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As part of our class on family nursing, we have a unit on 'diversity'.  As part of that unit, we had to read and respond to Frances E. Kendall's 'Understanding White Privilege'.

The responses of many of the rest of my class (composed entirely of people who already have their licenses as Registered Nurses) were as depressing as many of you can likely expect.

I haven't read all of the comments yet, but the denial, sometimes vehement, of the existence of white privilege is outnumbering even tepid acknowledgements of its existence by about 9-1 so far.

Among a class full of licensed healthcare professionals, all of whom have had at least some exposure to 'diversity training' in earlier classes.

I'm enclosing my own post below.

Yes, white privilege exists.

And yes, everyone on this board who is white benefits from it, whether or not they believe in it.  It's a tough thing to swallow for most white folks, because it's not a 'happy thought'.  You can say 'Oh, I'm white and I've had to fight for everything in life.  Nothing has been given to me.'  But, really, you're wrong on the second sentence, and the first is anecdotal.

When talking about racism and white privilege, you have to look to the statistics, not the individual.  Every single person in this class could have had a totally dirt poor, sucky life.  Compared to the 'average' person in the country, we could all have pretty squalid existences.  But the 'average' white person in the US has it far better than the 'average' black person.

The latest recession has hit America hard, and minorities harder.
Check out

http://www.marketwatch.com/...

For blacks, the jobless rate rose from 7.7% to 16.5%, while the jobless rate for whites went from 3.9% to 9%...Median household income for blacks fell 7.2% from 2007 to 2009, significantly more than the 4.2% decline for whites...The average black person leaves his or her heirs just enough to pay the undertaker, with the typical black household’s net worth totaling just $2,200, according to the latest data.

Are there some white people who are poorer than some black people?  Sure.  But statistically, blacks are so far behind their white counterparts in this country that it's not even close to funny.

They're poorer, less healthy, arrested far more often, suspected by the police far more often...  Heck, a couple of years ago, a black university professor was arrested for 'breaking into' his own house.  95% of the black people I know have 'driving while black' stories, where they were pulled over for no particular reason, then let off without a ticket.  In nearly 30 years of driving, I've never been pulled over unless I was blatantly breaking the law, usually by driving around 20 miles over the posted speed limit.

What stuck with me from Kendall's paper was that she was at least nuanced enough to note that 'privilege' is not absolute - that the degree to which we are given preferential treatment depends on a host of variables, although race tends to stand out, overshadowing the others on a statistical basis.

What do I expect most white people to say after reading the essay?  Pretty much what I've seen in many of the other posts.  That it doesn't exist, that 'that sort of attitude' is 'why we have racial problems', etc, etc.  Kendall is dead to rights - it's like talking to fish about water.  Heck, I had the same hostile response myself the first time I came across the concept, reading a list of 'privileges' whites have (in large part, my opposition was that many of the so-called 'privileges' on the list were not anything I actually considered positive, or a privilege.  To use a ludicrous example, if you're the only person being given a lump of earwax every day, you're hardly going to consider yourself 'privileged'...)

But start talking to minorities.  Heck, start listening to them, more than talking.  Read the damning statistics, listen to the petty and demeaning acts and words they face on a daily basis that you don't, simply because your skin lacks much melanin, and you finally come around to realizing it does indeed exist, whether or not you personally would want it to.

How will minorities respond to Kendall's essay?  Probably they'll acknowledge that it's a decent start, but far from truly describing the pervasiveness and debilitating nature of institutional racism.

***

That was my response.

I'm depressed.  I want to believe the country is heading towards more egalitarianism, more acceptance and understanding.  But to find as much denial as I did among the rest of my fellow classmates just depresses the hell out of me.  We also have to respond to other people's postings, and I tried to be polite while rebutting people talking of 'reverse racism', it's tough to see other folks' responses with things like 'I agree completely!' to people claiming white privilege doesn't even exist.

Originally posted to Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:04 PM PST.

Also republished by White Privilege Working Group and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Henry Louis Gates... (38+ / 0-)

      ... was not arrested for breaking into his house, but for being an uppity black who insisted it was his house.

      A Poet is at the same time a force for Solidarity and for Solitude --Pablo Neruda

      by justiceputnam on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:55:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not being shat on is a privilege (9+ / 0-)

      (ok, it oughta be a right, but you know what I mean)

      Too many people just do not get it, that going through life without being constantly harassed is a big fucking deal. Even when it's 'correct' , "Nobody gave me anything" is still irrelevant.

      What could BPossibly go wrong?? -RLMiller

      by nosleep4u on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:28:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  it not only exists... (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fhcec, ksingh, zedaker, mamamedusa, foufou, princss6

      ...it is the law of the land.  From the onset, this country has been built on the sweat, blood & tears of non-whites.  The First Nations were systematically slaughtered and culturally obliterated.  Africans were brought here as slaves.  We have sent people to every continent to kill non-whites.  It was only after uber-white Germany attacked us directly, that we engaged in war with whites.  The French & Indian wars were two white empires fighting for control of the right to steal the land from the First Nations.  

      Since our Declaration of Independence, we have been fighting for white privilege.  The racism of the South / GOP / Bible Belt is proof that we have not shed this desire.

      The most vile and disturbing aspect to me is the deliberate efforts of most of the white US to pretend that this racism is not there.  We gladly turn to our TV show, movies, iPods, flat-screen TV's, double-latte's, 401k's, wallpaper for the living room, SUV purchases and any of the myriad distractions / ego-strokes that are provided for us by the very people and system that profit in dollars from the price paid in blood by non-whites across the planet.

      But, we're stroking the hand of our own executioner.  This system is not designed for some white utopia for us all to live in.  It is a very small, gated community - designed to drive 95% of the planet into labor and poverty, 4% to be jailers and 1% to bathe in the glorious light of a Maxfield Parrish dreamland exclusively populated by the owners of this planet: a few greedy, amoral men who will sell us to slaughter.

      The grease of this entire system is every "oscillating Richard" white person who goes along thinking "I'm not racist" / "I'm not the problem" / "What me worry?" and any other excuse that will allow them to proceed with their "American Dream" pursuit to join the very smart, very special, very responsible "good people".  We turn our eyes to our future home, our children's schools, that new electronic device, the esteem of our peers and making smart choices with our careers.  

      We don't see racism because we don't want to see it and we can get away with not seeing it.

      Our success, our joy, our prosperity, our delight, our social standing, the heat in our house, the food on our table, the health of our children - all paid for in the blood of non-whites.  

      To this day.

      "If you're not part of the solution - you're part of the problem"
      •  Uh, no (9+ / 0-)
        It was only after uber-white Germany attacked us directly, that we engaged in war with whites.

        The War of 1812 says hello.

        "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

        by Ivan on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:44:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As does the Revolutionary War. (5+ / 0-)

          And WWI

          And the Civil War.

          I'm not going to bother with details of the Revolution.

          We got into WWI over the Zimmermann Telegram - which invited Mexico to attack us over the promise of territory in return - as the "final straw".

          America and Germany declared war on each other during WWII after the Japanese attacked us directly, not Germany.

          Since our Declaration of Independence, we have been fighting for white privilege.

          I wouldn't characterize the Civil War as one fought for white privilege.  The South may have seen it as such, but I gravely doubt that the men who fought and died on the Union side were fighting to perpetuate white privilege.  

          Neither of the two World Wars were waged for this either.

          But, who am I to point out such things?

          Celtic Merlin
          Carlinist

          Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

          by Celtic Merlin on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:33:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, Tonedevil, MGross, the tmax

        Hell no!

    •  I agree that white privilege (8+ / 0-)

      is real, and that lots of white folks resist admitting it. But I have considerable experience teaching about it in a first-year college class (with mostly white, middle-class, small-town midwestern students). We use Peggy McIntosh's work and some other readings on race and ethnicity, and a lot of discussion.

      There's some resistance, certainly, but as we talk about it, and if I present it in a way that isn't filled with blame and hostility, most of the students come to at least consider that it might really be so.  

      Of course, every year the new freshman are pretty much in the same place last year's were before we start working on them . . . but that's teaching.

      •  that's the key. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        etbnc, Ezekial 23 20

        anytime one is attacking a systemically induced problem that people have trouble seeing then you have to avoid blame and hostility about which the individual you want to educate may feel defensive.

        one of the BIG reasons WP is so pervasive is that most people benefiting from it are not doing so consciously and would readily denounce that someone is NOT benefiting from what they did, or rather, the inequality.

