November 12, 2010

"Actually, I find it useful to contemplate my white privileges..."

"... and any other privileges into which I was born, like being a citizen of the richest country on earth, and did not obtain for myself," says Roy Edroso.
In fact, when I was growing up, it was customary for adults to remind children of such luck as they had inherited, like the food we had and "people starving in other countries" didn't. This was meant as a spur to gratitude and humility, and to not being such a whining little shit.
He's reacting to a program that in which government officials are prodding adult citizens to think about how privileged they are. The analogy to a parent-child relationship comes so easily to the left-wing mind.

And what kind of families — back in the olden days — encouraged their kids to think about how lucky they were to be white? Only racist parents would have said anything like that. Kindly parents back then had a simple message for their kids on the subject of race: There is only one race, the human race. It wasn't hard for them to figure out that that was the right thing to say, and it wasn't at all hard for kids to understand it.

Argument by nostalgia is highly manipulable.

122 comments:

shoutingthomas said...

My dad always told me how lucky I was to be born an American.

AllenS said...

How would you like to be black, and growing up in Africa, Edroso?

E.M. Davis said...

We sure as hell are lucky to have been born Americans. Our levels of 'poverty' are embarrassingly wealthy compared to most of the world.

I even do this with my own children, but not the white part.

TRO said...

"My dad always told me how lucky I was to be born an American."

Mine too, as did my Grandfather. Of course all modern liberals think all non-liberal whites are racist and always have been. Nothing's ever going to change that, not even the election of the first black president.

Oh wait, that already happened.

jsled said...

It's not racist (or classist, or sexist) to recognize the reality of that position of privilege.

I'm reminded of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG4f9zR5yzYLouis CK bit recently, and he sums the distinction up well:

"I'm not saying white people are better. I'm saying being white is *clearly* better."

But is there a difference between recognition and guilt/blame? Sure. Can we encourage people to reflect on these things without those negative aspects? Sure. Is it harder to do? of course. But should we not think about it because it's hard? No.

MadisonMan said...

Those wacky government officials are in Canada.

Moose said...

I tell my kids to be thankful for what they have - in general. What they have is not dependent on the color of our skin. Only the fact that I've been *extremely* lucky in my life.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My dad always told me how lucky I was to be born an American.

Ditto. We were taught to consider ourselves fortunate to be Americans and to value our freedoms and to not take the bounty that we had for granted.

Since we spent quite some time in Mexico when I was a child up until the teenage years, we could see through first hand experience how lucky we were to be born into a rich and free society.



It had nothing to do with race and all about being an American as something to be proud of.

Of course, nowadays, the schools go out of their way to denigrate Americans, distort our history and stress all of the 'bad' and none of the good. Consequently we have raised a generation or two of people who actively despise their own country and who are ignorant of history.

MadisonMan said...

Is racism really that big a deal in Edmonton?

I'm reminded of a certain School Administrator here in Madison who is always pushing new proposals that parents are almost uniformly against. I wonder whay she would do if not for pushing these unpopular proposals? Nothing -- she'd be jobless. So bureacrats in Edmonton have fixed on a "problem" and do lots of taxpayer-supported "work" on how to address it. They have to! Otherwise they'd be jobless.

traditionalguy said...

The White Tribe is not lucky. It is hard working and intelligent enough to stop the European Kings from robbing us at gunpoint (See, Second Amendment). But now they are back and they want their old North American colonies back. Soros and Obama need stopping as much as Great Britain, France, Spain, and Russia ever needed stopping when they came after us 200 years ago. A fifth column is an enemy inside the city walls.

TRO said...

"Those wacky government officials are in Canada."

I'm confused . . . why would anyone consider themselves lucky to be Canadian?

Except for the beer, maybe.

c3 said...

Mea culpla, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

AJ Lynch said...

Yesterday's Top 100 list had no Indians on it so the Canadians could be onto something.

Or maybe that list proves Indians are simply very unlucky people?

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man - you are starting to sound like a conservative.

Bob_R said...

Humility is a good thing, but it's not good for a government official in a democracy to be urging it on voters. It might be good for government officials to be reminded that there are systems where people get rid of the officials they don't like by hanging them from lamp posts. Perhaps they would find it useful to contemplate their privileges.

miller said...

There is this mindset amongst some people that they are guilty, and they look for reasons to justify that feeling.

And there are times when it's healthy to consider how much you depend upon the work of others (Salk, Pasteur, Lincoln, Patton, et al.) and you can be grateful.

This lamentation about "white privilege" is, in my mind, the efforts of the unoppressed to find a way to feel guilty about their own blessed state. Rather than saying "how wonderful - how can I repay what's been given to me by men & women who worked to benefit me?" they say "we are all such rotten people & we are so so sorry for being healthy and rich. Please forgive us. We are not worthy."

It's all in the attitude.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Eat your vegtables. There are children starving in India."

"Well they can have my fuckin' brussel sprouts."

c3 said...

Rant ahead:

My father's white privilege allowed him to be born in a log cabin (literally).

It allowed him to work as a teenager in his small town grocery store to help support his family because his father's janitor salary could not fully support the family.

It allowed him to turn down a faculty appointment at a private university to take a job across the country working with a forest products company because he had a new family to support.

It allowed him to take his education and experience with that company to get a job with the military in the new field of photometric surveillance. (i.e. a picture from a plane can tell you what trees are growing in a forest. It can also see missile silos)

It allowed him to send his boys off to state colleges for cheaper tuition.

His whiteness did all of that and more!!

His education, his determination, his willingness to sacrifice had nothing whatsoever to do with any of that.

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Hagar said...

But the greatest thing of all is to be born as a Norwegian!

And I can well remember being told to eat my porridge for "Just think of the starving children in China!", and that was a long time before they found oil in the Norwegian Sea and became known as "the blue-eyed Arabs of the North!"

chickelit said...

Althouse needs to post a special nut graf on Edroso for those who don't get off on whatever that whack job writes.

