Things You Need To Understand #4

White Privilege exists whether you know it, acknowledge it, or understand it. Any attempts to convince me that you, a white person, don’t have White Privilege will result in laughter, mockery, and possibly a beat down.

It is a given that, whenever I engage in debate with a white person and mention privilege, the white person in question gets all upset. “I do NOT have privilege!” they say, and then begin to tell the story of their poor, rural upbringing or something. I think this reaction stems from two sources. Firstly, White Liberal Guilt, which I have written about before. Secondly, a misunderstanding of the word ‘Privilege’.

When most people hear Privilege or are referred to as Privileged their mind immediately thinks of economic privilege: people who are rich, or are born rich, who have a leg up in society or get by because their parents have a famous name or something. Paris Hilton is an example of that kind of privileged person. Most white people are not like Paris Hilton, nor would I suggest that they are. That would be cruel.

What they don’t realize is that economic privilege is only one kind of privilege. When I speak of White Privilege, I am not speaking of economics (though they may come into play based on the individual), I am speaking of unearned advantages one has because one is born White. That’s not the only kind of Privilege there is, of course. Another I’m very familiar with is Heterosexual Privilege.

Many people who are smarter and more erudite than I have explained White Privilege, so I will turn this post over to their words. Excerpted of course, so be sure to click on the links and read the full text. This post is required reading for anyone who wishes to engage me in any debate on White Privilege or who insists that it doesn’t exist (or it doesn’t exist for you).


White Trash Blues: Class Privilege v. White Privilege

If you blog about white privilege, you’re probably sick to death of people playing the “white trash” card in your comments. Their argument usually goes something like this:

  • “Being white didn’t give me all these privileges you’re talking about.”
  • “I know plenty of [minority] people who are better off than I am.”
  • And the advanced version, which I’m guilty of using myself: “It’s really more about class than it’s about race.”

[...]
Yes, I have a legitimate grievance against the system. Yes, I’ve lost out on things because I didn’t have the $20 to invest or know the magic social password that would have marked me “normal” (read: “middle class, preferably white”). And yes, it hurts when you don’t fit in with your own race because of your class, and you don’t fit in with your class because of your race. It’s hard to see privilege around that stuff, but the examples are out there.
[...]
My approach has always been to look at all the types of privilege that affect an individual. Take me, for example. I have white privilege and heterosexual privilege and able-bodied privilege working for me; I have class privilege and male privilege working against me. In the case of poor whites, the class privilege often takes more from them than the white privilege gives them (i.e., the college admissions board prefer my skin color, but if I can’t somehow pay tuition, I’m not getting in). In my personal experience, white privilege may be a total bust, and I have the right to feel that way: I do not have the right to muddy a discussion of white privilege with all my anti-privileges. But before I learned to separate the types of privilege, I’m afraid I probably did that once or twice. Not in the “minorities have it so easy” tone that marks one type of troll; I just couldn’t figure out which part of this stuff I wasn’t getting.

Privilege Is Driving a Smooth Road And Not Even Knowing It

The more privileged you are, the easier it is to envision human beings as pure individuals, unconnected to other individuals in any way that matters.

It sometimes puzzles conservatives that progressives are so concerned with what people think. What is racism, sexism, homophobia, etc, after all, other than a way some people think about some other people? And as long as I’m free to pursue my own self-interest, what does it matter what others think of me?

For someone with a lot of privilege, the rational answer is, “it doesn’t matter at all.” The more privileged you are, the less other people’s thoughts count. You go into a store, and you buy what you want, or you don’t buy. You don’t have to worry about what the store clerks think of you – what could matter less?

To someone with a lot of privilege, what strangers think is irrelevant. To someone in a less privileged position, what strangers think of you determines what kind of access you get to the complex network of relationships that make up our society and our economy. When strangers often think less of you because of your sex or race, you have less access to the material benefits of our society and economy.

Of course, everyone – regardless of race and sex – will hit occasional bumps on the road. And everyone, white men included, has put out some sort of effort to get where they got. But when the folks on the smoother road go faster and further, let’s not pretend it’s because they’re better drivers.

White Whine: Reflections on the Brain-Rotting Properties of Privilege

To truly understand a nation, a culture, or its people, it helps to know what they take for granted.

After all, sometimes the things that go unspoken are more powerful than the spoken word, if for no other reason than the tendency of unspoken assumptions to reinforce core ways of thinking, feeling and acting, without ever having to be verbalized (and thus subjected to challenge) at all.

What’s more, when people take certain things for granted, anything that goes against the grain of what they perceive as “normal” will tend to stand out like a sore thumb, and invite a hostility that seems reasonable, at least to those dispensing it, precisely because their unspoken assumptions have gone uninterrogated for so long.

Thus, every February I encounter people who are apoplectic at the thought of Black History Month, and who insist with no sense of irony or misgiving that there should be no such thing, since, after all, there is no White History Month–a position to which they can only adhere because they have taken for granted that “American history” as told to them previously was comprehensive and accurate, as opposed to being largely the particular history of the dominant group.

In other words, the normalcy of the white narrative, which has rendered every month since they popped out of their momma’s wombs White History Month, escapes them, and makes the efforts of multiculturalists seem to be the unique break with an otherwise neutral color-blindness.

Race to Our Credit: Denial, Privilege and Life as a Majority

Sometimes it can be difficult, having a conversation with those whose political views are so diametrically opposed to one’s own.

But even more challenging, is having a discussion with someone who simply refuses to accept even the most basic elements of your worldview. At that point, disagreement is less about the specifics of one or another policy option, and more about the nature of social reality itself.

This is what it can be like sometimes, when trying to discuss the issue of white privilege with white people. Despite being an obvious institutionalized phenomenon to people of color and even some whites, white privilege is typically denied, and strongly, by most of us.

Denying one’s privileges is, of course, nothing if not logical. To admit that you receive such things is to acknowledge that you are, at some level, implicated in the process by which others are oppressed or discriminated against. It makes fairly moot the oft-heard defense that “I wasn’t around back then, and I never owned slaves, or killed any Indians,” or whatever.

If one has reaped the benefits of those past injustices (to say nothing of ongoing discrimination in the present) by being elevated, politically, economically and socially above persons of color, for example — which whites as a group surely have been thanks to enslavement, Indian genocide and Jim Crow — then whether or not one did the deed becomes largely a matter of irrelevance.

Of course, what is ultimately overlooked is that denial of one’s privilege itself manifests a form of privilege: namely, the privilege of being able to deny another person’s reality (a reality to which they speak regularly) and suffer no social consequence as a result.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group

I have often noticed men’s unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women’s statues, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can’t or won’t support the idea of lessening men’s. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women’s disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended.

As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.

I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life.

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

As I said, these are only excerpts. You really should read all of these pieces. And you really need to understand that you do have White Privilege if you are White. The question before you is: What are you going to do about it?


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95 Responses

  1. Thanks for this post. I had a conversation the other month with a guy who insisted that there was no male privilege, only, uhm, the opposite of disbenefit. Which was not privilege. I think. I was a little woozy at that point, having slammed my head into the keyboard so many times.

    One of my professors introduced white privilege this way:

    “In any situation where racism would harm or disadvantage a person of color, I am protected because I am white.”

    It helped when people started arguing that because they had less money than Oprah, white privilege did not exist.

  2. [...] What are you going to do? [...]

  3. “What are you going to do about it?”

    Indeed, that is the question. I lifted it out as part of my response on my own blog, but i’ll paraphrase here.

    One thing that the queer Christians are realizing is that winning over our denominations may not happen in the near future, and that the best thing to do with our time is to look at the structure of our own community, especially in regards to racial justice. The work of priviledge busting starts best close to home. Thank you for this challenge.

  4. I thought this was so interesting i linked to it and wrote about it my own blog. Now I’m trying to figure out what the heck a trackback is. Is it automatic? Help!

  5. I do know white privilege exists and that I benefit from it, I’m not quite sure how to deal with it, however. I am trying to avoid the “white liberal guilt” syndrome right now and to be aware when I am unconsciously acting on that privilege. It’s hard, it’s like the fish in the ocean asking “what is water?” It’s a training of one’s awareness.

    You are right though, when people hear privilege they think of some fabulously rich lifestyle, pool in the back yard, limosines and chauffers, servants brinigng them drinks on a silver platter. They don’t see that privilege is the everyday benefit they get by virtue of being white (or male, or heterosexual, and so on). They take it for granted.