        WP raises a lot of cognitive dissonance in individuals. keeping the blame and hostility out of the early definitional discussions quiets that dissonance somewhat.

        blink-- pale cold

        by zedaker on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:58:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  a project? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6

        could you build an opportunity into the class that requires the students at least to develop an activity or lesson to share with younger kids or even their parents to help them get a head start on understanding WP?

    •  A Contrarian Opinion (0+ / 0-)

      Allow me to offer a different perspective.  Just because most privileged people are white males, don't make the mistake of assuming that most white males are privileged.  For the past three decades at least, the white working class has been getting screwed over along with everyone else.  The Left has been unable to figure out why white working class males have turned overwhelmingly to the Republican Party in recent decades, but to me it makes perfect sense.  Is it really a surprise that the Right has been successful in casting blame for the white working class's troubles on minorities?  They have noticed a steady decline in their standard of living.  At the same time, the Left seems to be saying, "quit whining! You're privileged and you need to give that privilege up!" while the Right seems to be saying, "your life sucks because those people over there are taking what little you have away from you!"  We might call them fools for believing the right-wing propaganda and not seeing the appropriate source of their troubles, but is the Left really all that different in missing the source?  If the people are ever to have any success in reversing the tide of corporate fascism that is sweeping the country, the disempowered need to stop fighting each other like dogs thrown scraps at the dinner table, and create a united front against the socioeconomic elites that are looting this country.

      Long you live and high you fly, but only if you ride the tide; balanced on the biggest wave, you race towards an early grave.

      by Abelian on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:04:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wake me up when White males (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deoliver47, princss6

        start voting for their own interests (and their childrens' and grandchildrens') instead of their boss' (the Man, Wall Street, the corporatists) because their biggest concern is a few people of color might benefit from progressive public policy in this society.

        I've been voting since 1972.  None of this is new to me.  

        White people were voting against minorities long before their standard of living dropped.  Your argument is the standard historical revisionism found every day on DKos.

        - the habit of ignoring race is understood to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture - Toni Morrison

        by blindyone on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:20:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ahem (5+ / 0-)
        don't make the mistake of assuming that most white males are privileged
        That isn't a mistake, and it isn't an assumption. All whites are privileged. All males are privileged. All white males are privileged more than all non-'white males'. If you can't agree with this, there is something about the topic of white privilege you aren't getting.
        You don't give the privilege up; you extend it to everybody.
        The zero-sum framing you've presented here is just evidence that you've internalized right wing framing.
  •  Must...Put...Shields...Up... (59+ / 0-)

    The fact that people can't recognize that real white privilege exists are first and foremost defending their ownselves.  

    I would guess that a lot of the immediate reaction is personal.  They see themselves as being independent individuals who don't owe any of their successes to anything but themselves.

    It's a pretty juvenile way of seeing the world.  My 13 year old kid thinks that everything good that happens to him is because of some sort of special characteristic that only he has, while any failure he experiences is a result of someone else's intervention in one way or another.  

    "Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand."

    by otto on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:25:48 PM PST

    •  This blind spot transcends this issue (62+ / 0-)
      They see themselves as being independent individuals who don't owe any of their successes to anything but themselves.

      and is a huge problem in modern American society.  Still...

      I think it was This is My Time who wrote a diary the other day about an experiment about crowd reaction when a black man and a white man had "lost the keys to their bicycle."  Of course, the black man was considered a thief and the white man was given help getting his bicycle free.

      I am white, and pretty much people don't eye me with suspicion.  One of my friends is a public official though not well known.  He dresses in a suit and tie. He is  Black - dark black. When he gets on the elevator at work, ladies move back and clutch their purses.  He tries not to notice.  It hurts him anyway.

      Let's break our dependence on foreign goods and our multinational masters. Shop American. May Peace Prevail

      by revgerry on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 06:38:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's an American characteristic. (21+ / 0-)
      My 13 year old kid thinks that everything good that happens to him is because of some sort of special characteristic that only he has, while any failure he experiences is a result of someone else's intervention in one way or another.  

      International comparative surveys of academic research into intelligence frequently note that this is a typically (though not distinctly) American attitude. It is usually compared against Japanese attitudes about failure and success, which are the inverse: Failure is my fault, but success is due to outside factors.

      Groups: Toolbox and Trolls... to preserve the best & the worst of DailyKos.

      by opendna on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:05:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To what extent... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pelagicray, greengemini

        ...has the focus on student "self esteem" accentuated this particular American characteristic?

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:40:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ? (4+ / 0-)

          We don't have a particular focus on 'self-esteem'.  If anything, in nursing, we're being taught to be 'self-less'.  Heck, i wouldn't be surprised if Siddhartha pops up on the reading list in one of the advanced classes.

          We are to be advocates, facilitators, assistants.  It's not supposed to be about us.

          •  Yeah but... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ezekial 23 20

            That's "higher" education. They don't teach grade schoolers to spell anymore because they might feel bad if their misspellings were pointed out.

            I was shocked when my kids brought home 'themes' they'd written - and got As or Bs on - that were illegible to someone who needs to spell correctly for a living. Had we not corrected their spelling when the teacher didn't, and made them re-write the paper, they never would have learned. And would have wondered why they couldn't get decent jobs when they grew up and couldn't communicate in written English. Very weird.

            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

            by Joieau on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:21:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I've seen nothing on that. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          majcmb1, mamamedusa, Joieau

          The studies seemed to suggest that these were cultural generalizations, not unique to or more pronounced in any particular generation, but I don't know that generational differences were part of the research.

          It's not my area of specialty (someone gave me an edited volume) but I kinda doubt that we have multi-generational survey data for these things. If not, we can't go back in time to gather surveys so we probably wouldn't be able to identify how much of variation between generations is attributable to educational paradigm and how much to mental maturity/age. (i.e. Is  generation-N more egotistical, or are teenagers generally more egotistical?)

          I've heard of other studies which suggest that similar values vary along class lines: "When rich fail, they feel anger; when poor fail, they feel guilt" and similar things. I've never seen those first-hand, though, so I wouldn't want to suggest which comes first, the attitude or the wealth.

          I should also note that both the Japanese and the American attitudes have upsides and downsides, and neither is objectively a more healthy (or less harmful) attitude.

          Groups: Toolbox and Trolls... to preserve the best & the worst of DailyKos.

          by opendna on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:22:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The same thing applies to all kinds of priveleges (20+ / 0-)

      People don't realize that not everybody gets to have a federal paid holiday to celebrate their religion's most important holiday.

      Or that Playboy or Maxim must be an awesome gift to give any American male, because its not as if there are some men who are attracted by the male body (or for that matter, none at all).

      Or that being told over and over that you have to hide your education credentials and how much money you make lest you never find a husband (since the most important goal a good woman should have is having babies).

      People need to realize that having racist/sexist/etc thoughts do not make you an evil person - it just means you were raised in a world that is prejudiced in many ways.

      "Only vigilance and resistance to this baby dictator, Barack Hussein Obama, can prevent the Khmer Rouge from appearing in this country." Michael Savage

      by bay of arizona on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:31:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly correct. (8+ / 0-)

        The focus on this specific divide of privilege is simply because it is one of the most glaring divides within our nation, and greatest predictors of economic and educational status.

        Another poster below denies it exists simply because he says that education and economic status account for the problems seen, but totally ignores that for people of colour, those are predicated upon the effects of racism and prejudice.  (And, btw, that the effects of white privilege also include actions and beliefs that are not depenent upon economic or educational status.)  He sees part of the Venn diagram of overlapping privileges, but has the circles sized and overlapping incorrectly.

        •  The day this white girl got it (5+ / 0-)

          I had a very tolerant and open-minded upbringing with liberal parents who had a diverse circle of family friends (babysit each others' kids, go on vacations together, etc.). I could write a diary on it, but for now I'll just say my childhood and teenaged years were made to be as inclusive as any other I've ever seen.  Even so, it was not until I saw the 20/20 feature in the 1990s that I truly understood white privilege.  

          In that broadcast, an equally well-educated Caucasian man and an African-American man of the same age were groomed the same, dressed the same, everything the same, same resume, same family history, same credit rating, everything.  Then they were sent to find an apartment, get a loan, apply for a job, and go into a store, I think a shoe store, and buy something. A hidden camera recorded everything. Talk about an eye-opener.  Talk about shocking.  Talk about infuriating.  Not only was the African-American man turned down repeatedly where the Caucasian man wasn't, he couldn't even get anyone at that store to help him.  I simply couldn't believe it.  

          That is when I got it.  Each and every exhausting day, every single African-American has to run this evil, cruel, racist gauntlet just to get through life.  These are everyday experiences.  This is the life of an African-American.  This is the reality of America.  The fact that there hasn't been much more violence and much more rage directed against Caucasians is an heroic testament to self-control and insight in the African-American culture, in my opinion.  