Coketown said...

It is my great privilege to be white and to present this award for best supporting actress.

That just sounds hollow. I don't think this guy is being genuine.

Revenant said...

We were told that we were fortunate to have all that we had, and to thank God for it. I never bought the God part, but the fortune was hard to argue with.

Race never entered into it.

Sigivald said...

A useful heuristic is that anyone who talks about their "white privilege" has nothing useful to say on the subject, and is simply reveling in guilt.

(Someone who is talking about someone else's "white privilege" also typically has nothing useful to say, and is simply trying to make someone else feel guilty. Even better, to make them feel guilty about something they didn't choose or have any power over.

Blaming people for things they have no power over and didn't choose? Isn't that, in essence, the root problem with racism itself, and most other bigotry?

Ah, irony.)

ricpic said...

Tradguy makes an important point: "privilege" to the extent there is such a thing is the residue of prudence and perseverance. Witness the speed with which an individual who is reckless and slothful experiences downward mobility.

Fernandinande said...

The more I practice the more privileged I get.

AllenS said...

My dad was born and raised on the White Earth Indian Reservation. He never bitched about being an American. He did have that eat your vegetables thing going, though. When you're a kid, some vegetables just suck.

DADvocate said...

I was told by many, mostly teachers, how lucky I was to be an American living in America. It's not really luck though. It's the result of centuries of development of civilization, hard work by many people.

My ancestors worked hard, made calculated risks coming across the ocean, fought in wars for freedom, did some stuff that wasn't so great too. And then my parents decided to get married and have kids. What played the greater role, dumb luck or millions of people over centuries working towards a common, often unspoken, goal?

LordSomber said...

So is having a Protestant work ethic a "privilege"?

AllenS said...

One day LBJ sent me a letter. It started out with "Greetings". I can't exactly remember the rest of the letter, but I think it had something to do about being lucky to be an American, and how much fun I was going to have being in the Army. Nobody told me I had to eat my vegetables during that time.

Revenant said...

So is having a Protestant work ethic a "privilege"?

Well, no, but those of us who were raised to have one are certainly fortunate that we were.

Or maybe not so fortunate, since it appears we get to support the people who don't work.

AllenS said...

Nope, not even close.

Selective Service Station
ORDER TO REPORT FOR INDUCTION
The President of the United States

To AllenS

Greetings:

You are hereby ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States, and to report at __________ on ___________ at _________.

For forwarding to an Armed Forces Induction Station.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Nobody told me I had to eat my vegetables during that time.

Not even your Drill Sergeant, really?

And as I am too young to ever have received such a missive, it really opened with "Greetings"? I mean this as no insult, but did it also include the word "Suckah"? Greetings, wow, I never thought a lettre like that would open with such a nice phrase, "Greetings, fellow human, your services ahve been required and requested for the next four years."

Thank you for your service. It's not much; it's all I can say or do.

Marshal said...

"I'm confused . . . why would anyone consider themselves lucky to be Canadian?

Except for the beer, maybe."

Belgium is the clear choice for those willing to accept shitty politics in their quest for quality beer.

Luckily, they export, and thus no choice is required.

AllenS said...

Can you imagine cracker ass Edroso getting drafted? You think he's a sissy crybaby now? Can you imagine the coniption fit he'd have? He'd be pulling his white privileges out of every orific of his body.

AllenS said...

Joe, when you reach puberty, I'll tell you all about it.

Marshal said...

"This lamentation about "white privilege" is, in my mind, the efforts of the unoppressed to find a way to feel guilty about their own blessed state."

Nope. It's ridicule of an effort to justify placing my children at a competitive disadvantage because dead people who share their skin color did something awful to other dead people who don't.

Hagar said...

It's odd that with any mention of "race" in this country, the arguments seem to immediately revolve around "Negro slavery" and its aftermath, though in fact there are lots of "races," depending on how much of "splitter" or "lumper" you are, and either way, it is difficult to think of one that is not represented in this country.

former law student said...

Kindly parents back then had a simple message for their kids on the subject of race: There is only one race, the human race.

A coworker emigrated here from Turkey. He looked white, so he was all right. Then, on vacation, he went to Germany. Shop clerks actually followed him in stores, to make sure he didn't steal anything. In Germany, he was no longer "white," and the locals made him acutely aware of that fact.

Marshal said...

Hagar,

There are many races, but one race drives virtually all of race based policy. Consider how those who make such a big deal about minorities in universities simply ignore the widespread discrimination against asians.

Diversity was never the rationale for race preferences until the Bakke Supreme Court Case, they were remedies for historical racism. That fact is still true, but the left cannot admit it because such admissions would invalidate the programs.

fivewheels said...

Wow. I read that post. If this is the kind of crap you have to go through to monitor the left-wing blogs, Ann, I say don't do it.

I was constantly told to appreciate how lucky I was to be born in America. This is because I was the only one in my family who was, and I absorbed the point from relatives who had not been fortunate enough to escape communism yet, but were patiently waiting in the long legal immigration line. Yes, this shaped my politics a great deal, but not the way Edroso might want.

Of course, I never got any of that white privilege, not being white, but for some reason I was still expected to score 400 points higher on the SAT than people of other ethnicities to get the same result. Should I have been contemplating that as well, Roy?

Anthony said...

I think it's important for parents to talk to their kids about race. I didn't really get much of that from my parents. I was raised in an upper-middle class white family and initially went to an almost all-white elementary school. In third grade my parents asked me if I wanted to enroll in my school system's "gifted and talented" program because I was identified as such via grades, testing, and teacher recommendations. I agreed, and I transferred from my almost all-white elementary to a majority-minority school made up of mostly African-Americans and Latinos (with the exception of the gifted and talented classes, which were 80-95% white).