    Oh but I should introduce myself – I found your blog through a link sausage that started with a trackback to my own blog, and I added you to my blogroll – is that okay? If not I will remove it.

  6. One thing that the queer Christians are realizing is that winning over our denominations may not happen in the near future, and that the best thing to do with our time is to look at the structure of our own community, especially in regards to racial justice. The work of priviledge busting starts best close to home. Thank you for this challenge.

    In my home city, the queer-inclusive activists, Christians in particular, are realizing that it’s very possible to structure services in order to help a wide variety of people. No oppression is exactly the same, but there’s a lot of intersection of need: a free/sliding-scale clinic, for example, is a great way to build an alliance.

  7. Sailorman: I don’t know if blogger does trackbacks. It doesn’t matter, usually I find those who’ve linked to me though my obsessive check of my blog stats ;)

    Piny: I put this post together in part because I was tired of having to explain privilege over and over in debates.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back is this sad, sorry post. Of course, he deleted all of my comments because I was being OHNOES! sexist and racist by pointing out that white men have White Privilege. Awww, poor baby. I weep for him. The Blog Police are on patrol.

    Sly: You’re quite welcome. And I hope you succeed in your goal. Being a Queer Christian can’t be easy (I slyly avoided it by becoming Pagan).

    Amananta: As I said on Sailorman’s blog, you’ve already done the first good thing and acknowledged that you have WP. After that, you just have to be mindful of the way it operates in life. That right there will lead you to actons and conversations that help to eliminate privilege one step at a time. But that first step is the big one – and there are so many who won’t take it.

  8. [...] White Privilege Existsexcellent excerpts on pieces about white privilege [...]

  9. When I was a young teenager I would have disagreed with this, because growing up white in a black neighborhood, I didn’t have many of the advantages McIntosh lists. I felt so persecuted! And yet the twenty-odd years of discomfort before I moved away had so little consequence on my life, my brother’s life. Now THAT’S white privilege: it doesn’t matter if people of color treat you poorly, even if you grow up with them! After I lived in other places I realized how incredibly privileged I was and always had been.

    I do think that the tendency of white people to live in places that exacerbate their white priviledge (ie in enclaves of whiteness) is a real problem. Most white people are guilty of this but white liberals in particular tick me off because they are my peers and they should know better. No, you are not solving the world’s problems by living in some kind of hippie, organic, attachment parenting, SAHM, homemade, anti-materialistic commune… you are choosing to live with other white people. The middle class’ interest in all of these things is directly tied to liesure and wealth, and liesure and wealth in this country == white people. Northampton, Mass and most places like it run around 2% black. Some “liberal” paradise.

  10. I have a weird relationship with white privilege: I’m a mixed-race Aboriginal girl who looks white. White people unconsciously expect me to share their privilege, which while invisible to them is damn obvious to me, and tend to get uncomfortable when I object. This usually leads to an argument in which said white people try to tell me that I’m actually white, whilst failing to see just how privileged one must be to insist you have a better idea of someone’s racial identity than they do.

    *stops typing to fume silently*

    OK, I’m good.

    Anyway, I’m linking to your post. So there!

  11. this is great! i hope you don’t mind, but i submitted it for the next Erase Racism Carnival (sokari may be contacting you about it). and i’m going to link to it from Ally Work, as well.

  12. [...] The Angry Black Woman has put together an incredible post about White Privilege (tho it could easily be extrapolated to all forms of institutionalized privilege) entitled Things You Need To Understand. [...]

  13. I don’t know, being white, male, hetrosexual living in the west doesn’t seem to curry favour with the blog police or anyone else around here.

  14. VeganKid – No, I don’t mind you suggesting it at all. I was wondering the other day if I could write an Erase Racism post, but I guess I already have. :) The discussion on your blog is very interesting, too.

  15. K.Tubby, are you interested in having an actual dialogue or just saying vaguely snarky things? I’ll assume the first and move on.

    The Blog Police aren’t real, honey!

    But yes, being white, male, and hetero doesn’t curry you favor here, and why should it? That’s a serious question.

    Also, just because this isn’t a comfortable space for YOU or any other htero white males doesn’t mean that you don’t have WP, it just means that this one, tiny space on the vast Internet on the vast Earth isn’t for you. Do you find that threatening?

  16. Hi This is an excellent post and I wish I had read it last week. I have included it on the ERC which will be on my blog on Wednesday 20th.
    Thanks

  17. Sokari – awesome! I’m honored to be included.

    K. Tubby – I just realized something… you’re making fun of me with that name, aren’t you? You’re trying to make the Angry Black Woman cry! That’s so 2nd grade, it’s cute. Except when it’s pathetic. aww!

  18. Hi, I stumbled over this way from ally work. May i re-post on livejournal (mine and in community)?

  19. thanks! :)

  20. Ok, I’m confused, under the threat of a beating, and an insult from an angry black woman..so i’ll try my best.

    I could just say: thanks for affirming the truth of white privledge.

    that would becowardly of me, a white dude, to give you the edited version instead of telling you what I think and whatnot, civilly of course.

    ok, ‘whites’ as a group in the USA exculde non-whites b/c that’s our way of running the show within ourselves, so I’d say that the systematic trend discribed by ‘white priv’ is more accurately discribed as it’s more like the the benefits of the ‘white’ club.

    SO, my question is this. as a poc (not speaking for others, of course), Do you want to get in the club, or burn it down?

  21. [...] I begin with two posts that reflect a discussion that has been taking place in the African blogosphere over the past 10 days around an African blogging conference in South Africa. White Privilege is the subject of The Angry Black Woman’s post “Things You Need to Understand”. White Privilege exists whether you know it, acknowledge it, or understand it. Any attempts to convince me that you, a white person, don’t have White Privilege will result in laughter, mockery, and possibly a beat down. [...]

  22. Thanks for blogging about this- white privilege so pervasive and so many seem blind to it, really drives me nuts.

    Como hexy I am also mixed race and can pass for white but am always hyper-aware que I can use this to great advantage…makes me really uncomfortable.

  23. I’d love one drop of evidence for anything that is being said here. You’re all engaging in a big orgy of assertions simply to make yourselves feel better.

    If anyone “needs to understand” anything, it’s the person who wrote this post. First of all, let’s call it what it is: racist. It is purely focused on race, dwells 100% assertions, no real argument, and then ends with the audacity to ask White America “What are you going to do about it?” On the contrary, what will Black America do about 70% of their babies born out of wedlock? What will Black America do about the high crime rate among them in comparison to their numbers? The HIV plague in their communities? The terrible public school system that traps kids into a 5th rate education (thanks to teacher unions)? The drugs pushed through their neighborhoods? But no. Rather than solve real problems, it’s alot easier to point a finger at that favorite bogeyman: White People!

    If you work hard, try to connect with others, and stay out of trouble, you can create your own privileges and opportunities. It’s difficult for anyone, and be prepared when things don’t work out as you wish they would. Stop making excuses for yourself or blaming on others and look in the mirror for once.

  24. Ya know, I find it entertaining that almost everone that’s taken my to task for the White Privilege thing has been male. I know that there are women out that that will argue it, too, but personally, it’s always the “White dude with the tiny violin playing because he didn’t get what he thought was due to him” that pulls out that Not Having Privilege bit.

  25. Mark: It’s late, I just got home, I will have time for a lengthy rebuttal tomorrow, but for now all i can say is:

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahaaaaa! omg, you’re so quaint in your ignorance! And look at the way he stomps his tiny foot! heheheheheheheeee Damn, considering what’s going on over in Monday Debate, this is particularly funny. LO fucking L, I say. Work hard… hehehehehe. All the blame lies with black people… hahahahahaha!

    Oh Mark, I swear, sometimes ignorance can be funny. But only at midnight when I am buzzed. g’night.

  26. I’d love one drop of evidence for anything that is being said here. You’re all engaging in a big orgy of assertions simply to make yourselves feel better.

    Girl where do you find these people? You know, I’m really starting to wonder if Terry Howcott wasnt on to something w/ her comment to Nubian a while back: that these people get so incredibly worked up because they simply cant do whatever they want, as they could have in the past.

  27. I guess I’m kinda rare, because I’ve always been aware of it. I’m one of those back-slapping, smiley irish guys. I’ve almost never seen a door closed to me.