          This is why I think that, no matter what happens with President Obama, his presidency will have been a success, and will have been worth it, no matter the outcome.  I am proud to have been a part of the effort to help elect him. Because his election proved unequivocally that there are some Caucasians in this country who, as damaged as they have been by living in a racist culture, at least have tried to transcend that warped upbringing to get beyond skin color.

      •  All overgeneralization is bad.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zedaker

        Including the concept of privileged of any sort. It is not true in every case that X is the cause of Y.

        My Country Tis of Thee sweet land of Secrecy of thee I sing

        by hangingchad on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:48:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, I readily recognize it. (0+ / 0-)

      And it's true that I'd have had a lot more trouble in my life if I were black or brown instead of white. The racism is indeed institutional and cuts across wide swaths of our society, infects almost all corners.

      So. Now how do I go about collecting some privileges because I'm white? I don't mean not getting busted for breaking into my own house (have no neighbors, nobody would notice anyway), I mean more money. A nice cushy hardly-work (from home!) job, or maybe a hefty inheritance or something? I only need enough for new siding, trim, some road pack on the front part of the driveway, and a roof. With solar panels, please. Maybe get the pick'em up truck fixed. Could use some chickens and a couple of goats, will need bear-proof fencing and a new shed/coop for that. A screen door would be nice too, while we're talking privilege and all...

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:12:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What would I say? (3+ / 0-)

        If someone asked me this question in real life, I'd suggest that they are searching for the wrong rewards as evidence of the privilege.  

        As in any case, the rewards are statistically significant, and they are evidenced by things like arrest numbers, employment numbers, annual income.  

        "Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand."

        by otto on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 04:11:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  But... but.... I know a rich black guy! (34+ / 0-)

    Argument. Rebutted. WOOT!

    lols

    I tried to be polite while rebutting people talking of 'reverse racism',

    Yah.... that'll never work, dude.

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:28:55 PM PST

  •  Here's a link to Kendall's book (37+ / 0-)

    in case anyone wants to read it:

    http://books.google.com/...

    Thanks for this diary.

    tipped and rec'ed

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:34:12 PM PST

  •  Had a class on cultural diversity (24+ / 0-)

    fairly recently. Amazing to watch the denial some people are in. The class was mostly white females (of which I was one), a few African American males and females, and only two white males. The book we used was written by two Asian Americans, and it was very confrontational -- which was quite healthy for those of us who were ready for the message and willing to SEE and understand our tacit complicity in perpetuating the mentality and environment that fosters white privilege. Healthy, I say, because you have to see it before you can attempt to change it.

    It was interesting, however, to see the reaction of some of my classmates. More interesting, still, that the people who had the strongest negative reaction to it were... the two white males in the class.

    This needs as much exposure as possible. Rec'd.

    Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative. - William S. Burroughs

    by sricki on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:35:10 PM PST

  •  Yep (21+ / 0-)

    I'm a white liberal living in a white liberal neighborhood in Brooklyn. Some years back we got a big lesson in smug white privilege when we had the NERVE to support a black candidate over a white candidate in a Democratic Primary. Wrote about it here.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

    by mole333 on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:41:02 PM PST

    •  I read your article (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      varro, mole333, Dvalkure, mamamedusa

      These are always strange to me because I live in a majority black city and my representative elections are always between black people. And I consider having black local officials represent me to be normal.
      Until recently, my Rep was Bill Jefferson (a black pol of whom you may have heard), and a few years ago I supported his opponent, and remember a black guy telling me that I just wanted to get rid of Jefferson because he was black. But she's black too! I said. But not as black, because white people supported her, he responded. I just looked at him with a funny look and said come on, brah, and there were LULZ all around.
      Now we have a white mayor, which is weird. He got a majority of both black and white votes. lol, we are post-racial now.

      Warning: Erwin Schroedinger will kill you like a cat in a box. Maybe.

      by strandedlad on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:32:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  lol, that one had a lot of (mostly white) people (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        strandedlad, mole333, princss6

        scratching their heads, when it was said that that woman (whose name I have forgotten) was the "white" candidate. Some of the political blogs, especially, were stumped in explaining it to their readers (because they had no clue at all) so they just made up stuff.

        Some said it was because she had fair skin, that she was incrementally lighter in skin tone than Jefferson, but of course that had nothing to do with it. I think, probably, many (perhaps most) Black folks, and other folks of color, probably knew what they were talking about though.

        “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

        by Nanette K on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:10:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That was Karen Carter (0+ / 0-)

          And basically all Democratic white people I knew supported her over Jefferson, who had been indicted but hadn't been convicted yet. I didn't do a poll or anything though, so I don't know what the percentages and such were. She was cool, and wasn't corrupt like Jefferson, who claimed the investigation into his activities were a white plot to get him. In the district in question, it's the Democratic primary that usually determines the election because it is an overwhelmingly Democratic district. Of course, Jefferson won the primary, then lost the election to Joseph Cao, a Republican. It was all tied into the whole atmosphere at that time, with Mayor Nagin putting up signs all over the black parts of town saying OUR Mayor and saying that people were criticizing him because he was black. Oddly enough, when he was first elected, he was the "white" candidate, although, of course, he's black. That's the background to his "chocolate city" remarks, as he tried to reassure black New Orleanians that he was still on black peoples' side over corporate carpetbaggers, who are of course white. (This is a chocolate city though, and I wouldn't have it any other way.)

          Warning: Erwin Schroedinger will kill you like a cat in a box. Maybe.

          by strandedlad on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:37:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Here in Brooklyn (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ezekial 23 20, strandedlad, varro

        I am amazed at the level of race in politics in Brooklyn. The race I discussed was mostly a rich white vs. poor black divide. But there are many races where the divisions get finer and finer. Caribbean black vs. Southern black. Haitian vs. Trinidadian. Sometimes divisions among Hasidic Jewish groups (Satmar vs. Lubavitcher etc).

        Of course there are many politicians who can cross those racial boundaries, like John Liu running for Comptroller. He got support largely across racial boundaries to be come the first Asian-American elected to a citywide office in NYC. But more often the very fine gradations in ethnic identity have large impacts on elections in NYC.

        Progressives often get criticized for being mostly white and rich. But I have noticed a greater tendency for the most progressive groups in NYC (e.g. the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats and Democracy for NYC) to go for a more mixed race slate of candidates. But they may not be typical.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

        by mole333 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:53:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The irony of my time on the South Side... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mole333, Ezekial 23 20

          ...of Chicago is that I majored in political science at UChicago, but I was not aware of the fine political divisions at the time.

          (But I did do my fourth-year paper on racial politics in Chicago - Daley the Elder got most of his support from African-Americans, led by boss Big Bill Dawson, until 1968.)

          9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

          by varro on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 04:32:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Everywhere is so different (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sberel, Ezekial 23 20

            I like the general elections because with VERY few exceptions, you're safe voting for the Dem. But primaries, those can be such a mess.

            Had a friend who grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Has very interesting stories about it. But the funniest to me is when she and her husband had moved to Los Angeles and wanted to do a massive redo of their house they were astonished that they couldn't figure out who to bribe.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

            by mole333 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:05:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for the link to your story. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mole333
  •  I totally accept that this problem exists (25+ / 0-)

    I just categorize it a little differently than is normally done.  I don't consider being treated according to the basic minimum legal standards to be particularly a "privilege", I consider that a right.  I believe all people are entitled to that right.  The problem as I see it is not that white people are accorded those bare minimum standards of our rights, but that non-white people are denied them.  I realize others may disagree, and believe that nobody is entitled to any minimum standard of legal, civil and human rights, and that's where I'm afraid that the prevalent approach on "white privilege" is going to lead us as  a society.  the trends in that direction in our society are already much too clear, and this provides a rhetorical angle to give a broadening of social injustice a veneer of legitimacy and justice.

     When we argue that the way average white people are treated, our "privilege" as it is called, is the problem, then the solution is to push all white people except the ruling elite down into the conditions that  non-whites are oppressed by.  I don't see how that solution helps anyone, how it makes for a better more just society.  I see the point as being to continue fighting until all people are accorded the full portion of basic human rights. To consider people being accorded the minimum standard of legal rights to be unfairly privileged is to open the door to rather sweeping attacks on every standard of law, justice and democracy.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:43:58 PM PST

    •  I can see where you're coming from, but I think it (23+ / 0-)

      is a mix of 'privilege' even in the sense you define it and 'rights'.

      Minorities often aren't even accorded their legal rights, much less the things that could be considered 'privileges' in the sense you're suggesting.

