeyJenga »

jeninco

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2018, 09:29:43 PM »
If I quoted, this post would be all quotes, so maybe I'll try to summarize a couple of ideas:

I think we're using the word "privilege" to mean (as Kris said, back at the beginning) that all kinds of cruddy stuff doesn't happen to you because you have light skin. So you get to go through life without the underlying assumption (from the police/store owners/concerned citizens/the man) that you're there to cause trouble.

Wolfpack, I have kids in High School and am profoundly concerned with these issues. It absolutely doesn't mean I hold my kids back (seriously, does anyone really deliberately do that) -- I want them to take all the challenging classes they can handle. It does mean that I go into the school a couple of hours/week and tutor kids who need help, and I volunteer to help at-risk and/or minority students. And I've done so since my kids were in second grade or so. (I also volunteer to help above-grade-level students who aren't getting much attention from the teachers. And, because I work in math, I try to drag more female and minority students to participate in the advanced stuff too!) I also am involved with the school oversight committee, and one thing we're taking a look at is how effective various intervention programs are.

And it's not hard to find serious problems that were caused by the institutional racism that everyone has now ... conveniently forgotten about. For example, a number of school districts in Virginia closed themselves after the Brown v Board of Education  decision, rather than providing integrated education to white and black children -- and most white children were accommodated at "private" all-white schools.  Prince Edward County provided no education to black children for at least 5 years starting in 1959. (Search for "Massive Resistance" for more information.)  What happens to children of people who largely lost out on the opportunity to be educated? How about their grandchildren? It's not too hard to find instances where institutional racism prevented families from accumulating any level of intergenerational wealth (even owning homes), but this is one where it prevented children from even being educated.  So although "my parents had the opportunity to be educated through high school" doesn't seem like a "privilege", there's that "rocks in the shoes" thing again.

runbikerun

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #41 on: November 12, 2018, 04:30:35 AM »
I think one of the worst and most destructive things to happen in western politics over the last thirty years has been the success of right-wing politicians and pundits in erasing class as a legitimate basis for discussion. Women, LGBT+ citizens, ethnic minorities: all of these groups get a shitty deal, but they also get to criticise that shitty deal on a widely-accepted basis. Outside of a few incel assholes, we all accept that sexism is a Real Thing and that a wealthy white woman, for example, may have a legitimate complaint if she loses out on a job to a less qualified man. Likewise, for Usher Lookalike Genius, if he's pulled over and treated like shit by a cop, we don't discount his belief that it's rooted in racism.

Because of the poisoning of public discourse around the concept of class, though, dirt-poor white people no longer have a lens for critique that society as a whole is willing to accept. With relatively few exceptions, derogatory and dismissive language regarding poor white people is treated as pretty standard in a lot of contexts where sexist or racist language would rightly be condemned. And this has happened parallel with a hardening of class boundaries: social mobility is worse in most Western countries than it has been since the world wars. We've created a disenfranchised class of predominantly rural and industrial-city white poor people, and left them without a means to critique the system that did this to them.

For a woman, or a member of an ethnic minority, stuck in a shitty job and a shitty situation, there is a sizeable chunk of mainstream politics willing to discuss their concerns and examine whether structural or societal factors have held them back. For white people in shitty situations, the only politicians offering a critique that says "this isn't your fault" are, generally speaking, racists or #1 with racists. Our abandonment of class as a mechanism for critiquing power, along with the deindustrialization of the west, has left a sizeable chunk of the population in the shit with nobody except racists willing to publicly argue their specific corner.

A white kid born today in rural Appalachia is at a massive disadvantage. Same for a white kid born in a dying city like Bradford in northern England. Are they at the same disadvantage as women, or ethnic minorities, or people with disabilities? No. But they are at a disadvantage due to the class they've been born into, and if we refuse to acknowledge that we're leaving them to the racists.

former player

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #42 on: November 12, 2018, 06:24:31 AM »
I think one of the worst and most destructive things to happen in western politics over the last thirty years has been the success of right-wing politicians and pundits in erasing class as a legitimate basis for discussion.

Agreed. I think in part it is based on the concept that we live in a meritocracy, which has been repositioned along the lines of "I've done well, this is a meritocracy, therefore I've done well on my own merits", and to which the corollary is "these people have not done well, this is a meritocracy therefore they do not deserve to do well".  To which I say: balls.