    Naturally, I’ve had other challenges in my life, as we all have, but this one in particular is an artificial one. I heard a pretty good sermon at the 1st Unitarian Church this past Sunday. A new associate minister, who is of Indian descent, spoke of the cold shoulder she got from an older east Asian checkout clerk at a grocery. (“Your father from India? Huh.”)

    I mention this (and apologize, as I realize that I’m getting a bit wordy here) because it appears to me that this is not just a caucasian/african hetero/gay dichotomy, it’s an “us” and “them” thing. One of the first judgements we make on seeing someone is “like me” or “not like me”. This is one thing that we must all change, and fortunately it’s in the one place where we can change it – in ourselves. There’s no amount of laughter, mockery, or beat down that’s going to change someone else’s heart.

    But what we can do is to point it out, to educate. Some folks are a lost cause. There was an idiot at gay pride two or three years ago, carrying a video camera and wearing a tshirt that said “Jesus Hates Fags”. I walked up and said, “Did you know that you’re wearing a tshirt that says, ‘Jesus Hates’?”. He said “Thank You”. A guy behind me said to him “You’re a &*@#ing asshole”. He said “Thank You”.

    We can’t change that guy. We can’t, at most levels change anyone. But sometimes we can be in the right place at the right time and help someone to look into their own heart, help someone to see that they’re doing something they may not even have been aware they were doing.

    The “Jesus Hates” fellow was dedicatedly NOT looking into his heart on that day. Some folks here get defensive when you tell them there is such a thing as white privilege. That’s natural, but the trick is to disarm the defensiveness, not fan it. Yes, there’s white privilege, and no, that’s n ot your personal fault, because you’ve been unaware of it. But now that you are aware of it, what are you going to do?

    My answer is that I’m going to try my best not to perpetuate it. I’ll continue to broaden my definition of “us” and “like me” to include everyone (I’m admittedly very not perfect at this). I’ll not perceive others as a threat, absent actual evidence to the contrary – certainly not because they match a demographic preconception. Beyond that, I will continue to be a teacher. My kids are being taught that differences in ancestry and skin hue are just like differences in hair color. Differences in culture are wonderful (Zakir Hussein, Jujuba, my revered teacher Baba Olatunji and Jack Johnson are the music my girls listen to).

  28. Clampett said: ok, ‘whites’ as a group in the USA exculde non-whites b/c that’s our way of running the show within ourselves Do you not see something wrong with that? so I’d say that the systematic trend discribed by ‘white priv’ is more accurately discribed as it’s more like the the benefits of the ‘white’ club. Dude, what you just described IS white priv, just using different words. Or, is that what you’re saying? I don’t see how what you said is ‘more accurate’.

    SO, my question is this. as a poc (not speaking for others, of course), Do you want to get in the club, or burn it down? I want to eliminate the club, not necessarily the people in it. People shouldn’t have unearned advantages. It will always happen because we are human and we are not, as a race (the human one) enlightened. I should say, it will always happen until we all become enlightened. However, we can minimize the scope and breadth of the happening by eliminating the club.

  29. Delux: You know what? I don’t know. I assume there is some mass linking going on. or maybe people coming in from the Debate post, cuz this one has gotten a lot more attention since Monday. Or maybe there’s a white version of the Blog Police out there!

    Mark: I now have time for a more thoughtful response to you. You said: “I’d love one drop of evidence for anything that is being said here.” The evidence is your comment. That’s one of the best examples of rampant white privilege if I’ve ever seen one. You’ve got blaming the victim, the false assertion that ‘hard work is all anyone needs’, and charges of reverse racism. It’s classic and cliched. And full of crap.

  30. Dang – People often take me to task for taking an antagonistic stance in matters of race and in discussions, etc. You aren’t the first person to basically say that you catch more flies with honey. In essence, I agree that taking an agressive or antagonistic tone will not win many hearts or change many minds. You’re also right that some hearts and minds cannot be changed, and no beat down will change that.

    However, my primary goal is not to win hearts and change minds. I understand, now that I’ve come through many arguments, that people don’t change ingrained beliefs easily, and one discussion isn’t going to make that change I can’t change a worldview. At this point, all I’m interested in is getting my worldview out there. I can only represent me and mine. I can only reflect back when I get thrown at me. And what I get thrown at me is anger.

    This is the classic MLK vs. Malcolm X / Professor X vs. Magneto problem. Do you try to go the peaceable, reasonable route? Or do you go the militant, aggresive route? Which will bring about the better result? Many people say that agression is never the answer. Most Buddhists would agree. History seems to have borne this out since we credit MLK’s movement with our present state of racial ‘harmony’.

    If you take a closer look, you’ll see that non-agression had led to a false sense of progress. Because overt racism is almost gone, people seem to think that racism itself is gone. But it’s not, it’s just subtler. And we, as black people, are passive and allow this to continue because, for some, it’s way better than it used to be. I think Malcolm would see this current generation as a failure.

    The answer is not to take to the streets with guns and start killing white people. But the answer is also not to respond with passivity and try to reason white people into accepting our viewpoint. That will not work in the long run. What will work in the long run is creating a power for ourselves, and in order to do that, we have to be passionate about it. One form of passion is anger. That’s the path I have chosen. There are other paths, of course, but one goal. All paths have the potential to be useful.

    This is why I choose anger And this is why I choose not to hold every ignorant white man’s hand as I lead them through the forest of figuring out that they have white privilege. If they can’t figure that out from all the articles and essays out there about it, then they deserve to be laughed at, mocked, and some really need to be smacked.

  31. Thanks for that, ABW.

    I was trying to see where YOU are coming from by withholding value judgements and operating within a simplistic framework, no hard feelings.

    I come from a differing perspective, sort of, I don’t see whites being privledged, I see white personal racism as a means of avoiding the very real consequences of systematic racism, i.e Black’s sociologiocal tendency to be violent criminals, drug addicts, etc, which is what happens when barriers set up by systematic racism affect people. They respond with justifibly resentful&hateful attitudes and behaviors towards whites, just as whites (all are acting within a white supremacist framework) are justifibly afraid of blacks and at the same time feel guilty about what they have done…in so far that guilt has made them afraid….so it ain’t real guilt.

    But that’s just my take, and I don’t feel like being attacked by the blog police or anything, so don’t attack me if you disagree, please, just attack my position.

    cheers.

  32. clampett: So far no one has attacked you, as far as I can see.

    I also disagree with the notion that blacks have a sociological tendancy to be violent or drug addicts. I think that the human race has this tendancy, but it’s more visible in blacks because of a racist justice system and a racist social system that puts more blacks than whites in positions where they turn to vices such as drugs. I won’t deny that there are many black people out there doing this stuff, but I think that if the roles were reversed you’d see more whites committing crime and taking drugs because it’s not the race, it’s the system.

    There are far more whites doing drugs and committing crimes than we see in the news because the media is biased toward showcasing black offenders. And there are far fewer whites in jail because judges are easier on them. In other words, whites, as a whole, have just as much wrong with them as blacks, they just get punished for it less.

  33. [...] The Angry Black Woman: Things You Need to Understand (about white privilege) [...]

  34. I don’t think it’s true that African-Americans are more likely to be addicts, violent criminals, etc. They are more likely to be convicted of these things, for sure. If you read up in the criminology journals, you can get stats for these things.

    Prejudice of whites against Blacks is far more complex, and far more intricately intertwined with institutional racism than you appear to realize, Clampett. It’s not just a reaction to the fact that a less privileged class has been created, whose members are angry, etc. You have some reading in history and sociology to do yet.

  35. Zero, you are well skilled in the art of belittling.

    But I don’t need to read any secondary literature when the facts are right in my face:

    http://www.sentencingproject.org/pdfs/racialdisparity.pdf#search=%22incarceration%20rates%20race%22

    Yet again, in belittling me, zero, you furnish no statistics…even those necessary to back your theory of racist prosecution as the sole factor in Black Americans overrepresentation in the CJ system.

    For example, note this platitude; pegged on the very theory you evoke:

    “Whites, as a whole, have just as much wrong with them as blacks, they just get punished for it less.”

    In saying that, ABW is really saying that whites have more ‘wrong’ in so far they act in a racist fashion..in this case, by punishing blacks more (~26 times more, as I will demonstrate) for acting the same way as whites.

    But, Blacks don’t act in the same way (statistically), Zero.