Upon being at that new school, race came very quickly into my consciousness, and at 8 years old I had legitimate questions about why the white kids had such nice clothes but the black kids didn't. I also remember making friends with some kids that were not in my class and later asking for Air Jordan shoes for Christmas because my black friends all believed they were the coolest shoes on earth. When my parents actually bought those shoes for me (I'm sure unaware of how that might make the poor, black kids that I was friends with feel) I was ostracized at school for being a rich white kid by other kids, and I stopped wearing them.

So my point is, a lot of kids of all races deal with race from a very early age, and I don't think the answer of "we're all one human race" is satisfying, even for an eight year old. I remember wanting answers to those questions I had and not getting them. Looking back on it now, I understood why my parents avoided discussing it with me, but I think it would have helped me navigate my school a little better at my age to have some sort of grasp on those issues.

The Crack Emcee said...

I contemplate my black privilege every time I'm with a white girl.

[Kidding]

I hate race posts.

roesch-voltaire said...

On Saturdays when my step-father drove to the inner-city of Milwaukee to collect his pay check from Advanced Transportation, he made us stay inside the locked car. I guess I always had an awareness of other and difference, but given our income level etc. never of privilege.

Fen said...

I'm not saying white people are better. I'm saying being white is *clearly* better.

To which I respond: White Man's Burden. It was white men who gradually evolved into granting rights to the merchant class, then extending those rights to blacks and then women.

And none of the minorities I have known show ANY indication that they would have done the same. In fact, its my experience that minorities tend to be more racist and sexist than their "oppressors" once they have the reigns.

So if you are free today, thank the White Man. They did for you what you wouldn't have done for anyone else.

former law student said...

Now I'm thinking of my friend G., whose family has been American since the US annexed New Mexico in in 1848 or so. She noticed as a young girl that her teachers were always showering praise and attention on the little blonde girls in crinolines, and not on her or the other little brown girls, even though the blondes were wrong about half the time. At which point steel entered her spine, and she made it her mission to make it clear to one and all that she was just as smart as the white girls if not a damn sight smarter.

Marshal said...

Congratulations fls, you managed to keep your "I hate America" moment on topic today.

former law student said...

Marshal, learning that Chinese people look down on Caucasians has kept me humble. (We're lazy, get divorced, don't take care of our elders, etc.)

Maguro said...

Nothing like listening to some racist Chinese stereotypes of whites to keep the old white self-loathing going. Whatever it takes, I guess.

DADvocate said...

I contemplate my black privilege every time I'm with a white girl.

LOL

I have two kids, a son and a daughter, in high school. Currently both are dating blacks who come from families with higher incomes than mine and have both parents in the house.

Liberals are so out of touch with the real world that they don't know their antiquated attitudes on race were left behind years ago in small town rural Kentucky. Amazing.

Marshal said...

fls,

Your mother must be proud. Does she realize how badly your childhood scarred you? Or was she one of those who kept the family peace by refusing to notice?

shoutingthomas said...

Marshal, learning that Chinese people look down on Caucasians has kept me humble. (We're lazy, get divorced, don't take care of our elders, etc.)

The Chinese look down on everybody except other Chinese.

They certainly aren't believers in the Diversity Creed.

And, they do believe that whites are lazy, prone to divorce and also prone to dump their elders in the nursing home. All true.

You'll never see an Asian in a nursing home.

DADvocate said...

She noticed as a young girl that her teachers were always showering praise and attention on the little blonde girls in crinolines, and not on her or the other little brown girls, even though the blondes were wrong about half the time.

Such accounts are often highly inaccurate. Her perception was that "her teachers were always showering praise and attention on the little blonde girls in crinolines." Was this ever objectively measured? I'm sure not in this particular case.

One of my psychology professors did a study where he was off camera directing actions of people on camera. Others watched the video and were told to mark the moment when certain behaviors reached a particular point in frequency of occurring. Some were told to do this by using their own judgment, others by recording what was happening at certain time intervals, every 10 seconds I think.

The people using their own judgment were incredibly inaccurate, generally missing the mark by huge percentage points of more than 50% change before acknowledging any change.

Hagar said...

Once, when I first was inducted into the Army, I thought I would be smart and put "human" in the space for "Race." The cadre said, "No,no, Hagar," and I said, "So what am I then?" The cadre said, " Why, you are a Caucasian!", and I said, "No,no! I am not a Russian! I am a Norwegian!"
And the cadre siad, "We are going to court martial you, Hagar!" and I decided that maybe the better course of valour would be to do as the Romans do while in Rome.

That "We are going to court martial you, Hagar!" did get to be sort a refrain throughout my Army career. I too have a flighty mind.

ricpic said...

You'll never see an Asian in a nursing home.

If they can walk they're at the track.

Almost Ali said...

In turn, I wondered if those starving Chinese children had heard about 'me,' that my mother couldn't cook a potato to save her life. To her seasonings were alchemy, mysterious and dangerous.

I discovered salt and pepper just after my 9th birthday. At a neighbor's house.

And I grew up in the greatest country the world has ever seen.

Youngblood said...

It's amazing that liberal college-educated upper middle class people have consistently misdiagnosed liberal college-educated upper middle class privilege as white privilege for so long.

It's almost as though they think that the term "white" is a synonym for "liberal college-educated upper middle class", and they fail to even entertain the notion that not all white people are like them...

Fucking racists.

BJM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
c3 said...

Marshal, learning that Chinese people look down on Caucasians has kept me humble. (We're lazy, get divorced, don't take care of our elders, etc.)

See now FLS, there's your problem right there. You don't listen to Chinamen enough. You know there very studious and hardworking. You could learn a lot from them. Unfortunately it can be hard because they stick together and look out for their own.

PS Some of my best friends are Oriental

BJM said...

@Trooper

"Well they can have my fuckin' brussel sprouts."

Ditto...sent packing to bed, lost TV privileges for a month for potty mouth and I still had to eat the fuckin' sprouts the next day or double down.

ddh said...