      But you're certainly dead on that there are groups of people who are being treated far better in many ways than other groups, and that the best way to end the problem is to treat everyone in the better fashion, not everyone worse.

      As our friends in Wisconsin might say, all workers should be paid and treated like Union workers.  It's the Walkers of the world who think they all should be treated as poorly as possible to benefit the corporations and their Republican stooges.

    •  Yet, "Privilege" resides for many (23+ / 0-)

      in the privilege of being able to ignore the violation of the rights of others, in being secure that it won't happen to them.

      That's the privilege that needs to be eliminated, not shared.

      We as a society can't work together to solve problems that large segments of our society are free to ignore.

      Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

      by JesseCW on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:56:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One aspect of the problem of privilege is that (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        majcmb1, Matt Z, mamamedusa, geomoo, foufou

        those sitting at a computer and typing won't encounter it, but only those out in the street and in real life, where it can flash by and vanish, if not noticed and remembered, but is not the less real for that. And theory of any kind ain't got nutthin' to do with white privilege, which is almost all unwritten but often consistently enforced practice.

        •  Having spent a couple years living on the (8+ / 0-)

          street, I'd have to say that doing so does quickly get one acquainted with many forms of privilege and provide a wealth of real understanding about how various forms of privilege: those of wealth, orientation, and perceived race: actually operate in our society.

          They're not easy to miss, but they're all prone to being mistaken for each other.

          Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

          by JesseCW on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:28:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  A key is to emphasize how.... (0+ / 0-)

        ...people are being treated unfairly, because most people are fair-minded people.

        Unfortunately, this is going to be a slow process - people will learn from the people they associate with about the problems they face from ruler privilege used against them, but it's doing to take by a multitude of small things or the building of relationships, not a class taught by an enlightened white progressive.

        Not everyone has someone of a different race in their family, but everyone has women, and many have queer relatives.  There will be a certain amount of people of other races in people's social circle, and a key in educating people through example is using those people as "do you want X to happen to Y?  Well, X has probably happened to Y - just ask them in a moment where people can open up."

        9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

        by varro on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 04:40:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  What I think you're saying, (12+ / 0-)

      on some level, is that you don't believe that life is a zero-sum game.  Neither do I.

      But I suspect that most people do, even though I also suspect that many of them don't realize they believe that.

      ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

      by Mehitabel9 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:32:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would like to suggest (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mehitabel9, cumulo

        that framing certain things as white privilege contributes to that very sense of a zero-sum game.

        "Privilege" is a pretty loaded word and I think the zero-sum quality is contained within it. It is implicit that unearned privileges given to some people  at the expense of others should be taken away.

        If you include among these "privileges" such things as being treated fairly and with respect, it can sound as though you are telling people they are not entitled to those things. However well-intentioned this is, I don't think it is constructive. Why make people suspicious that you want to take something away from them if there are other ways of saying the same thing? People can be shown the ways in which black people are burdened and wronged without calling it white privilege in cases where it isn't. I don't benefit in any way from anyone being beaten by police or followed around stores or incarcerated in large numbers.

        Which is not to say that white privilege does not exist; of course it does. I may have gotten a job or an apartment or a taxi over someone else because of it, and those are in fact zero-sum situations. Only one person can get the taxi, but everyone can be treated with respect by the police. It's a right, not a privilege.

        If we don't want people to think of something as a zero-sum game, then we should be careful not to present it as one.

        Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. -- Napoleon Bonaparte

        by denise b on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:28:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I dunno, I think that's a lopsided view. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive, foufou

          Like the republicans always saying 'the only way to fix deficits is to spend less'.  Obviously you could also raise revenues, but Republicans simply cannot say that.

          Likewise, there are two distinct ways to address privilege.
          'Take away' privileges, as you suggest, or simply give everyone the same privileges.  Either way, the privilege vanishes, but I would certainly consider the second the better path, and I think most egalitarians would agree if you asked them.

          Republicans believe in 'taking away' from people who have an advantage(witness the big push to 'take away' collective bargaining rights) while Democrats usually believe in expanding and giving things to people who are disadvantage.

    •  The term we use (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sberel, foufou, princss6

      isn't the issue, and quibbling about whether it is misses the point, in my opinion. Any other term is no harder for those in denial to take offense at or misconstrue or fail to comprehend. Or even to have a reasonable argument against based on some particular connotation and framing.

  •  Anytime anybody posts a diary (31+ / 0-)

    daring to broach the subject of how the experiences of people of color/women/lbgt might differ from those of straight, white males, we get some mighty defensive comments. And this is a "Democratic" venue.

    "You're 'equal' already. You want more than your share." "You're being divisive." "We're all human. Why can't you leave it at that?"

    We have a lot of work to do.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 05:51:28 PM PST

    •  Yeah, it's as depressing to see (14+ / 0-)

      the reaction here as it was to see it on my class's online discussion board.

      Like every fight worth fighting, it seems to go on forever, starting afresh every time you thought you'd taken a step forward.

      •  Don't get depressed Ezekial (9+ / 0-)

        It's a process and it takes time. Just talking about is better than ignoring it completely and even if someone is defensive the idea may percolate in their heads and start the process of opening their eyes.

        I'm 60, we are further than I would have bet 45yrs ago and as a member of an integrated family as of 20yrs ago, further than any of us would have thought only 15yrs ago.  My nephew and I used to joke that along with Take Your Daughter to Work Day we need Go Shopping With a Black Person Day and Be Black and Ask For Help Day.

        Reading about it, talking about it, nothing beats just doing it.

        "But much to my surprise when I opened my eyes I was the victim of the great compromise." John Prine

        by high uintas on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:10:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is what motivates me (22+ / 0-)

      so much to try to build bridges with others. B/c I'm white and middle class, but I'm female, and I know what it means to be marginalized according to gender. I also have a learning disability and I know what it's like to be compromised in ways that aren't easily seen by others. So I use that. I think to myself, "What kinds of allies do I want in those areas where I have suffered and been oppressed?" I also think to myself, if I can learn to be that kind of ally to others who are, in relationship to me according to race and/or class, in the marginalized or "othered" group, I will be creating the world in which I want to live.

      I think it's very disheartening to see many ppl here on a liberal political website who are confused about what it means to be involved in the politics of making the world a better place. It means a bit of being uncomfortable, of being wrong sometimes, of listening deeply those whose lived experience is different than yours and informed by things you won't know unless you listen.

      I have to say that my first journey into this with an awareness of my own privilege was when I concentrated on Native American Studies in my undergrad work. I had several classes taught by the most articulate, good thinking, informed American Indians--from many different tribes. (Cahuilla-Luiseno, Pomo, Osage, and others). It was so eye-opening and deeply humbling and I really got it. I got it how privilege travels through time strands, how our sense of entitlement is hidden from us, how our suffering is real and often, ironically, the result of the racist constructs our ancestors clung to, instead of recognizing the natural alliances between ourselves and Indians vs. our rich white betters. IOW, the lack of solidarity is what has caused a lot of our suffering. So, it's not that we haven't struggled (white women have suffered and poor white men have suffered) but the causes of the suffering are mostly stemming from oppressive systems. When they get dismantled, we'll all be living in more authentically connected ways.

      We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.

      by Tookish on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:30:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great comment, thanks. (10+ / 0-)

        A surprising number of people in this venue--shocking, really--don't want to look at their own prejudice. As you say, they don't want to listen to any experience that differs from theirs.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:47:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I taught university classes on attitudes like this (13+ / 0-)

        and there were always students who resisted hearing that what they had been led to believe--that the U.S. is run by fair-minded and just people, and that (most importantly) merit is always recognized and rewarded--is profoundly and manifestly untrue.

        But there were also always some who were ready and willing to take a closer look. Perhaps it's not too late for the people in your cohort to put down their defenses and see what they can learn differently. I think that Tookish's conclusion here--that we could live in more authentically connected ways--is a lovely "carrot" to dangle.

        I may be overly optimistic still, but I think that most people prefer to act in ways that are life-affirming, when given a clear choice. White privilege is a real condition, and it confers real benefits--but they come at a deeper cost. (Some of these costs are on display more overtly now than they have been in many decades, as the racist/sexist/homophobic/classist forces who appear to be on the ascendant are pushing their luck.) Presenting those costs might help white people who are reluctant to yield the advantages they have accrued to see what greater benefits can be gained by living in solidarity. By learning from other people about the truth of the society as they experience it. By understanding that there are other legitimate perspectives on how things are run here, and other, likely better and fairer ways to allocate the resources and goods of this country. By seeking to dismantle the edifices that keep the disempowered just so.