    That is what y’all hide and in doing so, yall act as (in your case self-immolating) antianglo lairs.

    The national ratio of blacks outnumbering whites in Prisons and jails is 6 to 1. now, Considering the white majority (whites being ~65-70% & blacks being ~15%) (4.3 to 1), the CJ system (being an organ of white supremacist society, as you claim) would, under the theory of racist arrest & prosecution, have to be ~26 times more likely to arrest & prosecute a black criminal than a white one (6×4.3=25.8), which is simply antianglo drivel that I challenge on the basis that it’s improvable nonsense calculated to make the BS existential impression that whites are ~26 times more evil than blacks and that, indeed, the plight of blacks is due to the hidden personal and consequential systematic racism of whites.

    But, If you looked a little bit closer, you’d see that people who are unjustly disadvantaged have a tendency towards anomie.

    In this case, blacks are among those who are unjustly disadvantaged and so they (statistically) have a higher tendency towards criminal thought and behavior, a sordid fact that justifies things like racial profiling.

    So, you have a point about racial profiling, arrests and prosecution…but the conditions creating those actions are largely due to the Anomie stemming from the disadvantaged position that Black Americans have been placed by a deeply racist nation.

    So, in sum: White racism, systematic and personal ( aka ‘the man’) is not the only factor here. Blacks, as actors in a system that hurts them, tend to get angry. Some push back against the system and each other and in turn are arrested and prosecuted under the rule of law.

  36. Well, a big part of freedom & respect is “you do yours, I’ll do mine”. We see the same end; hopefully, between us, we make progress.

    Certainly we agree that we *shouldn’t* have to do this at all. I’ve run for office, and one extemperaneous speech I gave started, and refrained, with “how did we get _here_?”. It’s wrong that in most situations, I find less resistance than a non-european would. Life’s friggin’ hard. Lovely, but hard. Why do we make each other swallow an ounce more shit than we have to?

    I hope that you get people to think. I hope that you’re effective, because the cause is, obviously, just.

    But I also hope that you won’t refuse to hold someone’s hand, if that’s all that they need to see light. Sure, some need a liberally applied smacking. But most of those are lost causes.

    I like to think of the rest as developmentally delayed. They just need some support to get there.Most of us are in this category, to varying degrees. A week or so ago, someone was driving in a manner that just annoyed me (I forget the particulars now). When I saw her, it was an East Asian woman in her 50′s or 60′s. I immediately categorized her in a way that reinforced a stereotype. I recognize that the fault is in myself; I’m not sure that a smackdown or even a vigorous in my face would speed me along. I’m not ruling it out, though…

  37. I don’t have time to go into details because I’m off to work, but I do want to say one thing: clampett, if you don’t stop putting words in my mouth, I will smack you.

    “Whites, as a whole, have just as much wrong with them as blacks, they just get punished for it less.” DOES NOT MEAN “whites have more ‘wrong’ in so far they act in a racist fashion”

    It means exactly what I said: white people and black people have just as muc wrong with them as the other. Because we’re all fucking human and humans are messed up creatures sometimes. It’s just that some humans get smacked less for their messed up-ness.

    We can discuss this further, but I will not allow you to tell me or anyone else that what I meant is something different from what I said.

    Oh, and you wanted statistics: Prison Sentencing Study: Whites, Women, Non-Poor, and U.S. Citizens Are Given Lighter Sentences

  38. ABW, I apologise for misexpressing your sentiments.

    Perhaps replacing nebulous moral labels (‘wrong’ messed-up’) with labels discriptive of behavior, such as ‘crime’… would help.

    As you know, besides it’s many isms, a major problem with the c’j’ system is that crime and morality are divorced.

    Under the law, Property is more important than human life.

    for example:

    It’s totally legal to drive somebody to suicide via speech, but you get a year in jail for allowing a poor person in need to use your transit card.

    (also, I’m immune to smacking although my position is not.)

    On your stats, the 8-7% bias in sentencing does not SOLELY explain black overrepresentation in jails and prisons.

    I’m observing an america where blacks outnumber whites 6 to 1 in Jails and Prisons wheras whites outneumber blacks ~5 to 1 in society and so that 7-8% bias would not solely explain the overwhelming majority of cases.

  39. I need to elaborate:

    “Whites, as a whole, have just as much wrong with them as blacks, they just get punished for it less.” DOES NOT MEAN “whites have more ‘wrong’ in so far they act in a racist fashion”

    so, according to you, there’s nothing wrong with acting on racism from a position of power?

    ok, I agree that race has nothing to do with a person’s morality, if that’s what you mean.

    I’m pointing out that American society and her system of government are basically based on ‘white racism’ (I’d call it a system of Aged Rich White Christian exceptionalism and supremacy, but whatever, the terms describe the same thing, I guess) spanning from pre-revolutionary British North America to today’s Administration.

    Ok, to state an element I left out:

    The group that is in power has set up an interlocking series of criminalizations that serves to force the enemies of their unjust system and administration into disenfranchisement, whether they be black, white, yellow, young old, Muslim, Christian, Male, female….whatever. too bad for the researcher, that series of unjust criminializations charades and cloaks itself within a system that SHOULD and DOES go after just causes, such as violations of another’s life liberty and or property.

    But, just as the Pharisees criminalized Jesus, the modern Pharisees of the American Empire criminalize those who threaten their injustice, and do so under the cloak of doing justice…which complicates things a lot and makes it nearly impossible to see who is in the CJ system because they hurt other people, and who is in the CJ system because the hurt the injustice of the status quo.

    Thoughts?

  40. Clampett, disagreeing, or saying your information seems to be incomplete, is not belittling.

    You, however, are being manipulative in this thread, in that you are attempting to put words into the mouths of other commentators.
    The amount of time and attention it would take to unpack all of what you say would be huge. Unless I am mistaken, you seem to expect this. That feeling of entitlement is
    part of white privilege / male privilege.

    Anyway: logic + historical consciousness = greater clarity.

    This statement:

    White racism, systematic and personal (aka ‘the man’) is not the only factor here. Blacks, as actors in a system that hurts them, tend to get angry. Some push back against the system and each other and in turn are arrested and prosecuted under the rule of law

    does in fact speak to some aspects of the current antagonism between blacks and whites. Another form of white fear (big in the 19th century) was that the slaves would rise up as they had in Haiti. And on, and on.

    However, the fact that individual white people may be afraid of Black people because of what ‘the system’ does to Black people does not justify prejudice.

    I suppose we can say to the extent that white fear is justified by legitimate Black rage, the existence of that white fear is a symptom of white supremacy. A simpler and more direct way to put it is, white fear is a key element in white supremacy. It is one of the things which keeps the system going, just as fear of ‘terrorists’ has some Americans supporting our current activities in the Middle East. But these are not new insights.

  41. yeah…. okay, Clampett? You’re on moderation. This isn’t a space where your white priv will be allowed to flourish, nor will I allow you to hijack this thread and make it all about you.

  42. Perhaps you have answered this already, but I’d like to hear again you opinion of how one can use white privilege to emilinate white privilege. Being queer I do find myself occasionally disadvantaged, but realize that it in no way takes away from the sad fact that I am a white male.

    How can I use this power for good? How can I work to support the structuring of other’s privileges, and try to eliminate my own without, undermining what those in the underprivileged groups are trying to do themselves?

  43. This post is so splendid that I’m going to add your blog to my blogroll and then link to this post on my blogroll, as well. This is meat-and-potatoes stuff, for sure. Thank you.

  44. [...] Things You Need To Understand #4 « The Angry Black Woman [...]

  45. Please don’t beat me down, Angry Black Woman. I’m a white man but I agree with you. In fact, I’ve posted similar arguments on my site at http://www.bluecorncomics.com/racerpt.htm#systemic. I’ll add your excellent set of quotations to the information there.

  46. White privilege does exist worldwide, absolutely. The very concept of race (to describe what modern science has now shown us to be genetic phenotypes caused by human migration over the last 100,000 years or so) was invented by white European males to place themselves at the top and people of color at the bottom. Regardless of the fact that race, as a concept, is a total fallacy, it is the perception of race and the history of white oppression (I mean here, oppression directed towards people of color from whites) that has led us to the righteous anger that Angry Black Woman espouses. I don’t blame her at all. If anything, I find she is often nicer and more understanding than she needs to be, especially in the face of such ridiculous nonsense often spoken by white males. While I am a sane individual, I have often felt extreme self-hatred for being white and male. I have often felt, and sometimes still feel, that nothing I do or say can ever make up for the centuries of injustice that has preceded me. The fact that I lived my life as an ardent anti-racist is hopefully a step in the right direction, but I cannot erase racism alone. Despite my own feeling of self-hatred and defeat, I am not going to change my principals or my convictions. I am still going to try to do the right thing, even when I am met by derision, hatred and anger. I don’t blame any person of color for hating me for being white, but I will never return the hate in kind. Thank you.