A city in Canada is taxing citizens to pay for a government program to encourage them to consider their privileges. Is there nothing that big government can't do?

Penny said...

Any argument that results in fewer "whining little shits" gets a thumbs up from me.

former law student said...

At least this makes me proud to be American. From www.racismfreeedmonton.ca


Did you know...

23% of those living in Canada incorrectly believe that some races are genetically smarter than others?

Child poverty for children belonging to racialized groups is 45% while the rate for all children in Canada is 26%?

In Canada, members of racialized groups earn 28% less than whites?

BJM said...

@shoutingthomas

You'll never see an Asian in a nursing home.

Poppycock! In San Francisco there are nursing homes that have large populations of Taiwanese, Mandarin and Cantonese. Laguna Honda on the edge of Chinatown is famous for multilingual/cultural service to the Asian community.

Asian-American families can't cope with diseases such as Alzheimer's any better than the rest of us and late stage Alzheimer's is not a home care situation.

I have Asian-American friends who don't want to live with their children and have downsized to trendy senior complexes where they can transition from independent living with in-home services to assisted living and nursing care when the time comes.

Sorry, but in CA that's an outmoded stereotype.

BJM said...

@c3



I'm surprised one of them hasn't smacked you up side the head for using the "O" word.

former law student said...

Ah. racismfreeedmonton.ca has scrubbed the white privilege section from their website.

You can grab it from google cache, but here are the basics:

White privilege refers to all the benefits we get just for being white. Most of us are aware of how racism hurts others, but we're not aware of how it benefits us.

"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group." Dr. Dr. Peggy McIntosh, is associate director of the Wellesley Collage Center for Research on Women.

Most of us have little awareness of our white privilege. We 're so used to having the benefits that come with being white that we don’t even realize we have them. We also aren’t aware of our privilege because the system has encouraged us not to be aware.

Most of us are aware of how racism hurts others, but we're not aware of how it benefits us. Without acknowledging the privilege we hold, we can’t truly begin to understand the experience of people of color.

The first step to stopping racism is to acknowledge that the deck is heavily stacked in our favour.

Penny said...

C3 said, "You don't listen to Chinamen enough."

That's because some of us are too busy counting heads.

BJM said...

@fls

If you're so consumed with life's unfairness and mankind's cruelty, then get the fuck off your ass and make a difference. Donate your money and earthly goods, go live and work with the poor and underprivileged.

Otherwise, the hair shirt act is getting old.

former law student said...

go live and work with the poor and underprivileged.

Tsk tsk. Per racismfreeedmonton.ca, BJM may be a racist:

Stop racism as an individual:

2. Think twice when you hear groups and/or communities referred to as “disadvantaged” or “underprivileged”. These labels often have stereotypes that come with them that ignore or mask the attitude of underlying racism, that somehow the group is inherently 'lesser than' others.


I will pray that the scales fall from bjm's eyes.

Penny said...

And to take this a step further, let's add in fls's concern,

"The first step to stopping racism is to acknowledge that the deck is heavily stacked in our favour."

Of course he was talking about WHITE privilege, not CHINESE privilege.

So? Is it safe to assume that those who don't think there IS such a thing as white privilege also believe that there will never be such a thing as Chinese privilege?

Hold that thought...and for a long, long time.

The Crack Emcee said...

Fen,

White Man's Burden. It was white men who gradually evolved into granting rights to the merchant class, then extending those rights to blacks and then women.

And none of the minorities I have known show ANY indication that they would have done the same. In fact, its my experience that minorities tend to be more racist and sexist than their "oppressors" once they have the reigns.

So if you are free today, thank the White Man. They did for you what you wouldn't have done for anyone else.


Sigh. I'm not disagreeing with you, but you're leaving a lot of shit out in that description. See, unlike you, I take into account a lot of things you don't mention - like having even the opportunity to be exposed to certain ideas - that could change how we see black attitudes. I find the average black person is just as reasonable, and in many cases more practical, than whites when I have the chance to say (as I'm saying to you) "but you're leaving something out".

Slavery, etc., looms large in the minds of most blacks - too large - so to get them to "just drop it" means they've got to be talking to someone they trust. Someone they think understands where they're coming from. Most whites won't qualify. Not because they can't grasp the outlook but because they're too far ahead of that outlook. (I kinda have a foot in both camps, ahead in some places, behind in others.) What you see as as "more racist and sexist" I see as defense mechanisms - and (in some cases) they're more-than justified by slavery.

Think about it like my situation, now, with women. I can appear over-the-top, right? But once you can grasp the totality of how I've been put through the wringer - lying, adultery, a triple murder, loss of finances, career, friends, influence, etc. - I don't come off that weird. Maybe harsh (even unduly so) from time-to-time, but would anybody deny I have every reason to be defensive, of what's left of my life, from here on out? If they do, then I consider them pretty fucking heartless.

To me, it's the same way with blacks. (And "put through the wringer" doesn't even start to explain the black experience in America - or anywhere else, really.) If we acknowledge the mind set, honestly, we can probably reach a place where we might all be able to advance together. But if we keep insisting that we're all starting from the same place, it'll never happen, because we ain't.

Am I happy for what the "white man's" done? I sure am - including the racists who kept everything so nice for me to enjoy - but I still understand how your outlook marginalizes us, today, and think (with a bit of understanding) we can do much, much better.

I'm not sure if that made quite the sense I was shooting for, but I tried.

I hate racial posts.

The Crack Emcee said...

BJM,

n San Francisco there are nursing homes that have large populations of Taiwanese, Mandarin and Cantonese. Laguna Honda on the edge of Chinatown is famous for multilingual/cultural service to the Asian community,...Sorry, but in CA that's an outmoded stereotype.

True.

The Crack Emcee said...

If you're so consumed with life's unfairness and mankind's cruelty, then get the fuck off your ass and make a difference. Donate your money and earthly goods, go live and work with the poor and underprivileged.