I put a term like "white privilege" in the same category as "mansplaining": needlessly incendiary and counterproductive terms, which risk offending allies.  I am a white guy who has voted for democrats my entire life, but I'll tell you this, I've done so despite hearing terms like "white privilege" and "mansplaining", not because of them.  They don't inspire me.  They don't make me more "woke".  They just annoy me.
Thanks for alerting me to this problem.  I'll start using "verbal manspreading" instead.


GuitarStv

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #43 on: November 12, 2018, 06:53:30 AM »
I don’t think there’s many reasonable white Americans that would believe that a form of white privilege doesn’t exist.

I think the important thing missing from most of this thread, is that the amount of that privilege needs to be reasonably quantified.

I personally believe that for many, whether they grew up in a good home, with married, college educated parents, and weren’t poor, might be a bigger privilege than simply skin color.

The way white privilege is brought, is that it is such a huge contributing factor it outweighs all the other “privileges” in our society.

For example, would a 6’2” perfectly built black man that looks like Usher, who was raised in an affluent, loving home, with college educated parents and a good school, be at some huge disadvantage to a 5’ 300 lb white man that looks like Jonah Hill with a speech impediment and was raised to a poor, single mom on welfare in a super shitty school?

Personally, in those two scenarios I’d place my cards with the black man to be more successful. However, the only term we ever here is “white privilege” which leads to believe that being white trumps any other possible advantage in life.

I met my best friend in University, and he was the first black guy I had hung around with for a significant period of time.  He came from a well off Trinidadian family, was very smart, went to good schools, and was/is pretty handsome.   It was quite eye opening, getting pulled over a couple times a month by the police while he drove his mom's Camaro around, or finding out that the reason he was very careful to wear dressy/preppie clothing all the time was because of past treatment by police.  That's just a fact of reality for his life that I had ever thought about. 

It's also a good thing that my friend has a pretty 'white' sounding name, since it means that he gets job interview call backs two and a half times more often than someone with a more 'black' sounding name (https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/minorities-who-whiten-job-resumes-get-more-interviews).  Again, not something I've ever had to worry about.

It's also important to point out that wealth, education, and parenting are all at least somewhat tied to race.  To take just a single example . . . although black and white men use drugs at the same rate, you're six times more likely to be imprisoned for drug use if you're black (https://www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/).  This then impacts your entire future ability to earn money.  If you have kids it impacts their ability to have a stable two parent household.

Yes, wealth . . . education . . . physical attractiveness . . . quality of parents . . . these are all things that can help you out.  In some instances they are able to overcome the disadvantage of not being white.  That shouldn't be used to minimize or dismiss the very real daily difficulties that the colour of your skin can cause.  If you want to talk about the problems that wealth disparity causes, we can certainly do that too.  Economic inequality is a huge issue and it impacts lots of people.  I feel for anyone trapped in that low income/no education/poverty type of situation, and agree that it's an issue that needs to be addressed.  That doesn't make white privilege invalid, or no longer relevant though.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 06:55:11 AM by GuitarStv »

use2betrix

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #44 on: November 12, 2018, 07:05:50 AM »

A white kid born today in rural Appalachia is at a massive disadvantage. Same for a white kid born in a dying city like Bradford in northern England. Are they at the same disadvantage as women, or ethnic minorities, or people with disabilities? No. But they are at a disadvantage due to the class they've been born into, and if we refuse to acknowledge that we're leaving them to the racists.

So are you saying that a white kid born into the worst situation is still better off than a woman, minority, or disabled born into the best situation? Or are you saying if they are all born into shit situations, the white kid is still better off.

If it’s the latter, I agree. If it’s the former, then I disagree with exactly how much being white is beneficial vs many other advantages people may have.

runbikerun

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #45 on: November 12, 2018, 07:15:30 AM »

A white kid born today in rural Appalachia is at a massive disadvantage. Same for a white kid born in a dying city like Bradford in northern England. Are they at the same disadvantage as women, or ethnic minorities, or people with disabilities? No. But they are at a disadvantage due to the class they've been born into, and if we refuse to acknowledge that we're leaving them to the racists.

So are you saying that a white kid born into the worst situation is still better off than a woman, minority, or disabled born into the best situation? Or are you saying if they are all born into shit situations, the white kid is still better off.

If it’s the latter, I agree. If it’s the former, then I disagree with exactly how much being white is beneficial vs many other advantages people may have.