  47. I agree with you sistah girl, but now it’s time to move on from it–meaning that(and I see you addressed this above) we (women of color) need to advocate on the behalf of the disenfranchised…and somehow, someway, try to form solidarity in the process. It may seem like a baffeling concept to even consider trying to form solidarity with those who have an obvious “advantage” in this society. However, I think the worst thing we can do to ourselves and (to our future generations) is to reinforce binaries and divisions. I agree too that we need to start with our communities…but we also need to focus on how we can empower ourselves instead of continuing on to engage in negative discourse. It’s a daunting task..I know…but it has to start somewhere..

  48. [...] As a bonus, you can play Spot the Racism in the YouTube comments. Besides the really obvious instances, look for the typical “double standards” straw man argument. (If you think you may be missing something, chances are you’re white. Hey, lucky you! But here are some things you need to understand.) [...]

  49. Hey not_matt,

    How can one cure people when they don’t know they have a problem?

    How can you change a system when people are unable to conceptualize that very system?

    How is anything accomplished when people will fight to defend this system?

    I feel the vast majority of Americans are brainwashed, and in more ways than one.

    I suggest watching the first Matrix, and dissecting it in a global context-emphasis on American brainwashing, and white supremacy in particular.

    Sometimes, I’m overhelmed at- not the white supremacy (whiteness always being “normal”)per se- but the mindless adherents to it. People of all colors mindlessly accept white superiority. It is psychological, and they do it on que. Its like breathing.

    I see no end in sight. Even if western culture and institutions were destroyed (which is a must to end this) there would still be people of color still conforming to it.

    Utimately, it will destroy itself. The “West” will be consumed by the evil it created. You can be quite certain about that.

    What can you do? Help it along that path to self-destruction.

    email me

    culbrethestee@yahoo.com

  50. not_matt: Ally Work is a great starting point for learning how to deal properly with one’s own privilege.

    There may also be some helpful tips in my How to be a Real Nice Guy post (despite the name it’s not just about male privilege, but privilege in general).

  51. not_Matt Says:
    October 29th, 2006 at 5:57 am
    Perhaps you have answered this already, but I’d like to hear again you opinion of how one can use white privilege to eliminate white privilege. Being queer I do find myself occasionally disadvantaged, but realize that it in no way takes away from the sad fact that I am a white male.

    How can I use this power for good? How can I work to support the structuring of other’s privileges, and try to eliminate my own without, undermining what those in the underprivileged groups are trying to do themselves?

    I would be very happy to give this white male a positive, constructive use for his powers that will not undermine the underprivileged.

    not_matt
    Whenever you are confronted with a situation where other white males are making disparaging remarks about women, any person of color, poor people, the elderly, the disabled, and foreigners, simply stand up and say “you are full of shit motherfucker.”

  52. #51) I do not have to be aware that #1-50 ever existed.

    Interesting and thanks. Oh, and I like angry women, heh.

  53. i think u certainly have answered this question ur self, some of the points u make are damb ryt, to b honest i wish every 1 wud stop wid da race card ‘its coz im black’ ‘its coz im assian’ ‘its coz im white’ at the end of the day wr all made of the same thing ppl need 2 get that the government r as much 2 blame as any 1 else i think it is desgustin that race is an issue in this socioty

  54. originaldolly:

    What’re you, 12?

  55. [...] Gender , Society & Culture  I recently realized that while I have an excellent post on White Privilege, I don’t have one specifically about Male Privilege. While it’s true that most any [...]

  56. [...] Things You Need to Understand #4, from The Angry Black Woman. [...]

  57. [...] work for others.” (from Blind Privilege) • (just added) ABW’s Male Privilege and White Privilege [...]

  58. [...] again to this, because I think it needs to get around: Things You Need to Understand (Angry Black [...]

  59. Thank you SO much for this collection of excerpts. I have to admit, I’m one of those ‘stupid white girls’ who didn’t get it, and I’m just now starting to learn what the definition of ‘privilege’ really is. I came across this site recently http://academic.udayton.edu/race/01race/Whiteness00.htm and it hit me like a slap in the face. The past few days I’ve probably done at least 12 hours of reading on this subject…and I’m bringing it up to friends. Isn’t it ironic how it’s my white male friends who want to debate and disagree, while my white female friends are more open to learning more, and my black female friends are pretty much like “yeah well no shit sister where have you been”

    You ask me what we’re going to do about it? I honestly can’t answer that – I don’t even know where to *begin* besides shaping my own beliefs and speaking up when I hear someone else deny that racism still exists. Other than that…I just started realizing this *is* a problem so it would be a bit presumptuous for me to say I have all the answers…

    I’m going to check out the rest of your site though….You might be an Angry Black Woman but you’re a Brilliant one as well ;-)

  60. Hmm…What am I going to do about it? Probably nothing. Just being honest here. As I’m sure many of the people on here won’t do anything. What are you going to do about it ABW? Surely writing a blog won’t have any significant impact on race relations.

    I noticed in the comments that you think that the racist social system makes black people turn to vices such as drugs and violence. I am tired of this excuse of “blaming whitey for our problems”. Did white people strap them down and force a heroin injection into their veins? No. People have a choice. Yes, growing up in the projects will make things harder. But one of my teachers said: “Don’t let circumstances define who you are.” So even if black people are more exposed to drugs and violence more so than whites, they still have a choice of rejecting it. I have heard countless rags to riches stories of people resisting the pressures of the ghetto and rising up to becoming power players in society (and no…I’m not talking about rappers).

    White Privilege definitely exists, but so does Black Privilege. You may be more likely to get a job than me, simply because you are black. Lots of companies are keen on the idea of making themselves look “diverse”. (“Hey, look! We’re not racist! We hired black people! Look how accepting we are!”).

    Black people can say offensive things about Whites with no consequences (“cracka”), but if a White person even whispers the N word, it’s a BIG deal.

    Theres double standards for everyone and privileges for everyone.

    Anyway, I can already see your reply (“Typical White person, just doesn’t get it”). Whatever, blame it on my White privilege or White conditioning. I think I made some pretty valid points.

  61. *cries because we have the same name*

    Hey Erica-

    Look, the reason that many black people here would feel that way because without fail you managed to throw out the most common rebuttals/complaints every white person has said at us. And each and every one thinks they’re throwing out a gold nugget of knowledge that Black America *somehow* didn’t know about. Seriously, us being lazy and cursing affirmative action is so 1990s. The average debater on our side has been addressed all you said above. Meaning you’ve not read up on the issues. Remotely. And that you know less than 5 black people to any significant extent.

    I’ve said those responses to this sophistry so many times . . . if you’re up to an actual debate you can easily find the means to all of your answers to research and respond against.

    Now, if you go hear our side of the story and are still not convinced (which you certainly may not be), then please, come back with your Advanced White People’s Angry Responses. Many have moved passed you.

    Just one thing that continues to irk me: why do white people think it’s a fair trade off to say racial terms with fair/better treatment and jobs. Because I’ll certainly trade with you.

    And for the last time: Affirmative Action is grossly overrated. Ironically Erica it’s helping you out more than any Black person (AA mainly helps out white women). So you’d get the job before me.

    We’re not sexist; we’re hiring (of course white) women! :D

  62. Hey Erica,

    Alright, fair enough. You are right, about me knowing less than five black people (lol, was it really that obvious?). Though, if I did know any black people significantly, I doubt that we would talk about these issues. I don’t have a choice though, I live in Saskatoon, SK, Canada. Predominantly white. Anyway, I thought I should make it clear that I wasn’t denying the racist social/justice system. Just saying that I was tired of the certain people in the black community who list white people as one of the things on why their lives didn’t turn out so well.

    “Just one thing that continues to irk me: why do white people think it’s a fair trade off to say racial terms with fair/better treatment and jobs. Because I’ll certainly trade with you.”