Yea, this is a classic to me:

I'm here - black - told you I'm broke, and have been hurt beyond belief. All my money's gone, etc. (and I ain't a racist or anything) but how many "bleeding hearts" in this blog's community have donated to help me?

One.

Now I don't know, maybe your money would do better going to the Salvation Army or some shit, but I find it hard to believe that anyone here gives a shit about blacks, or the poor, or whatever when you can't even figure out how to help the one who's right in front of you, typing from an 13-by-8 room he rarely ever leaves.

The shit gets old.

Youngblood said...

Penny wrote:

"So? Is it safe to assume that those who don't think there IS such a thing as white privilege also believe that there will never be such a thing as Chinese privilege?"

No, it's not safe to assume that.

The people who reject the theory of white privilege often do so because whiteness is assumed to be monolithic, when it is not.

Plenty of rural whites (Cajuns, people from Appalachia, people from the Ozarks, Rusyn-Americans from upstate Pennsylvania) are not issued the same knapsacks at birth that whites like Peggy McIntosh are issued. The inhabitants of white ghettos are also not issued the same collection of passports, maps, and blank checks that people like McIntosh are.

That's a really key point that's invariably ignored in discussions of privilege theory.

"Whiteness" only trumps things like class, ethnicity, and regional identity for whites like Peggy McIntosh, who are privileged not on account of their skin color (as they falsely assert), but on account of their willingness to adopt the norms of America's liberal college-educated upper middle class "elites".

A black man who adopts those norms (like President Obama) is afforded privileges that, say, Cajuns and ghetto whites (and blacks) are not.

Rockport Conservative said...

There was a saying here in the South, "Free, White and 21." I suspect the south was not the only place that was uttered.

Synova said...

"But the greatest thing of all is to be born as a Norwegian!"

Ain't it the truth. :-)

"It's not racist (or classist, or sexist) to recognize the reality of that position of privilege."

Only if the position of privilege is real and not a hodge-podge of guilt induced "privilege" markers that add up to "are you a jerk." I've read at least one list meant to help one recognize "privilege" and that's what it amounted to; Are you a jerk-child of upper middle class uppity parents?

And the thing is... a whole heck of a lot of we persons of pallor are neither jerks, nor of an economic class that tolerates jerks or jerky sorts who think they are entitled to skate on the basis, *any* basis, of their birth.

"But is there a difference between recognition and guilt/blame? Sure. Can we encourage people to reflect on these things without those negative aspects? Sure. Is it harder to do? of course. But should we not think about it because it's hard? No."

No.

We shouldn't think about it because it is either pointless or outright harmful. It serves no purpose in its guilt-free no-negative-aspects form. So why bother? It's only useful in its guilt-inducing form.

The problem is that in its guilt-inducing form the "use" is harmful. It's damaging. It prevents us from moving toward a racism-free society because it cements the racism into a form that can *not* be cured. We will always be white. So what then? What next? How does the enforced propriety of this new white man's burden take us to the desired end? It doesn't.

There is no mechanism for solution only perpetuation.

IT IS HARMFUL. It is harmful and hurtful and WRONG.

former law student said...

The deal with Obama is that he didn't realize he came from an inferior race for years. For four years in Indonesia he was a novelty. In multiracial Hawaii who was going to spot him as black, or care that much even if they did? By the time he got to the states he was selfassured, the smart kid who was sufficiently athletic to get by.

Really, not till he got to NYC would he have his nose rubbed in his blackness.

He'd almost be in the "exchange student" role of his dad. The Africans I went to college with were the cream of their crop, without self-doubt or feelings of inferiority.

former law student said...

His name might well have been one of Barack's biggest assets. "I'm not from around here" it shrieks, as "Stanley Dunham" never could. Having a dad from Kenya means you're not a legacy of slavery.

Maguro said...

Obama had his face rubbed in his blackness when he went to NYC? Really? I had no idea 1980s Columbia University was so retrograde. What happened, did they call him "boy" or turn the fire hoses on him? Do tell.

former law student said...

Like University of Chicago, or University of Southern California, Columbia is a little white island surrounded by ghetto.

Maguro said...

Like University of Chicago, or University of Southern California, Columbia is a little white island surrounded by ghetto.

And?

Penny said...

"And?", says Maguro.

Ohhh, would be nice! Perhaps if you had a more compelling bull?

chris said...
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chris said...
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chris said...
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chris said...

I was only taught as a small child that it was bad to be racist to black people - consequently I thought Asians and Latinos were an ethnic variation of white until I was in high school. Really. I focused on the hair rather than the skin color.

Having said that, I think about it plenty as an adult. I was recently at my local recycling area which for years was manned by very desperate looking black people. It was recently bought out and is now manned by very desperate looking Guatamalens. We're talking one step up from the shelter - maybe. It's been this way for years. No one white has ever been at the controls.

So a hispanic woman was waiting with her recycling because the guy who runs it was not back from lunch break. I was waiting, too.

A very nice, just nicey nice nice older white suburban lady was coming up with her recycling and making a beeline to the hispanic women - who was WEARING NURSES SCRUBS for god's sake.

I could see what was about to happen and blocked her path and said, "They're not back from lunch. It's closed. There isn't anyone here yet. You'll have to wait."

Didn't matter, she plowed right through me with her idiot grin to the Hispanic woman in nurses scrubs and started prattling at her like she worked there, demanding she open up and take her recycling. It was awkward and the woman in scrubs was quite embarrassed but tried to cover it.

The lady did not make this assumption with me, nor would she have.

No big right? But if you're having a bad day, that kind of shit can depress you especially when it happens over and over and over again. And you couldn't fault this white woman because she had her armor of NICENESS on, right? But I fault her for the sheer level of her oblivious idiocy.

Another example, an acquaintance who didn't get ay bites on her programmer's resume until she went back to her unmarried (white) name - most likely because no one wanted to deal with an affirmative action degree that wasn't up to snuff in the real world.

chris said...

