12-10-2016  2:25 pm      •     

For those who still can't grasp the concept of White privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as Black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay. 
White privilege is when you can call yourself a "f****n' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their f****n' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.
White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in the first place because of affirmative action.
White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a Black U.S. senator, two-term state senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."
White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.
White privilege is being able to convince White women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because suddenly your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same White women, and made them give your party a "second look."
White privilege is being able to give a 36 minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a Black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.
White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.) and that's OK, and you're cut out to be president, but if you're Black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.
White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she's disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you're Black and married for nearly twenty years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called "terrorist fist bumps."
White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being Black and suggesting that the U.S. should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you "dangerously naive and immature."
White privilege is being able to say that you hate "gooks" and "will always hate them," and yet, you aren't a racist because, ya' know, you were a POW so you're entitled to your hatred, while being Black and insisting that Black anger about racism is understandable, given the history of your country, makes you a dangerous bigot.
And finally, White privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because a lot of White voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

Tim Wise, among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the country, is the author of "White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son," and has lectured in 48 states. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from Tulane University, where his anti-apartheid work received global attention and the thanks of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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