THIS ARTICLE IS U.S. FOCUSED. IF YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT AMERICA, DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME. I ALSO FOCUS ON THE TREATMENT OF WHITE AND BLACK PEOPLE.
There’s no white privilege. It is a “White Lie” (even a “not so bad of a lie” has to be white washed?). Lawrence Blum, citing the work of Lewis Gordon in his paper Reservations About White Privilege Analysis sums up my thought process: “Privileges are generally counterposed to ‘rights’. They are not things persons should expect to have, but rather count themselves fortunate if they do have them”. Not being a slave was a Privilege of the Whites for a long period of time. However, today, the problem is not that Whites are treated better, it is that Blacks and minorities in general are (and have been) treated so unfairly. Being treated as a human being should not be seen as a privilege. Not being looked at in defiance should not be considered a privilege. Not fearing for your life when you hear the cops is not a privilege. White Privilege is a focus on Whites instead of the oppressed minorities; there needs to be another way to describe this phenomenon where everyone can adhere to the idea.
I hate that once again, we’d rather say that White people have a benefit. That’s not the way it should be seen. Black people have been kept several steps behind, because of White people. We can definitely assess that this country has been putting Black Americans down from the start. Many people today think “racism is over” just because a Black President has been elected. Some others also have the belief that after the 13th amendment, Black Americans were treated the same as White Americans. But everything was rigged from the start. The end of slavery did not end racism. Electing a Black president did not end racism. Even though I do not believe in the notion of “White Privilege”, I do know institutional racism exists and has been used over the years to keep blacks at the bottom. Most states forbade miscegenation long after the end of the Civil War. The Jim Crow laws in the South – not refrained by the Federal Government – have done nothing else than denying Blacks the equality that they were entitled to. Their schools were underfunded, they were segregated in public places and were still treated as inferior. I don’t know if anyone considers this, but most of our grandparents were alive when White folks were still lynching people because of the colour of their skin and were able to get away with it. I mean, guys, isn’t this enough to understand that there is a difference in treatment on both races? This kind of horrible treatment started one of the biggest movement of population in history. Millions of Black Americans moved from the South to other territories during the Great Migration. More recently, the mass incarceration effective in the US is heavily discriminatory against Black communities. Representing only 16% of the US population, Black Americans are 40% of the incarcerated. Another scary statistic that Dr. Carl Hart expresses in his book the High Price, “On average, the professionals’ children hear 2,153 different words each hour spoken to them, while the children of welfare parents hear only 616”. Clearly, institutional racism exists that continues to hurt Blacks and minorities while helping most white people.
I have to confess that I hate the praised work of Peggy McIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. I think that this article is unhelpful. There is not a country in the world where her points would not apply to the primary caste, “class” or “race”. I just hate this idea of focusing on the so called “privileged”. I believe that it only helps the nice Liberal white folks who think they are making a change by acknowledging that they have “White Privilege”. This is the new “I’m not racist, I have a black friend”. It’s not as eye opening to be told what you have rather than saying what the other person is missing. And missing because of the actions of a particular race decided to treat another with disdain even after alleging that they should be treated as equals. It is so much more important to focus on the “under privileged”, the oppressed, the one who is under pressure from the society created by a bunch of White People, for white people. There are a lot of examples since the days after the Civil War, where States were doing everything they can to block the Black vote (for men – women, whether black or white, were still not considered good enough to vote). How can you expect society to think and care about you if people of the same background as you cannot participate in the public life?
We can unequivocally say that there is a divide between the historical treatment of both races and that Black people have been treated unfairly and have, whether by societal belief or by law, been attached to the bottom. But the expression and the idea behind White Privilege is not ideal. White Privilege is just like Global Warming, it is bad marketing. Black Americans and minorities need all the help they can get to win this fight. And using the expression White Privilege will never bring the poor whites on their side. This is the people they need to win over. Not the city liberal white self aware who is so happy to tell everybody how he/she understands the suffering of black people. Poor Whites experience some similar issues as minorities, and they will never consider themselves as privileged. And they are right. Only 10% of White children are in poverty compared to the 33% of Black Children. But this represents 3 million versus 4.2 million. And it is not the only statistic that shows that there is a wide population of whites living in the U.S. experiencing similar issues as Black Americans. We – and Black activists – have to acknowledge the fact that there is, in the U.S., places where white folks suffer from poverty, bad education and lack of opportunity. If we put aside the racism that poor Whites do not have to complain about, we cannot deny that there is also an inherent problem of status and class from which they suffer from. Using the common fight of “class” in America that these 2 parts of the population share could increase their reach and make a better point.
This is why White Privilege is not an appropriate analysis of the situation. I would rather call it Unjust Deprivation. This deprivation touched and is touching every race in America. People have been deprived of wealth, of education, of equality, of justice since the creation of the country. We just need to acknowledge that Black Americans have suffered significantly more. Every white person should have the facts straight that there is and has been institutional racism. From the start African Americans have had a weight chained to their ankle, both literally and figuratively. Instead of seeing it as European Americans having a head start, let’s start seeing it as Black Americans being placed 10 step backwards, on purpose.
How dumb you have to be to answer “All lives should matter” when people shout “Black Lives Matter”? How self centred you have to be to think that it’s because a whole race is “not working enough” that they are still in the bottom?
Racism and inequality will never disappear. It exists since the end of times and is still present in most of the countries in the world. This is the role of society, government, communities to put in place policies to help the best they can to cancel this cancer. America is supposed to be the leader of the Free World, the best country in the World, the super giga mega (yes, Americans like superlatives when they talk about themselves) best place to live in the world. But it is failing at providing what they promote to other countries all over the world. It is time to end this Unjust Deprivation.