Sorry, google kept telling me it was an error and couldn't post when it was posting multiple times.

BJM said...

@fls

Whatever, I'm done.

chris said...

Another one - neighbor was out front doing some planting. She is native american but could pass for either asian or mexican depending. So some white lady in an SUV talking on a cell phone screeches to a stop and demand to know her rates because she needs a new gardening service - this is while the neighbor was on her own property. It's true that very few ppl do their own gardening in my neighborhood anymore, but a few still do. This assumption would not have been made had she been white.

White privilege is real where it still exists. It's invisible. It's the bad stuff that doesn't happen to you day in and day out that you'll never understand - similar to being a pretty girl, but more subtle. HOWEVER it is largely outmoded because most places just aren't that white anymore.

If you've ever walked around while white or asian in a dominantly mexican, home-owning suburban neighborhood you'll know the difference between the reception you get if you walk around alone and the reception you'll get if you walk around with a dark friend that everyone assumes is mexican. Suddenly it's all smiles and "Buenas noches."

Fen said...

Crack: Sigh. I'm not disagreeing with you, but you're leaving a lot of shit out in that description.

No worries. I get the rest of what your saying. My response was not meant for you, its an attack on those expect me to feel guilty about being white.

Penny said...

Crack talks "loud", while having most of us think that if he doesn't do that...he will die.

Penny said...

Personally? "Bone jumper, heart pounder, your first or last best friend."

Um hm....

Like THAT!

Penny said...

And as much "objectivity" as we would ever wish on a friend in a single night.

The Crack Emcee said...

Penny,

I don't know what any of that means.

Youngblood said...

Chris,

While I take your point, I need to really stress that "whiteness" is not monolithic. I grew up in a white ghetto. I know more than a few people who didn't make it past their teens. My best friend was beaten nearly to death with a hammer, and one of my brother's good friends was beaten blind.

I got very lucky -- I got an academic scholarship to a very exclusive private grade school. Nonetheless, I got to grow up hearing my neighborhood being thrown out as a punchline, in grade school, high school, college, and beyond.

More generally, phrases like "white trash" are tossed around by plenty of people, especially liberals who wouldn't dream of using the same racially charged language to denigrate minority groups or joke at their expense.

Whiteness is by no means monolithic. In some cases, it gives you the ability to wring your hands about unearned advantages. In other cases, it gets you a nightstick to the chest for standing on the wrong corner when a douchebag cop passes by.

Make no mistake about it. The whole point of white privilege theory is to make upper middle class whites feel good about themselves by doling out illusory power to hand-picked minorities.

Notice, for example, that (Cantonese) Chinese-Americans, (South) Korean-Americans, anti-communist Vietnamese-Americans, and generally right-leaning Indian-Americans only become unprivileged people of color when they have the right politics. (And if you're a black person who wanders off the plantation? That's open season for privileged whites to call you a fucking race traitor!)

To the extent that privilege theory is useful, it goes way beyond race.

shoutingthomas said...

Another discussion that has not produced a single new idea in the 60 years I've been on this earth:

The "Let's have a serious talk about race" BS!

Please God, send us one new idea!

This is why I only read technical manuals. At least in programming and software, new ideas appear almost daily.

The arts and humanities have been dead in the water for decades.

Hagar said...

fls,

Your language is suspect.

And from what I know about post-liberation Indonesia, I would say there was a reason why Barack's mother sent him to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. As part European, part Black, and a "Christian" he would have had a very difficult time of it as a child in Djakarta in the 1960's.

former law student said...

Here's a cheerful story about white privilege:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ3dk6KAvQM

The Crack Emcee said...

Youngblood,

I grew up in a white ghetto. I know more than a few people who didn't make it past their teens. My best friend was beaten nearly to death with a hammer, and one of my brother's good friends was beaten blind.

Now you're speaking my language. One of my foster fathers got the multiple ball-peen hammer blows to the head routine. Trauma-off-the-charts for everyone. No one - but especially the Old Man - was ever the same.

I have a hard time deciding if the rest of these commenters/pundits are sheltered or stupid. I mean, I don't see whites as monolithic, how do so many white people? Do they never leave the house? Interact with others? What gives?

And don't get me started on the blinders most wear on the subject of the unspoken influences/effects of NewAge on our culture. Sometimes I have to wonder how deliberate this enforced stupidity is (and that's what it is) because, when I see professors and lawyers, as smart as Ann Althouse and Glenn Reynolds, hardly taking NewAge seriously - even after the Oprah/Obama routine we just went through - well, let's just say the world looks even more insane than I've ever imagined.

Anyway, I agree with you wholeheartedly ("To the extent that privilege theory is useful, it goes way beyond race.") and wish others would show some interest in catching up, rather than treading water.

AllenS said...

Crack,

Some time ago, I tried to explain the effects of Scientology on an old girlfriend that I had tried to get back together with. Althouse's response was something like: "Just because it didn't work out for you, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with Scientology." While that might not be a direct quote, it's close enough. You should consider yourself lucky. There's a reason she doesn't climb on your ass. Guess why.

former law student said...

I got an academic scholarship to a very exclusive private grade school.

When you got there, did your peers and teachers assume you were one of them, or did they see you as fundamentally different?

nobody said...