        Thank you for your diary and for supporting such important dialogue, Ezekial. Sorry to come to see it so late; I've been out of the loop for a while.

        •  seconded, peregrine kate (7+ / 0-)
          Thank you for your diary and for supporting such important dialogue, Ezekial. Sorry to come to see it so late; I've been out of the loop for a while.

          and thank you for your comment. I feel bolstered just reading it.

          This is the nugget for me:

          Presenting those costs might help white people who are reluctant to yield the advantages they have accrued to see what greater benefits can be gained by living in solidarity.

          and I agree that is worth continuing to stay present to those opportunities. Essential, really, b/c that's the way attitude changes will happen. When the cost for staying w/ the unconsciousness is greater than the cost of giving it up. Once there's an opening, my experience is that ppl don't go back. They keep learning, and that's ok. We all make mistakes and continue to learn. What we need is the opening.

          We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.

          by Tookish on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:50:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  What about other minority groups? (7+ / 0-)

    Such as Indians or Asians?

    "There is nothing wrong with America can't be cured by what is right with America" -Bill Clinton

    by SensibleDemocrat on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 06:15:25 PM PST

  •  thanks ezekial (17+ / 0-)

    keep pushing and keep pushing white people

    here;s the next step -- even those who acknowledge white privilege think that is sufficient  - it isn't

    those with the privilege need to use it as a platform to undo white supremacist attitudes AND structures

    No other way

    me -- i get impatient with all the huffing and puffing and  talking and then tiresome white guilt so i will just leave it at this

  •  Well... (18+ / 0-)

    mouth open...outstanding...excellent...did I say pitch perfect response!

    Thank you, Ezekial!  

    If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

    by princss6 on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 06:51:54 PM PST

    •  Well, credit goes in large part to Adept2U (21+ / 0-)

      (and other Black Kos contributors) for past discussions and his excellent diaries on the history of racism in the 20th century.

      Pre-DK, I was as ignorant as any of the people in my class are now.

      We simply are not taught the realities of racism in most current school systems.  If you don't grow up in a diverse neighbourhood, it's something you can only learn online...

      •  worse, "educated into ignorance" (16+ / 0-)

        Rebecca Parker, this phrase was from her essay, Not somewhere else, but here

        This is what it is like to be white in America. It is to travel well ensconced in a secure vehicle; to see signs of what is happening in the world outside the compartment one is traveling in and not realize that these signs have any contemporary meaning. It is to be dislocated—to misjudge your location and to believe you are uninvolved and unaffected by what is happening in the world. ...

        Born white in this country, I was gradually but decisively educated into an alienated state of mind. With this narrowing, my capacity for creative participation in my society was stunted, and I became compliant with social forms and patterns that failed to support the fullness of life for others or myself.

        To come of age in America as a white person is to be educated into ignorance. It is to be culturally shaped to not know and not want to know the actual context in which you live.

        What is the most loving thing I can do, right now? Rev Dr Mary Harrington

        by sberel on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 07:35:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So the author feels disadvantaged. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matthias, orestes1963

          A number of similarly situated people don't at all feel alienated or precluded from creative engagement w/ the surrounding society.  The form of the author's genre - heavy on "I feel" and "validate me"-stye self-help-inflected tropes - isn't persuasive in the least.  She feels that way?  Good for her, but it's got nothing to do w/ me.

          That inability to persuade isn't some symptom of this particular author's bad writing, but emerges from the epistemology and ethics of the field itself.  It assumes that "listening" means uncritical acceptance, and the failure of the genre stems from assuming a reader that, like the author, will do the same (this assumption of an ideal reader is, of course, a form of privilege itself, as privilege theorists have noted time and time again).

          •  Not sure what you mean (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mamamedusa

            by "genre" here, but think it means that those who write "autobiographical self-confessions" tend to assume their readers have had similar experiences and therefore "should" examine their beliefs in the same way?  Would love to have you elaborate on this.

            Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

            by jarbyus on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:44:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Certainly the genre of white privilege, and (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Matthias, orestes1963

              more generally the genre of identity studies.  A common or even central motif is a sort of epistemological nihilism: truth is a problematic concept, so we have to narrate our experiences and assume our readers hear what we hear, rather than critically interrogate our experiences and draw true statements from them.

              •  Standpoint epistemology. (10+ / 0-)

                The approach has developed for a reason.  Writers take an explicit standpoint approach, often, in response to the implicit standpoint of most scholarly writing.

                The academy has, historically, written from a set of assumptions about objectivity and truth that disguises the academy's own standpoint.  An entire knowledge system that developed out of the experiences of wealthy White men is oblivious to all the ways that it obscures or misrepresents the experiences of everyone else.

                Personally, I'd love it if every discipline adopted the expectation that authors would explicitly position themselves in their work, instead of just sticking the boilerplate "the authors have no financial interests in this blah blah blah."  It may be true, but it fails to communicate exactly the kinds of privilege this diary describes.  

                I'd love to see a disclaimer paragraph that states, "The authors received no monetary remuneration for any of the research activity described in this article, but they did attend private college prep schools paid for by their affluent families of origin.  They have never been pulled over for DWB, nor have their reports of assault ever been dismissed by police as 'hysterical.' This article is awesomesauce for their tenure portfolios and they are relieved that they will never have to interact with this particular pool of research participants again."

  •  What can those of us who benefit from this (13+ / 0-)

    Privilege do to eliminate it?  How do each of us individually respond so that we can, once and for all, create and sustain an environment where we all enjoy the same respect, privilege and opportunity?

    Using his beta capsule, Hayata becomes Ultraman!

    by gunandbible on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 06:52:34 PM PST

    •  Those are some hella good questions (13+ / 0-)

      and I'm still too much of a novice here to give good answers.
      (And too white.)  I'll sit with you and listen to the advice of people who know far better than I where we go from here.

      My only idea so far is for people who care to start fighting our way onto school boards and local political offices, to work to support more comprehensive curricula and programs that work to ease the divide.

      •  Thanks. I'm typically more of a problem ID'er (or (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sberel, Matt Z, mamamedusa, Ebby

        more accurately, problem describer) than a problem solver, and this one is certainly well over my head.  The only thing I know in my heart is, resolution has to take its form as an individual effort.  We can't rely on our institutions or on the efforts of others to make this right.

        Surfing the bleeding wave of mediocrity.

        by gunandbible on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 07:20:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  what's been working for me. (13+ / 0-)

          On a day to day basis, I do try to observe what's going on, have a vocal witness if I see something wrong, and intervene when I can.  I think you really do have to take the time to observe when you're just starting to see the lay of the land.

          Is whether or not you come into contact with substantial numbers of people of color a choice for you? If so consider choosing to place yourself in situations that are more diverse (volunteering, career choice, social situations?).

          In a religious context, where I started learning about all this, we are in a sense "lucky" because the allies group has a direct accountability relationship with the institution's main group for people of color.  Thus, we do what they ask us to.  We don't second-guess or question it or ask to be involved in decision-making.  (There's a story behind this, as there were competing models one of which was a steering committee that included white people).

          OK, but anyway to take that concept of accountability to a personal level, the one thing you should do is if a person of color asks you to do something, consider just doing it, just support that person without trying to steer the decision.  I dunno what else.  I just take it day to day.

          What is the most loving thing I can do, right now? Rev Dr Mary Harrington

          by sberel on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 08:02:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  sberel, have you ever done legal observation? (6+ / 0-)

            If you want to observe, learning how to legally observe and document institutional activity sounds right up your alley. This is one of the best ways to advocate that I'm aware of.

            I've often talked on this board about years spent observing police at checkpoints and then giving that footage and data to the ACLU.

            In my paper this morning, it looks like they're changing the impound laws due to these observations, which lead to a statistically documented severe racial skew toward non-white-skinned people.

            I used the laws to observe the State.

            I documented this.

            I worked with others to do this.

            Five years later, I'm glad to wake up and find that they're forced to admit their own racism AND alter the law itself because of this.

            They are being held accountable.

            Legal observation. It's very powerful, very challenging, and very soul-healing stuff.

            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:54:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am sad to say, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive, foufou, princss6

              I've done a lot more thinking than action.  That seems like a good idea for anyone to do.

              What I've been thinking of doing is to work more within my own sphere of knowledge and influence.   My profession is (has the potential to be) highly merit-based.  In addition, the large public accounting firms (which I have no experience with) have well established diversity programs.  I've already connected with some of the diversity groups through my work with PFLAG so there is a natural connection there.