    Okay, I did not say that it was a fair trade at all! I mentioned those two things separately. I put them in separate paragraphs. Better treatment at jobs is definitely more of an issue than racial terms. And on a side note… I don’t think you would want to trade with me, not yet at least. I’m still in high school, so I work at a minimum wage job.

    Anyway, looking back at my comment, I did sound kind of harsh/ignorant. I’ll blame it on my PMS and sleep deprivation.

    One thing I know for sure is that racism will never go away because people consider different things to be racist.

    ((and I actually did read up on the issues, if you consider wikipedia as a valid source)) :)

  63. What Clampet said about the “White Club”, try to join or burn it down was interesting.. What does it take to join this club? White people ACT nice and shit, but that shit is mostly fake. I’m Filipino+White and i kinda see what you’re talking about, but If we join this club it’s like telling you all that it’s okay to do what you’re doing.. But it’s not. Now don’t get it twisted, I’m not some urban wigger dickriding blacks.. not at all. I get in where i fit in with my Gureillapino and Latino partners.. But i don’t hate white people either, i just hate when they look at you like they’re “superior”.

    Watch that movie Black Mama, White Mama to get an idea of how white people and black people see my people..

    Respect my club and we’ll respect yours..

  64. ABW,

    “What am I going to do about it?” Splendid question! This white man is going to attempt address it.

    First, let me say that this question is critical to white men who can see the underlying structure of privilege in their lives AND those same white men whose beliefs in right and wrong result in purposeful action.

    How many white men in the U.S. majoring in Sociology, History, Education, or Political Science have studied these issues of racism, class, sexism, and social stratification but quickly lose sight of them upon graduation and the first job offer? How many well-intentioned white men write passionate law school entrance essays on their desire to serve underprivileged people only to go into corporate law upon graduation? (Because of crushing debt, the lure of the green back, or a combination of both.) Yes, too many.

    May I be so bold as to suggest that the opposite of caring is not hatred? It is apathy.
    And when it comes to matters or race, class, and sexism, apathy coupled with what I call aggressive ignorance abounds among white men in the U.S.

    ABW, you know all this as well, if not better, than I do. But, what I have described above is not even the worst of conditions.

    What I consider to be the worst condition that pervades the lives of a growing number of white men is one where we are faced with clear, unequivocal, unambiguous proof of inequalities in race, class, and sex (or any other social/economic horror) and simply walk on unmoved and unaffected.

    What I am talking about is beyond the white apathy and idiotic arguments. And unless you spend a lot of time in the company of many white men this will not be that obvious: It is the mindset that no longer desires to raise important questions about how we should relate to each other or how should we uncover our purpose for living? It is the disposition of heart that causes one to do nothing more than cast a blank stare at the sight of thousands in New Orleans who suffered (and still suffer) after Katrina, and a yawn at the unfolding story in Jena, Louisiana. It is the belief that you, ABW, would be doing us a favor by loading a weapon and waxing us, not to mention the white men who work in Mortuaries and look at the corpses with envy. The suicide statistics on white men in the U.S. is just one of many indicators of what I am talking about.

    What I have described above is what could be called CASUAL NIHILISM. There is a passage in the New Testament of the Bible that warns against living in hypocrisy and lies because it leads to “seared conscience”. ( 1 Timothy, I believe). From my view, that is a conscience absorbs hypocrisy and lies to the point that one becomes incapable of responding to joy or suffering, or not being able to function in relationships. I can elaborate much more heavily on this, but I think I have made my point.

    Yes, the level of privilege we have been born into becomes a curse when it is not appropriated responsibly, compassionately, and discretely. It is been whimsically noted by people of color that many white men have no “flavor” or “soul”. Well, that whimsical remark has become quite prophetic. One black comedian (Chris Rock, perhaps? ) once asked, “Why do white men like to play with death so much?” I thinks he revealed something about the condition of white men by simply raising that question. Toni Morrison hits on these themes in some of her writing and poetry as well.

    Back to your question – What am I going to do about it?

    Understanding and knowing that I have been born and raised in a position of privilege in U.S. society, my hope and prayer is that I can live responsibly and with compassion for others. That I would be alert enough to seize opportunities to meaningfully invest in others and teach my three children to do the same by modeling it.

    That I would become angered not at incovenience, but at injustice.

    That I would not grow cold or cynical…or worse, unfeeling. That I would remain vigilant against the onslaught of skewed messages and mindless consumption that come from every direction. That I would maintain a sober mind and a tender & teachable heart while interacting with others different from myself.

    Yours,

    Adam

  65. I really enjoyed your perspective and linked to you as a resource for my post on white privilege at thedandelionpostings.blogspot.com

  66. I wish I could explain about the machine we live in better then perhaps you would see that it’s not white privilege bit social rewards that drive the system. Yes whites prefer to see whites succeed but that is only because they don’t think blacks deserve it because of the childish way they demand rights and privileges. The machine dictates we earn rights and rewards and everyone can do it but not as easily as whites can because they are taught from birth to succeed just as the Japanese are taught. Asians have a higher level of achievement than whites do and a greater hatred of blacks than other race on earth does but that is because they see blacks as a disease that must not be allowed to infect their machine whereas whites see blacks as a cancer and try to find a cure to get rid of them (AIDS, crack, etc) but then Asians don’t live in a society where their commander in chief president can be murdered in plain sight and the suspects get away scot free.I don’t know about you but I would rather be part of that power rather than an enemy of it.

  67. ^^^ *sigh* happy Monday, all!

  68. As a white person, I feel contact shame.

    “It’s not racism, it’s just that whites don’t think blacks deserve success and see them as a cancer. Also, all Asians are the same. And they hate blacks even more than I do. So that’s OK!”

  69. S tht’s wht mn…..y nd t rd mr nd trvl……’v bn t Jpn nd ws trtd msrbl t th pnt whr ws ngr t th ppl…..sr thr r nc ppl vrywhr bt n whl thr tttd s jpns r nthng. Th Krns r th sm w s r th Chns. Jst wtch n kng f mv st n th ‘s nd th lwys dpct th rcsm.Brc L spk f t nd prtryd t n mvs. D y rll thnk blcks cld gt w wth th crp th pll n n f th sn cntrs? Np….n’t gnn hppn bcs y wld b n th frst pln t f thr cntr. ‘m nt syng rcsm s k…. knw m glt t crtn xtnt bt whn y spk yr mnd t s th frst clb t f th blck prsn’s bg t ht t wth. Wh d y gt ngr whn s y r rspnsbl fr th drgs cmng nt m cntr whn th crm stts shw blck gng bngrs r th dlrs. lvd n Sdbr fr fw yr whch s lk lvng mls tsd ls vgs n th dsrt…..sddnl n yr crck shwd p n th strts. Thr ws tn blck cmmnt thr bcs f th cld nd rmtnss. Sddnl thr r blck gng bngrs stndng n th strt crnrs vrywhr nd th plc frc dbls n sz t ccmmdt th cncr clld blck crm.Th wht bkrs wh sd t dl drgs r gn…….thr gngs dsmntld b plc nd nfrmnts nd g. mgn gng t th nrth pl nd stndng thr s blck g dlng crck. Ths hs gn bynd rcsm….ths s ht nd ngr ppl r flng fr ll blcks bcs th dn’t spk p nd hlp th plc. Th hd nd tch thr kds nt t trst wht ppl…..yh rght…..

  70. By the way….what is contact shame….prhps y cn xpln t m kds wh blck ppl hv spt n thm nd clld thm hlf brds nd thr rplsv nms….tll thm wh wh ppl kck thm nd hrt thm wth wrds…..ll bcs m wf s Jmcn nd wr mrrd ch thr wth lv nd r tryng t rs fml. Tll thm fr m wll y?, bcs m trd f mkng xcss fr ll f y nd y bld bd bhvr.

  71. tl;dr but I’m gonna have some fun, anyway..

    See that’s what I mean…..you need to read more and travel……

    Thanks for assuming that we aren’t well-read and don’t travel. [/sarcasm] <– has a personal library of over 200 books, has lived in Japan for 4 years, and vacationed in S.Korea.

    I’ve been to Japan and was treated miserably to the point where I was angry at the people…..sure there are nice people everywhere but on a whole their attitude is japanese or nothing.

    Maybe if you weren’t such an entitlement prick these things won’t happen to you.

    My experience in foreign countries was always lovely.