Eve Tushnet:

"The only thing to add is that in high school, partly because of the history of the particular school I attended (the first integrated school in DC, but by that time it was pricey, overwhelmingly white, and obsessively unhappy about those facts) and partly because of the particular segment of punk stuff in which I moved, I got to see how stupid and paralyzing liberal white guilt can really be. (Firsthand. Blah.) White guilt often begins as manners, which are good--manners require you to pay attention to the people you interact with, treat them well, and be aware of problems they may be dealing with that you are not dealing with. All well and good. But because there is no way to be sufficiently non-racist (colorblindness is not even close to good enough--more on that later), LWG quickly spirals into self-obsessed, self-lacerating uselessness. Zines full of pages and pages of white girls engaging in Self-Critique, "calling themselves" on their racism, sometimes exaggerating it, sometimes wallowing in their own rottenness, but always talking about themselves (uh, ourselves), and never about, you know, actual black people. Especially not as individuals. Black people were symbols--what Richard Brookhiser, I think, called the "Numinous Negro." Black people, in the abstract, were also highly useful as clubs with which to beat other liberal-white-guilty punks--racism was the most useful charge to use against white guys and girls because it could never be disproven. If you denied it, that showed that you weren't sufficiently self-aware. (Yes, I am reminded of the Frist pencils/Barry "scandals," why do you ask?) Black people in real reality tended to be significantly less useful, thus it's perhaps not surprising that they were more popular in absentia. Real black people tended not to act in satisfyingly symbolic fashion. They tended, in fact, to dislike being numinous. The whole show was full of taboos, unsayables. It was beyond lame, and I think it was harmful for everyone involved."

http://eve-tushnet.blogspot.com/2002_12_01_archive.html#86717047%2386717047

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Several years ago, A&E (I think) did a reality show/documentary with 2 families, a black one and a white one, and, using extraordinary theatrical make-up, swapped their races. Does anyone remember that? The make-up was amazing, but they botched the show completely- instead of focusing on the families' experiences in the public, the focused almost entirely on the interpersonal disputes between the 2 families, ruining what could have been a facinating concept.

But then, I wonder, maybe the public experiences were just completely boring. Maybe people . . . just treated them like people, not racial constructs.

- Lyssa

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I'm white (or something- calling myself LyssaLovelyRedhead actually originally started as a joke that my race was "redhead", but I digress). The most important, most amazing privilege in my life comes from having been born of 2 parents who are good, decent people, who didn't abuse, didn't hold back or tell us we couldn't acomplish things, didn't destroy the family even though their marriage was clearly not perfect, worked to ensure that we were taken care of, and didn't put their selfish desires over the needs of the family.

Looking back at my friends growing up, I was damn lucky. Many, many of my friends didn't have this privilege, the privilege I completely took for granted of having a stable, comfortable, and loving home, and many, I believe, continue to suffer from it well into adulthood.

Race means nothing compared to that privilege.

- Lyssa

The Crack Emcee said...

AllenS,

"Just because it didn't work out for you, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with Scientology."

Whoa. Really, Ann?

I've gotten the same kind of condescension here, along with the assertion it's my post-marriage anger that ruined my marriage (?) and anything else that suggests women bear no fault for anything negative we've reaped from feminism that the bitches who supported it don't identify first.

Throw a rune.

People are crazy, but none more-so than Boomers.

Honestly, has there ever been a more delusionaly troublesome group in the history of America, than the Boomers?

I can remember, when I was a kid, standing in church and trying to avoid some 300 lb. lady falling on me (because she "got the spirit") and thinking:

One of these days I'm getting out of here and can be done with all this.

Only to finally do so and discover these assholes have gummed up the works even worse than I'd ever imagined. They'll twist anything. Accept every contradiction as their birthright. Demean anyone who won't go along. Damn anyone with a connection to reality or reason. And many men go along.

And now they're all in charge - and we're watching as they've destroyed it for anyone behind them - but we better not blame them, or else they'll make us pay even more.

The other-other elite. The other white meat.

The new destroyers of all we hold dear.

The Crack Emcee said...

Race means nothing compared to that privilege.

- Lyssa


You nailed it, sweetheart. Count your blessings. You're as lucky as lucky can be.

AllenS said...

Let me ask you again, Crack, why don't you think that the Althouse Woman doesn't climb all up and down your ass about this New Age thing you constantly want to rail about?

Youngblood said...

FLS wrote:

"When you got there, did your peers and teachers assume you were one of them, or did they see you as fundamentally different?"

With respect to the students, the latter, very much so and in no uncertain terms. I won't even go into the ways that the other parents interacted with my parents.

In my class, there was a black guy and we became inseperable. Early on, we realized that we were in the exact same boat.

With respect to the teachers, it was a mixed bag of condescension, indifference, and genuine warmth. The teachers who generally treated me best were themselves outsiders (our off-the-boat Irish teacher in 5th grade, our blue-collar-boy-made-good 7th grade teacher, and our lesbian 7th and 8th grade literature teacher).

I tended to get along best with the "help" -- the South Vietnamese janitor and our working class black bus driver.

Anglelyne said...

Youngblood: Make no mistake about it. The whole point of white privilege theory is to make upper middle class whites feel good about themselves by doling out illusory power to hand-picked minorities.

Well, yeah, it's mostly about in-group status-posturing among effete silly-ass whites (see: fls), but don't forget its usefulness as a generator of phoney-baloney gubmint/corporate bullshit jobs for useless parasites of all races!

chris: A very nice, just nicey nice nice older white suburban lady was coming up with her recycling and making a beeline to the hispanic women - who was WEARING NURSES SCRUBS for god's sake.

It was Peggy McIntosh and she was late for her "white privilege" lecture.

Another one - neighbor was out front doing some planting. She is native american but could pass for either asian or mexican depending. So some white lady in an SUV talking on a cell phone screeches to a stop and demand to know her rates because she needs a new gardening service...

Peggy strikes again. Or maybe it was psychopath Nice White Lady Jane Elliott.

Seriously, I'd bet that the villainesses of these anecdotes are all religiously "anti-racist", do-gooder, Obama-lovin', Democrat-votin', white-trash-hatin' stalwarts of the SWPL brigades.

c3 said...

we persons of pallor

I'll have to file that one for future use.

Cato Renasci said...

Well, my (unreconstructed) Southern grandmother (who once washed out my mouth with soap for using the 'n-word' in the 'eeny-meeny' counting game) did tell me I was lucky I wasn't born a damnyankee....

LIAM HODDER said...