              The action I've been considering taking is (1) trying to do career days particularly to let Black kids know how good the area, a niche area which has career paths in public accounting, industry, and with regulatory agencies, I'm in is and what it entails.  The education and background required.  (2) on one of my committees, there is a professor from a predominantly Black college who's really focusing on trying to get the committee to focus on making contacts for jobs. That is sort of a sideline to the work of the committee, but I need to meet with this man and see what we can present to the committee that we can do within our charge.

              In addition, I'm deeply involved with PFLAG (too deeply - programs chair, treasurer, and performing a lot of the duties of the president) and I think there must be work that can be done there.  

              I'm having a hard time keeping my own life together right now, but as I settle down I really need to move from talk to action.

              I think the main thing anyone can do is look for ways they personally can make the best difference and follow that path.

              That's a good WPWG diary - discussing ways people can extend their own life to do the work.

              What is the most loving thing I can do, right now? Rev Dr Mary Harrington

              by sberel on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:11:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It would be an excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sberel, foufou, princss6

                and definitely work to be done with PFLAG. I think legal observation is one of those things like CPR that are just good to know for any moments when you see something that feels like it's awry; I use it often without seeking it out, in other words (and used to train folks how to in about 45 minutes).

                In my real life work, I'm doing similar things with marginalized kids and career paths, trying to write strong letters of recommendation and so on. Although still an old activist and can't drop that inclination, even in the staid world of teaching.

                Peace while you settle. Sounds like you've got a lot on your plate!

                This:

                I think the main thing anyone can do is look for ways they personally can make the best difference and follow that path.

                "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:03:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, I think the downside (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive, foufou, princss6

                  of privilege analysis and whiteness studies in general, as people in the area note, is the danger of navel-gazing.  So any thing like this has to be in my mind a tool, sort of a thought experiment to get a person motivated to educate and action will follow from that.

                  I agree about the observation as CPR, that is a great analogy.

                  Knocking on a deadline ....

                  What is the most loving thing I can do, right now? Rev Dr Mary Harrington

                  by sberel on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:13:13 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  You're male, right? LOL. Like most (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa, the tmax, gunandbible

      husbands in the world, I know mine immediately starts working on finding the "fix" to the problem before I'm even done describing the problem.

      This is something that is simply a fact of life. It's not something we can discover a fix for; it's simply something that we will all be wiser and better for if we understand it and recognize when it's happening.  And therefore, we need to be willing to be open and listen when we hear about it and be less judgmental of those who have experienced it throughout their lives.  And hopefully, through that, it might become less over time.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:47:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Male yes, guilty. And I work in a 'production' (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ravenwind, mamamedusa

        environment, so I 'do' tend to react like 'Ok, we've acknowledged we have a problem - let's fix it and move on to the next thing'.  

        Paraphrasing Jack Nicholson's character in 'As Good as it Gets':  

        "We're drowning here and you're describing the water!"

        But I'm not so naive as to think this is something that can just be 'fixed' without a great deal of discussion, creating/promoting that awareness and personal soul-searching, for me, anyway.

        As uncomfortable as they can tend to be (and when I get uncomfortable, I tend to avoid engaging altogether), these dialogues at least help in creating that awareness and moving the issue forward.

        Surfing the cutting wave of mediocrity.

        by gunandbible on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:07:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well said, well handled (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sberel, Deoliver47, foufou

        and I'm of the opinion that we can and should "do" nothing. Nothing much, other than be aware and be communicative. The conundrum of America's current racial situation is that to "do" anything is to exacerbate the problem (which isn't the discrimination, but what perpetuates the discrimination), while to simply wait is to allow the problem to continue.
        So in general I believe strongly in affirmative action, of the OMG real kind. Any company that employs large numbers of people (if there is still such a thing) should be required by law to actively ensure the racial makeup of their labor pool matches the community in which it is located. We must "do" all we can to combat racism and its continuing grip on the American people.
        But in the specific case of white privilege, it is every bit as important that we "do" nothing, save be aware of it. I don't think even "calling it out" when you see it is appropriate; better to mitigate the situation itself without any reference to race. Afterwords, of course, discuss it with anyone and everyone you can, including those involved. But to try to take advantage of "teaching moments" with this, you'd find yourself in much the same situation as you would on DK: however many supporters you have, there are enough detractors to turn it into a pie fight.
        In short (too late) I think the answer is to realize that you will never ever be able to teach a white male about white privilege, and your chances with a white female are even a tossup. What you have to do is organize the society around them so that they no longer live in a "white only" world on a day-to-day basis. White privilege can only be seen in the rear-view mirror. Once the social bigotry that underlies white privilege is mitigated by routine recurring interaction in a diverse community, some progress can be made helping them recognize the white privilege that will nevertheless remain, because our history will always be that of a privileged white upper class oppressing everyone around them while declaring liberty the central tenet of their new country.
        President Obama has done more for race relations in this country than any single person since Martin Luther King Jr., not by instituting government programs but  just by walking around and being dark skinned while people call him President.
        Every time I think about how much that means to millions of children in this country, and how little they will ever know it, I tear up a little, I swear.

    •  When we're given it overtly (7+ / 0-)

      call it out. Challenge it vocally for what it is -- this is where much of the applied work that I do with white privilege winds up going. Also, cede the floor to non-white voices a lot more often, even if you don't agree with what you're hearing, remember that this system doesn't support all voices being heard equally. Keep your mind and heart open and try to see the entire system and culture that surrounds an individual, that creates an individual, rather than any one individual in a moment of time (in other words, don't make the mistake of thinking people have pure free will untempered by society itself). Go out and find issues that are not ones which impact white people, but rather non-white people in your area, and get on board with these; march with non-white people. Advocate, advocate, educate, and listen.  

      If you want to know what work to do as an activist, I have ideas there as well.

      "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

      by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:48:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This black person is really sick of (14+ / 0-)

    patronizing white people who claim to really understand "white privilege" and take some weird perverse pride in looking down their noses at other white people who "don't get it". Bleh . . .

    Almost every single person on Earth has real, hard oppression and misery in their background/ancestry. Whether you're talking about Jewish people, or Irish people, or Polish people, or Gypsies, or gays, or women, or working class people, or just hardy people who managed to scratch a living out of some of the coldest, harshest, most inhospitable places on Earth, hardly any of us are descended from an endless line of people born with silver spoons in their mouths.

    Yes, black people in America have probably had it worse than most, but our ancestors survived and even thrived to an extent, and most of us living today have had opportunities that they couldn't even have dreamed about. We're fortunate to live in this wonderful country, and if you need evidence of that, just take a look at how many black people from every place on Earth apply to immigrate here every day, and the percentage who turn down said opportunity on the rare occasions that it becomes available.

    I know I only speak for myself, but if I could get on a hilltop and shout through a zillion watt sound system that I officially forgive white people for everything that they've done or that they have acquired, and that I'm ready to forget about it and move on to the next level, I most certainly would.

    Geezus, Tim Wise and Adept have you guys in such a freakin' tizzy around here, it's just sickening.

    •  Are you pragprogress? You remind (7+ / 0-)

      me of him so much....

      - the habit of ignoring race is understood to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture - Toni Morrison

      by blindyone on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 08:31:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  pragprogress was a self-identified (4+ / 0-)

          Black male (I think) who wrote a lot of intelligent but contrarian comments on DKos.

          You sound a lot like him.  I thought maybe you came back with another name for some reason for DK4.

          - the habit of ignoring race is understood to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture - Toni Morrison

          by blindyone on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 08:59:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It does sound like we'd probably (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Whimsical, johnny wurster

            get along. For the record, I mostly hang out with other black people, and we mostly talk about the same kinds of things (although I definitely acknowledge that we're in the minority of blacks as a whole), so there's definitely more than one black person in the world who's sick of the endless pimping of white guilt.

            •  Don't get too worn down by the (14+ / 0-)

              burden of worrying about us White folks. We'll survive... and still be in charge of all of the major institutions in this society.

              You have already given me a laugh tonight over the phrase "endless pimping of white guilt"  

              It should be interesting following you here.

              - the habit of ignoring race is understood to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture - Toni Morrison

              by blindyone on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 09:20:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Are you laughing to keep from crying... (13+ / 0-)

                because the term is majorly offensive and absolutely unfair.

                :)  

                Sad.

                If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

                by princss6 on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 09:25:57 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  True... majorly offensive and (8+ / 0-)

                  Right-Wing sounding. I really shouldn't laugh at it.  Laughing to keep from crying is what I do sometimes.

                  - the habit of ignoring race is understood to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture - Toni Morrison

                  by blindyone on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 09:32:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  OK, I apologize for the use of the term (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mehitabel9, The Werewolf Prophet

                  It's a bit over the top. But it does describe the dynamic that I really detest: white people who feel guilty about everything that ancestors did to people of color and all of the privileges that they've had in life, and the people of color who encourage it and capitalize on it.