    The Koreans are the same way as are the Chinese. Just watch any kung fu movie set in the 1800’s and they always depict the racism.

    Addendum to previous comment: Maybe if you didn’t base your ideas about people on what you see you seen in movies, your experience would’ve been better.

    Do you really think blacks could get away with the crap they pull in any of the asian countries? Nope….ain’t gonna happen because you would be on the first plane out of their country.

    And all of their homegrown miscreants get a pat on a head and a lolly?

    *hee-hee!…I used “miscreant”!

    Why do you get angry when I say you are responsible for the drugs coming into my country when the crime stats show black gang bangers are the dealers.

    First clue: “my country

    Ever seen statistics of people arrested for drug dealing and those convicted of the same crime. 2nd clue: It’s not because they were “innocent”.

    So go ahead, bring skin color into it…..but first look into your prisons, ghettos and crack houses……look at the color of the face that robs you, deals drugs to your kids and destroys your community…

    Let’s backtrack a moment, shall we?

    I’m not saying racism is okay…

    O rly?

    stop waving the “we was slaves once” flag and start waving the “we are Americans” flag and show the bastards that you are worth more than a passing mention in the guns and gangs section of the newspaper.

    “Damn, negroes! It’s all your fault your ancestors were dragged thousands of miles away from their homes, raped, had your families separated with the bang of an auction gavel, forced to live through years of Jim Crow laws and the resulting discrimination practices that continue to this day…

    “Uh, waitaminute…”

    …but having been there and seen how japanese people treat other races…

    One more time in slow motion please:

    I’m not saying racism is okay…

    Your wife and children have my deepest sympathies….

    …For having to live with an asshole like you.

  72. Damn. Just. Damn.

    I’m with Angel H., I truly truly feel sorry for you wife and kids. -.o

  73. We’ve come to that time in the festivities when Brett has said enough racist crap to be put on moderation. Everyone cheer! yaaaaaaaaaay! I am disemvoweling his post because it’s just a long racist rant, but Angel did such a good job poking holes in it!

    Also, Brett: “By the way….what is contact shame”

    Contact shame is the shame one feels when a person (like you) enters a space (like this) and says truly disgusting and shameful things (as you did) and makes the non-crazy people in that space (like us) feel dirtier just by having you around.

    Also, I think Veronica was specifically referring to the fact that you’re SO not a credit to your race. And anyone reading your words might rightfully take away from them that “white people are crazy”, thus negatively impacting how they interact with Veronica, who is so very not crazy. You’re tainting all of your good, white brethren & sisteren here, dude. Might want to think about how your words will make THEM look before you open your mouth–excuse me, place fingers at keys–again.

  74. Hmm.. something’s up with wordpress this morning, so the disemvoweling will have to wait. Hopefully the moderation took.

  75. “What are you going to do about it?”

    What would you do about it if positions were reversed?

  76. Fr s lng s cntrvrss nvlvng rc hv bn sbjcts f dbt, lbrls hv trd t crcmscrb dscssns f rcl sss b dclrng thr ppnnts’ bst rgmnts t-f-bnds. Lbrls hv trd t cntrl dscssns b frmng th rls n sch w s t rndr thr ppnnts’ vws ndmssbl n ccnt f “ffnsvnss.” Fcts r fcts. Blcks r, nd lwys hv bn, mr vlnt, prmtv nd prn t crm. PRD. WHTVR th gddmn rsn. n cld rg tht ‘wht sct’ xsts t prvnt r wn gncd t yr hnds, Y hv yr xcss, nd nw, w’ll hv rs. f y N****S nsst n th blmng dlg, y’r rll gvng s mdrts n chc bt t s th ngtvt f wht trl brns n yr drk hrts. ‘m sck f blcks cmplnng t s t “thnk bt dth vr tm wlk tsd” -bcs thr r blcks t thr- thnk bt t t nd yr dsmssl f m frs nl spprts m rgmnt. Blcks r chldrn tht nvr mtr. -ngr Wht Mn

  77. Blacks are, and always have been, more violent, primitive and prone to crime.

    Dude, that’s your “best” argument? Racist bullshit straight out of Heart of Darkness that ignores every single bit of historical evidence? You must know fuck-all about white history if you’re gonna claim that whites are less violent, primitive, and prone to crime. But hey, if that’s the best you can do, I guess anti-racists can take heart.

  78. Dear Truth & Logic,

    You’ve displayed neither in your comments here. In fact, you’ve revealed yourself to be a bigoted, racist, complete asshole. Check the Rules link above, man. That kind of language gets you banned.Thus, you are banned. I’m sure you’ll just chalk it up to this bullshit:

    Liberals have tried to control discussions by framing the rules in such a way as to render their opponents’ views inadmissible on account of “offensiveness.”

    Well, guess what, offensive language is not admissible as anything but the rantings of offensive people. Why would anyone, liberal or conservative, engage with an offensive, prejudiced jerk? I certainly wouldn’t, and won’t. Goodbye.

  79. I am someone for whom white privilege was a bust because class privilege (or more accurately, the lack thereof) took far more away from me than white privilege gave me. However, that does not entitle me (or any other poor white person) to tell blacks that they don’t suffer injustices due to discrimination and ongoing racism in this country. Injustices suffered by poor whites are NOT an excuse to invalidate the injustices suffered by others. I think we really need to be clear on that.

    Yes, there are poor whites who have been, and who continue to be socially and economically left out. In fact, most of the poor in this country are white. Those of us who are poor whites are not even acknowledged by members of our race who are better off. They refer to us as “trailer trash” , as ‘white trash.” Is that not all the more reason why poor whites who are disenfranchised should have respect and understanding for the struggles of blacks when we are both often beaten down by the same oppressor: the rich whites?

    This is why I feel more like a “sista” than a “cracker”. As such, I am sorely disappointed in those who wish to cite examples of classism in order to dismiss the very real problems of racism. Please do not confuse the issues.

  80. Hey Jacqueline-
    However, the issues of race and socioeconomic status (and gender and sexual orientation for that matter) cannot be viewed by alone. All of these dimensions intersect and affect the others. That’s precisely why they are so difficult to talk about and should be talked together.

    I do disagree with your statement that you, as a white person of lower economic status, have not seen any benefits of white privilege. Yes, there is a pecking order to the benefits of white privilege, and those with more economic means are at the top. But all whites do benefit from being white, though sometimes in different ways.

    I resently read a book that I would recommend which discusses whiteness and lower socioeconomic status: Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness by Matt Fray (2006). For those who are familiar with Omi and Winnant, Fray is a pupil of theirs. This book traces the origin of “white trash” and examines the category of whiteness amongst white Americans of lower economic status throughout history.

  81. I have no idea what to do about my white privilige. I know it exists, I know it is wrong…but I don’t know how to reverse it. There has to be some action that is more productive than feeling guilty. Ideas?

  82. re: olympia

    gosh, if ONLY there were resources out there to help white people! if only someone, somewhere, had worked to combat racism before!

  83. Olympia,

    On a personal level, just be a good ally in your life. When you see or hear instances of prejudice, speak up and don’t stay silent. be an example to people you know. If you have kids, teach them what popular culture won’t about racism.

    On a larger level, get involved in activism where possible. Donate to or volunteer for organizations who are doing anti-racist work.

    It won’t solve every problem, but it will be doing something :)

  84. At this point, I am only interested in getting my worldview out there.(Or something to that effect>)

    Exactly!

  85. [...] white are obvious. And if they aren’t, please go get educated about it, okay? Start here and here. And order a copy of Uprooting Racism by Paul [...]

  86. [...] insensitivity that exist in many who call themselves feminists*. Maybe while I was checking my white privilege I should have been checking my progressive privilege as well. There are so many women treating race [...]

  87. When Peggy McIntosh introduced this concept, the year was 1988. The world of 1988 is very different from the world of 2008, and times have changed. We have a black president running for office for god’s sake, and he probably will win. He is obviously the best candidate.