During the Great Famine we Irish were lucky to benefit from the privilege of being white. If we were black, why, a million of us might have starved to death.

Youngblood said...

Crack wrote:

"I have a hard time deciding if the rest of these commenters/pundits are sheltered or stupid. I mean, I don't see whites as monolithic, how do so many white people? Do they never leave the house? Interact with others? What gives?"

That's the $64,000 question, isn't it?

Most of America's authors, journalists, filmmakers, screenwriters, television executives, politicians, academics, and other opinion leaders are drawn from the nation's "elite" class (upper middle class, college educated, and generally liberal in orientation).

They set the tone for the national conversation. They pump out a constant stream of propaganda intended to convince the rest of us that the world is as they say it is.

They decide what "whiteness" is. They decide what "blackness" is. They decide what the term of the week for a given minority is. They decide what is moral and what is immoral. They decide that yoga is in and scientifically-backed stretching is out. They decide that the avowed Marxist-Leninist atheist wannabe revolutionary Jim Jones was really a fundamentalist Christian bible-thumper. They put out TV shows and movies in which blacks who "act too white" become clowns and punchlines and, indeed, they get to determine who is "authentic" and who is "inauthentic".

Even if the facts don't match up with the propaganda, we generally swallow it. The supposedly smart people out there, the ones who have supposedly thought about these things more than the rest of us, say that the world is this way in college classrooms, in movie theaters, on news programs, and on TV shows.

And, for the most part, people don't question it. Because they also say that it's morally wrong to question their propaganda. If you question their views on race, you must be a racist.

If you question their views on capitalism, you must be on the corporate payroll. If you wonder how close President Obama actually was to Billy Ayers, or why St. Harvey Milk and Governor Jerry Brown hung out with Jim Jones, or what was up with Senator John Kerry's radical anti-war connections, you're a swiftboatin' racist piece of shit.

And I'm sure that you've seen what happens when you question the anti-rational and illiberal New Age underpinnings of post-modern America: you're just a crank and a hater.

I wish I could agree with Lyssa that it's a self-absorbed ego thing, but it's not. It's a control thing, pure and simple.

Youngblood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Macker said...

Notice how Roy wrote "honky citizen". What a racist.

EK said...

Anti-racism campaigns that promote the notion of “white privilege” are not attempting to spur “gratitude and humility.” Nor are they trying to encourage you not to be a “whining little shit,” as Mr. Edroso put it. Such programs are, instead, trying to promote guilt and shame. They are trying to tell you that you actually are, in fact, a “whining little shit,” whether you realize it or not.

Maguro said...

Well, yeah, it's mostly about in-group status-posturing among effete silly-ass whites...

Yep, liberal political beliefs are mostly signalling to make sure that no one mistakes you for the wrong type of white person.

Dale Switzer said...

Everyone knows what was taught by truly religious parents 40 years ago. "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in his sight."

Any attempt to pretend different than this is intentional historical blindness.

former law student said...

Thanks, Youngblood. While you were white, you weren't really "white."

we Irish were lucky to benefit from the privilege of being white.

The Irish at that time were not white. They were barely considered to be human. The first waves of immigrants were not considered to be white. See How the Irish Became White.

http://www.amazon.com/Irish-Became-
White-Noel-Ignatiev/dp/0415918251

what was taught by truly religious parents 40 years ago. "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in his sight."

I knew maybe two truly religious parents in all my youth. The rest were trying to keep blacks out of their neighborhoods. Where I grew up half the mothers were just like Marge Schott.

Anglelyne said...

fls kicks the stupid up a notch: Thanks, Youngblood. While you were white, you weren't really "white."

Yes he was, fls. He was just the wrong kind of white. If you asked the snots he went to school with what race he was, they would have unequivocally said he was white, and they would have meant by that what any normal (i.e. non-squirrely brained academic imbecile with some weird axe to grind) means when they use the term "white": somebody who looks like their ancestors came from Europe; iow, from a pretty much universally recognized race (or "race" if you prefer) of people, which like every other race has its fuzzy edges and overlaps but, when you say it, normal human beings know what you're talking about without tortured redefinitions based on "history" that is mostly pulled out of some neurotic academic's ass.

In other words, it means what it means, not what you think you can change it to mean to make your unsupported race-neurotic precious viewpoint valid.

Hint: Referring your interlocutors to sources written by hate-mongering crackpot bigots like Ignatiev to try to enforce the use of your very own private definitions for words is...well, crackpot.

The Irish at that time were not white.

Yes, they were. White trash, but white. If you'd actually done any substantial reading in sources from that era, instead of just being the credulous cognitive pump'n'dump for every "white guilt" hustler that you are, you'd know that.

You wouldn't, for example, be such a sucker for Ignatiev's selective misrepresentation of the various usages of the word "race" back then, and you'd recognize Ignatiev's twaddle for what it is. Geez, fls. Peggy McIntosh? Noel Ignatiev? P.T. Barnum, thou shouldst be living in this hour.

The Crack Emcee said...

AllenS,

Crack, why don't you think that the Althouse Woman doesn't climb all up and down your ass about this New Age thing you constantly want to rail about?

I'm black.

Youngblood,

They decide that the avowed Marxist-Leninist atheist wannabe revolutionary Jim Jones was really a fundamentalist Christian bible-thumper,... If you wonder how close President Obama actually was to Billy Ayers, or why St. Harvey Milk and Governor Jerry Brown hung out with Jim Jones, or what was up with Senator John Kerry's radical anti-war connections, you're a swiftboatin' racist piece of shit.

And I'm sure that you've seen what happens when you question the anti-rational and illiberal New Age underpinnings of post-modern America: you're just a crank and a hater.

Dude, you are too fucking timely.

FLS,

I knew maybe two truly religious parents in all my youth. The rest were trying to keep blacks out of their neighborhoods. Where I grew up half the mothers were just like Marge Schott.

Well, that explains a lot (I think.) Why don't you get over it now and join the rest of us?