                  •  Well, don't worry. (13+ / 0-)

                    I only ever 'feel guilty' about things I do.  I don't feel guilty because of things other people do or say.

                    There's no 'guilt' in my diary, just pointing out the ignorance of history and the realities of economics in some folks I would have expected a little more knowledge from.

                    •  It's not really a personal guilt (0+ / 0-)

                      It's more of a noblesse oblige type of guilt on behalf of the collective. I'm willing to bet that Tim Wise doesn't feel at all guilty for anything that he's done personally; but he does feel that all white people are collectively guilty for the crimes that white people have perpetrated on people of color in history, and should be conscious of how they benefit from white privilege, and should take certain compensatory actions in response.

                      But yes, I'm glad that you personally don't feel guilty, because you shouldn't. You are absolutely right in that a person can only take responsibility for that which they've done themselves, not what unnamed other people in other times and places have done.

                      •  Conflation of guilt and privilege (5+ / 0-)

                        All I see is that some folks are conflating the notion of white privilege with white guilt.  

                        The question that I would ask is this:  Can a white individual recognize that white privilege exists and not feel the need to turn that understanding into a guilt complex?  

                        "Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand."

                        by otto on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:33:26 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Conflating personal guilt with (0+ / 0-)

                          collective guilt is another factor here. I'm not saying that every white person who acknowledges white privileges is all of the sudden riven with guilt over it. I'm using "white guilt" to refer to the idea that white people somehow owe people of color for the things that they have in life.

                      •  and I'm willing to bet that (0+ / 0-)
                        I'm willing to bet that Tim Wise doesn't feel at all guilty for anything that he's done personally; but he does feel that all white people are collectively guilty for the crimes that white people have perpetrated on people of color in history, and should be conscious of how they benefit from white privilege, and should take certain compensatory actions in response.

                        I'm willing to bet that Tim Wise has a huge stake in whatever framework he promotes because he makes a good living off of being a white person writing and speaking about racism and white privilege.

                        I suspect that whatever compensatory actions he might recommend -- such compensatory actions would not include anything that would require him to give up his income stream.

                        FWIW. Or not.

                  •  It's not about guilt (6+ / 0-)

                    It's about trying to see the world as it really is, with all the cultural blinders off.  Or at least that's the way it should be.

                    There is something to what you're saying (or at least what I think you're saying).  I've seen indicators (not so much here as elsewhere) that "I recognize my privilege" may soon become as much of sign of the racially-clueless white liberal as "I'm colorblind" has been in the past.  That doesn't mean the concept is incorrect.

                    I believe Adept2U is black, btw; one of your comments sort of implied otherwise.

                    •  How so? (0+ / 0-)
                      I believe Adept2U is black, btw; one of your comments sort of implied otherwise.

                      I like people who profess to be colorblind. That's the goal right? Yes, it's probably impossible to actually be entirely colorblind given the society that we live in, but I'd much prefer that someone at least claim to be colorblind, and then the question is holding them to that claim, as opposed to them claiming to be "owning" their "white privilege" and then what? Remnant, sub- or un-conscious prejudice to me is not nearly as bad as conscious racial prejudice. I can ignore it and go on about my business, and nine times out of ten, it doesn't seem to affect me.

                      •  No. We don't want to be colorblind. (9+ / 0-)

                        I want to scream every time someone says that.  I like my color.  It's pretty and I love the variations of colors.  We need to get to a point in society where we are color neutral.  Where we can acknowledge how beautiful diversity is without color tells us about the character of a person.  

                        •  Come on, you know what is meant (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Uberbah, orestes1963

                          by "colorblind". It's obviously not literal. It means, "judge a man (or woman) by content of his character, and not the color of his skin". It doesn't mean that you don't literally see and appreciate the beauty of someone's unique pigmentation. Geesh.

                      •  I think you may be in the minority in that (3+ / 0-)

                        Doesn't mean you're wrong per se, of course.  But I thought the same as you at one point until I was pointedly schooled otherwise by a number of people -- the logic being that open racism can at least be seen, and called out, and recognized by just about everyone who's not a complete asshole; but the subtler stuff is all the more dangerous for being harder to see and hence both harder to fight and easier to internalize.

                        And as we've seen in recent years, that suppressed hidden racism can all to often turn back into the other kind, given an encouraging atmosphere and/or sufficient "provocation". (Like Barack Obama's presidency.)

                        •  Do you really believe that racism (0+ / 0-)

                          is on the increase with the Obama Presidency? Is there any factual evidence of that?

                          For me, "harder to see" equals "easier to ignore", and that's the best way to live life -- ignoring people who are ignorant, stupid and don't matter to you.

                          Now, admittedly it's a different question when those people do matter to you. But I've learned at the feet of my late grandparents that it is a fact that those kinds of people matter to me and other black people a hell of lot less than they use to. Almost infinitely less.

                          My great-great-grandmother spent her life savings and her life's work building a fantastic nightclub for blacks in her area of the Florida panhandle. People and artists came from all around, and she was making good money . . . until the local Klan burned it down to the ground.

                          I know blacks who have nightclubs today, and the KKK burning their club to the ground is just not something that they even remotely worry about.

                  •  Who is talking ancestors? I'm talking about (8+ / 0-)

                    today's Society. My ancestors were Jewish and didn't come from this Country. My concern with white privilege comes from my involvement in the current Latino Civil Rights Movement in California and my work with the Criminal Justice System, and the white supremacy that I've seen in these structures. Now. Right now.

                    "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                    by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:57:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well OK, it should've read (0+ / 0-)

                      "everything that white people as a group have done and continue to do" to people of color.

                      •  And so that's not what white privilege is (6+ / 0-)

                        about, per se. That's about racial guilt, essentially. White privilege is the institutional benefits one begets from living in an also-white-dominant power structure, one which happens to have perpetrated some severe racially-based abuses for some several hundred years, and thus is, as a system, deeply entrenched in its own false consciousness.

                        "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                        by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:39:26 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Aside from it being a sociological question (0+ / 0-)

                          what is the function of, as the diarist seems to urge, convincing white people to acknowledge their white privilege"? If all white people became aware of white privilege, then what?

                          •  The marriage of theory and practice can (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dmh44, foufou, princss6

                            seem obscure, at times. That's one of the reasons that I've tried to address this question in other parts of the diary in more "Here's what to do about it" terms.

                            The first step to any problem is identifying it. And then working, as white people, to resisting that power structure through being, as Marx would say, awakened to it. Consciousness is certainly an action in and of itself. For example, because of the consciousness that another human being IS a human being, we don't cannibalize one another (often). Because of the consciousness that someone is your mother, you don't have sex with her, whereas you might if she were not your mother. While these may seem like curious examples, I do hope they show the depths to which consciousness alone is action.

                            And for white people to be conscious of the white dominant power structure in which they exist, that it has a material impact upon the existence of all others in that power structure, that is an action in and of itself.

                            There are various end goals, obviously. But awareness here is, in and of itself, a crucial beginning action.

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:56:26 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's not getting us very far (0+ / 0-)

                            Were left with analogies and awareness, but no actual plan of action, public policy. This is why I don't see the point. If I prove to you that there is an instance of discrimination, then we know what to do about it. We take them to court, get a judgment, an injunction, whatever.

                            But if I prove to you that you are a beneficiary of white privilege, then what? You are now "aware", but what does that mean?

                            I suspect that it ultimately means that you don't deserve what you have and that you should share some of your ill-gotten gains with me. If that's the case why not be explicit about it?

                            My apologies in advance that I won't be able to get back to this threat. Headed out the door . . .

                          •  My statement could not have been more (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            foufou, princss6

                            practice-oriented. I'm discussing dialectical materialism, basically.

                            I feel that you are not having an honest conversation with me considering how hard you just swerved my point. OrWhich, incidentally, is pretty much straight out of "The German Ideology," but let's not let an appeal to authority stand in the way of my own agreement with old Karl here. Or maybe you didn't read it closely. In which case, a re-read would be recommended.

                            I spoke in terms of practical actions solely. Analogies were not a dominant strain in my comment. If your question is what is the end goal, your "then what?" that's obvious: equality. Although I could take your "then what?" to also mean what practical action should be taken. Which I've already detailed in my initial comment.

                            Also, we aren't talking about "discrimination" here. Again. We're discussing "white privilege." The terms are not interchangeable.

                            It's okay that you're going out. I feel like I'm typing into a vacuum anyways. Enjoy your day.