I don't think it's nearly simple enough to reduce it to that kind of equation. Disadvantage comes in infinite degrees and infinite variations. I don't think these things lend themselves to direct comparison; I do think, though, that we should be willing to listen to and discuss critiques that are built on class as well as critiques built on ethnic origin, gender, or sexuality. It should be possible for a politician to argue forcefully that the class origins of those rural Appalachians limits their options in a real and severe way, but at the moment we have a near total unwillingness to discuss class.

GuitarStv

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #46 on: November 12, 2018, 07:57:37 AM »
I do think, though, that we should be willing to listen to and discuss critiques that are built on class as well as critiques built on ethnic origin, gender, or sexuality. It should be possible for a politician to argue forcefully that the class origins of those rural Appalachians limits their options in a real and severe way, but at the moment we have a near total unwillingness to discuss class.

Wealth disparity and income inequality are commonly discussed, are they not?  How are these concepts different than 'class'?

runbikerun

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #47 on: November 12, 2018, 08:11:45 AM »
There are a number of differences, but perhaps the most germane is that discussions of income inequality tend to focus on what that means on a day-to-day basis, while class is as much about future opportunities as it is about current realities. Additionally, class manifests as a lot of small but meaningful biases and prejudices which can impact in ways beyond income inequality - things like accent and aesthetic preferences play a role. A stereotypical American "yokel" accent, for example, says absolutely nothing about intelligence, but I'd bet money that huge numbers of people make assumptions about someone with that accent.

Income inequality is a symptom: class is a cause of it.

jeninco

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #48 on: November 12, 2018, 08:24:50 AM »
I do think, though, that we should be willing to listen to and discuss critiques that are built on class as well as critiques built on ethnic origin, gender, or sexuality. It should be possible for a politician to argue forcefully that the class origins of those rural Appalachians limits their options in a real and severe way, but at the moment we have a near total unwillingness to discuss class.

Wealth disparity and income inequality are commonly discussed, are they not?  How are these concepts different than 'class'?
I'm not the expert in this, but I see "class" as being partly wealth-based, but partly other stuff like family education. If your parents are not-particularly-well-off but have advanced degrees, you have a whole raft of built-in advantages starting with (probably) having your parents use far more words (and a different tone) with you as an infant, to having them read to you as a toddler and small child, to having books in your house (the mere presence of books in your house as a child is associated with more educational attainment and success). If your parents travel with you (which is partly wealth-based and partly "class")  you have been exposed to different places, people, and customs. If your parents eat dinner sitting at a table with you you've been exposed to standards for behavior and manners that will serve you well in the future (there are companies based around "teaching table manners to adults who never learned them so they can get promotions). If your parents can show you how to tie a tie ...

I could keep going, but I think you get the idea.
Reading Hillbilly Elegy recently was massively depressing, because the family was doing all these things that hugely disadvantaged their kids, but were proud of many of those decisions because "that's who we are." It's cultural, but partly class-based.

FrugalToque

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Re: White Privilege - A tale of two issues?
« Reply #49 on: November 12, 2018, 08:49:51 AM »
We're getting a bit of moderating flak over this forum entry, so I'll put my two cents in here.

What is white privilege?
It means that being white in most European and North American countries confers benefits on you.
It does not mean your life was easy.  It does not mean you don't deserve what you earned.
It means that, had you been born anything other than Caucasian, you would have had it worse.

But I grew up poor!  Nobody gave me anything!
Did you read the definition above?  Obviously not.  Read it again.
The key here is that if you had black skin, it would have been worse.  You would have been a poor African American instead of a poor Caucasian, and you just have to look at infant mortality rates to realize that would have been worse for you.

I earned everything!  You're saying I don't deserve this!
Nope.  No one is saying that except maybe some spazzes on the Internet who don't know what they're talking about.
Unless you're the scion of some super-privileged, wealthy family who paid to fix your grades at Yale, you earned it.  Good for you.
But an Aboriginal person who worked just as hard wouldn't get what you got.
We're not trying to take from you.  We're trying to make it fair for them.

I can't get that {scholarship/bursary/opportunity} that's only for black people.
No system for adjusting a society of billions of people is perfect.
But when you have large scale discrimination against certain people, you need large scale remedies.

Read it.  And read it again.  That's what we're discussing when we talk "privilege".

Toque.