    In my opinion, the white privilege rhetoric actually increases racism because people who are strongly identified as whites feel blamed, and get angry and defensive because it is a philosophy which says that just by existing, they are contributing unknowingly to the suffering of others. This is the true reason for resistance to this topic. if it does not increase racism, it increases guilt. Looking at my own life, I feel that adding an adjective to privelege like “white” is impossible beyond an individual encounter. Do I have my nice computer because I am white? maybe. But I got it from my father. He is well to do. Is he well to do because he is white or because he is one of the top in his field? Is he one of the top in his field because he got a good edjucation? maybe. did he get a good edjucation because he is white or because his father was a professor who worked hard? well, I don’t know. That was 50 years ago. Ultimately, it is a wonderful thing to have a good computer, but to call it “white privelege” adds an unneeded notion of guilt. it also ignores reality, which is that while an economic imbalance remains from the past, the work that needs to be done with race now is to bring people together. Blacks are angry over the past, and whites are afraid and guilty, and sometimes ingorant. Blacks are also attached to their identity as a poor minority. As Obama said, “the old racial rhettoric has exhausted itself” and white privelege rhetoric is one part of this dead body of words that drags us down into guilt trips and blaming.

  88. Aaron, telling people that they’re causing racism by pointing it out is like telling the victim of a playground bully that he caused the bully to punch him because his nose is bleeding. Shut up, sir.

    I’m white and I have no easy answers about the white privilege question and about how some whites respond to it. I know that when I was introduced to the concept I readily understood it and could even agree with it; I have no idea what it’s like to be a person of color but I have heard enough accounts of what they go through to comprehend a little. I have had a few life experiences, also, that give me a glimpse of the other side of things but it seems my whiteness always steps in at the last minute to set things right for me in some way, ultimately.

    I think that in the balance the problem is that we are strongly indoctrinated in either-or thinking in this country and can’t grok both-and, as in you can be BOTH lower-class economically AND upper-class racially. It does not compute for many (white) people. In the final balance, if the Powers That Be had to choose between me and an upper-class white person they’d totally go with the UCWP–but if they had to choose between me and a person of color they’d likely choose me. Not as much these days as that used to be true, but it is still true enough to be a serious problem.

    And, y’know, I hate to say it but some people just are not going to Get It. I see the same crap go on when there is talk of gender relationships and gender politics. And, to tell you the truth, racial equality activists also have trouble sometimes with intersectionality, and so do feminists. So even “our side” needs to learn to juggle several concepts at once in our minds, sometimes.

    But sometimes when a white person objects to the white privilege concept because HE’s not rich, I want to say to him, “Oh, you’re not white?” I’m not sure that would help him Get It, but it might be fun to watch him splutter. :)

  89. Oh, and getting back to Mr. Aaron for a bit: If you think being poor is something to get attached to, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I gotta sell you… see, I’m so attached to being poor that I’ll make shit up to sell you just to get away from it.

    NOBODY likes to be poor, and to suggest that black people are “attached to their status as a poor minority” is fucking insulting and racist. But I suppose you’ll say they asked for it because one of them wrote a blog post about white privilege and it offended you. Jeezus.

  90. “When Peggy McIntosh introduced this concept, the year was 1988. The world of 1988 is very different from the world of 2008, and times have changed. We have a black president running for office for god’s sake, and he probably will win. He is obviously the best candidate.”

    Yes. Because there is a black candidate that has a legitimate shot as being our president, racism is all over. Everything is all hunky-dory, right?

    “In my opinion, the white privilege rhetoric actually increases racism because people who are strongly identified as whites feel blamed, and get angry and defensive because it is a philosophy which says that just by existing, they are contributing unknowingly to the suffering of others.”

    Basically, we call that white guilt. And white guilt helps no one. Instead of feeling guilty, white people need to learn how to SHUT UP AND LISTEN and go out and use their privileged status to help eradicate racism so that we can reach an interesting little thing known as pure equality.

    “Ultimately, it is a wonderful thing to have a good computer, but to call it “white privelege” adds an unneeded notion of guilt. it also ignores reality, which is that while an economic imbalance remains from the past, the work that needs to be done with race now is to bring people together.”

    Continue to grasp at those straws. REACH.

    When you get through, it is because of STILL EXISTING white privilege that those economic issues continue to exist – those disparities in education continue to exist due to that notion of white privilege, which you think is somehow outdated, which makes me think that you are speaking from your OWN privilege.

    “Blacks are angry over the past, and whites are afraid and guilty, and sometimes ingorant. Blacks are also attached to their identity as a poor minority. As Obama said, “the old racial rhettoric has exhausted itself” and white privelege rhetoric is one part of this dead body of words that drags us down into guilt trips and blaming.”

    Blacks are angry over what happens TODAY. Did you not read the post “Thank you, White people?” Did you not read about how hate crimes went up in 2006? Did you not notice that Black men are much more likely to be incarcerated than white men, and that they’re much more likely to serve more time for the same crime? Did you not pay attention to the fact that by and large, people of color are the ones being gentrified out of their homes for WHITE yuppies? Did you not notice that when a person/child/woman of color goes missing, nothing is said, but if a white child/woman goes missing, they get non-stop coverage?

    But white privilege isn’t a reality?

    If you feel guilt, that’s your issue. But telling us that we should shut up because you feel guilty is crap. Instead of pushing that privileged mindset on us, you need to have a seat and listen to what PoC have to say and not continue to parade around in that ignorance that you yourself say that white people demonstrate.

  91. you can be BOTH lower-class economically AND upper-class racially

    THIS!!!

  92. I have a few questions and comments.

    First, a quote placed in the post states

    –Start Quote–
    It sometimes puzzles conservatives that progressives are so concerned with what people think. What is racism, sexism, homophobia, etc, after all, other than a way some people think about some other people? And as long as I’m free to pursue my own self-interest, what does it matter what others think of me?

    For someone with a lot of privilege, the rational answer is, “it doesn’t matter at all.” The more privileged you are, the less other people’s thoughts count. You go into a store, and you buy what you want, or you don’t buy. You don’t have to worry about what the store clerks think of you – what could matter less?
    –End Quote–

    I disagree that anyone needs to be concerned what the clerk thinks since the clerk will think something. You can not control the thoughts of any other person. If you let what they say affect you, you are doing harm to yourself by allowing others (who you disagree with strongly) to control your mood/feelings or to make you feel however it is you feel in these instances. Psychologists say that you are replaying the tape that was played to you by (your parents, that prejudiced and ignorant person, etc.).

    Could “my privilege” affect me? Sure. I can justify almost anything if I come up with the definition of items to justify my thoughts/actions. However, it is just as possible that, in a world without “racism,” we would all think that it wouldn’t matter what the “clerk” said… Isn’t that what we are working towards?

    You see the person at the corner saying, “The world will end!” or “The sky is falling” and you walk by or help them. You likely think they are “ill” or not thinking clearly. Many people laugh openly. Either way, you don’t take that “crazy” statement as fact or let if affect your day.

    Yet you state it is our privilege that lets us not be affected? Is it that we are not “crazy” as well? I understand their medical issue(s), but I am not letting that statement affect my mood or how I think about myself. Should we listen to and react to someone else who spews “racist” comments? I think those statements by “those” “racists” is just as “crazy” as the statement about the sky falling…

    I really hope you know other people who think like me who might be white… I know people who are white who think that way…

    “Race” is a term used to divide–we are all Homo sapiens. We can be “racist” against dogs, cats, and birds, but we can be prejudiced against anything. Prejudiced means the person speaking is pre-judging (without knowing). The “prejudice” speaks more of the person speaking than it does about the person spoken about.

    Of course, those are just my opinions. You are, like everyone else, welcome to disagree.

  93. ^^^ If anybody was ever looking for an example of white privilege…

    Could “my privilege” affect me? Sure. I can justify almost anything if I come up with the definition of items to justify my thoughts/actions. However, it is just as possible that, in a world without “racism,” we would all think that it wouldn’t matter what the “clerk” said… Isn’t that what we are working towards?

    There’s just one, big, HUGE, glaring error in your thinking:

    THIS IS NOT A WORLD WITHOUT RACISM!

    Also, I just LOVE it when people think that all of this is just in our heads, that it’s only our “perception”, that we’re just wishing for racist shit to happen.

    Really, people? REALLY?!?

  94. I’m glad this is marked as required reading. I would have denied male privilege, hetero privilege, class privilege, white privilege, etc. exist; but only because I’ve never seen/understood the word privilege used that way before.

    Now that I see how you’ve modified the word, I’ll freely admit: that they exist, that words / phrases are needed to allow them to be discussed, and that I can’t think of a better word to use.

    It’s nice to find a forum where articles like this are listed, to establish the meaning of phrases (or maybe the phrases used here for the meanings) that will be necessacery for the rest of the discussion.

    Thanks Angry,
    MG

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