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:57:45 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Wow that statement . . . (0+ / 0-)
                            My statement could not have been more practice-oriented. I'm discussing dialectical materialism, basically.

                            . . . ought to be nominated for the Dave Chapelle/Rick James award for bold-faced self-contradiction . . .

                            See, I never just did things just to do them. Come on, what am I gonna do? Just all of a sudden jump up and grind my feet on somebody's couch like it's something to do? Come on. I got a little more sense then that.........
                            Yeah, I remember grinding my feet on Eddie's couch.

                            I mean so our goal of "practical action" is dialectical materialism?

                            You seem to be so deep into your studies of dialectical materialism that you don't realize that practical action doesn't mean things like "consciousness" and "equality". Practical action means something like,

                            White people agree to contribute X% of their ill-gotten gains into a fund that would pay for the education, housing, health care, etc., of people of color (or flat TV's).

                            Or

                            X% of seats on corporate boards, elite colleges, governmental bodies are set aside and reserved for people of color until such institutions naturally reflect the demographics of the general population.

                            Or come up with your own. But it's tautological for you to respond to what does it mean practically, with a bunch of utterly abstract and impractical words and ideas.

                          •  You don't understand what I said (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            foufou

                            if you misinterpreted it that way. Like I said earlier, talking to you feels like typing into a vacuum. Because you seem to just suck my words up and then they go out into this void that wasn't there before. Meaning you are abstracting them, or trying to prove them abstract.

                            At any rate, I avoid making a practice of wasting needless calories typing into the proverbial abyss. Do what you want with my thoughts... hey, next time you could print them out, cut them up with scissors, glue them arbitrarily on a piece of paper and just claim that I wrote "found poetry" too.

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:15:37 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Uh-huh . . . (0+ / 0-)

                            I haven't gone anywhere with your words. You brought up "dialectical materialism" in response to my request for some clarification as to the practical effect of raising consciousness about white privilege. All that I did was comment about how ridiculous that sounds to anyone who doesn't spend their days steeped in the writings of 19th Century German philosophers that nobody else cares about anymore.

                            But hey, I did not initiate this conversation with you; you initiated it with me by commenting on my comment to the diary. So, I have no problem with you "C-ing" your way back out of it, and maybe me and others who prefer to communicate in plain English about real things can continue the conversation . . .  

                          •  word-action disconnect (0+ / 0-)

                            European/white culture normalizes hypocrisy. Focus on white awareness not only obscure, it's quite possibly a set-up for draining energy and resources.

                            Not just dealing with "generic" human movement here. Dealing with a culturally-specific context.

                          •  A little unclear about your reply (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            princss6

                            in terms of how American context isn't similarly part of a dialectical materialist constructivist view, starting with the issue of consciousness and the overcoming of basic premises of false consciousness. Because while I would agree with your point that the context is crucial -- it is, in fact, the main thrust of my claim -- in American cultural context it's an exceedingly crucial point that awareness and action are not mutually exclusive (I'm unclear if this is what you're claiming, or whether you are claiming that the greater argument surrounding white privilege is not materially relevant to the U.S. -- or both?)

                            Thanks for clarifying!

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:23:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I've liked your comments in the past, mahakali (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mahakali overdrive

                            But I don't understand or speak the language you're using here. I know its origin -- just am not in that arena.

                            For this reason, I can't clarify. My apologies. If you could re-phrase without the specialized words, I could try. But I don't want you to lose meaning  in trying to do so. We may just speak different languages on this one.

                          •  That might be it... and sorry about the (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ezekial 23 20

                            delay in replying. Went out for some hours. Let me try to rephrase my original comment. Sorry about lapsing sometimes into jargon. I try not to. I honestly do. Particularly when in teacher-mode.

                            I do apologize. It's a dialect, like any other. Especially thick when I'm heavy into academic research, which I've been this weekend.

                            To break down what I was saying:

                            The marriage of theory and practice can seem obscure, at times. That's one of the reasons that I've tried to address this question in other parts of the diary in more "Here's what to do about it" terms.

                            It can be hard to see the difference between a good idea -- breaking down white privilege -- and what to do with that idea in terms of real-world action. I've made another comment in this diary about how to put this good idea into action.

                            The first step to any problem is identifying it. And then working, as white people, to resisting that power structure through being, as Marx would say, awakened to it. Consciousness is certainly an action in and of itself. For example, because of the consciousness that another human being IS a human being, we don't cannibalize one another (often). Because of the consciousness that someone is your mother, you don't have sex with her, whereas you might if she were not your mother. While these may seem like curious examples, I do hope they show the depths to which consciousness alone is action.

                            Before we can really do anything in the real world about white privilege, however, we must take the first action to address it. And this first action does not even seem like an action. But it is. That is "to become conscious of white privilege." This action, of becoming conscious, is at the core of every other action we take toward being civilized, so it should not be underestimated in terms of its power. This consciousness, whether of white privilege, or the humanity of one another, or of our relationships to one another, keeps us from incest and cannibalism. These are real world consequences of "consciousness." So consciousness does become an action. This power is also possible to tap into in becoming conscious of white privilege.  

                            And for white people to be conscious of the white dominant power structure in which they exist, that it has a material impact upon the existence of all others in that power structure, that is an action in and of itself.

                            When white people start becoming more conscious and aware of the actual fact that we live in a very real-world state of white supremacy which has been institutionalized for hundreds of years, white people will begin to see the consequences of this in all of our lives, no matter what our racial background is. When we become conscious of this, we will become upset by it because it is a gross injustice. Those who care about equal rights cannot help but find it unjust. And then we can begin to resist the white supremacist framework itself. By "white supremacist framework," I don't mean anything extreme like the KKK, but rather the basic fact that white people control Government as well as the American economy, and all other institutions. That fact is disturbing to white people who care about equality as much as it is to non-white people, because few people want to take at the expense of other people. It simply pits us against one another rather than against our real adversary, which is the elite, controlling groups who organize all of our lives for us in ways that are very hard, at times, to see.

                            Basically, since no one benefits from white privilege other than the highest levels, once we realize this, we have a better chance at equality for all, since it would piss any sane person off -- white or not.

                            There are various end goals, obviously. But awareness here is, in and of itself, a crucial beginning action.

                            Hopefully this last statement makes more sense in the context of my additional footnotes.

                            I've tried to break this down as well as I can on the fly. Let me know if any part of this is still complex?

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 04:58:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ok... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pilkington

                            This is where you and I disagree, I think. You wrote:

                            When white people start becoming more conscious and aware of the actual fact that we live in a very real-world state of white supremacy which has been institutionalized for hundreds of years, white people will begin to see the consequences of this in all of our lives, no matter what our racial background is. When we become conscious of this, we will become upset by it because it is a gross injustice. Those who care about equal rights cannot help but find it unjust. And then we can begin to resist the white supremacist framework itself. By "white supremacist framework," I don't mean anything extreme like the KKK, but rather the basic fact that white people control Government as well as the American economy, and all other institutions. That fact is disturbing to white people who care about equality as much as it is to non-white people, because few people want to take at the expense of other people. It simply pits us against one another rather than against our real adversary, which is the elite, controlling groups who organize all of our lives for us in ways that are very hard, at times, to see.

                            There are many ways that white people might respond under the scenario you  describe. what you say here is only ONE possible way it can go. You have a theoretical framework that tells you this will occur, from what I can tell.

                            There's another way it can go. I have seen it go this way a fair amount in my limited observations.

                            The white/European cultural system (the cultural component of white supremacy) says white people = good people.

                            White awareness of white supremacy and that injustice you describe triggers a response of image management. This is not a psychological response, but a collective-based one, a cultural response. It may or may not be a conscious response.

                            The response of image management is about being seen as a good white person. Not ending white supremacy -- but being perceived as good inside the injustice. There is a threat to the person's/people's sense of being good. A threat to the individual and more importantly collective identity. So "I'm/we're the conscious/aware ones" is a move to manage the image -- not end white supremacy.

                            This is where I'm coming from in what I initially wrote. The sequence of moves you describe is not something that I accept as inevitable and in fact it's not something I have seen happen a whole lot.

                            For example here in Tucson, a white-run/white-majority immigrant rights group has in the past sucked a lot of resources and attention from the local and national movement and placed itself and its white "heroes" at the center (I don't know what's happening now as I've been out of the loop for a few years now). When I was attending to this, one of my friends named their approach as "white savior" and that was certainly the energy I picked up. It's about appearing to be the good ones. Some good stuff might get done in the process, but  that's not the core.

                            I don't know that you and I will come to any sort of agreement. It's fine with me if not.

                            What's at stake, it seems to me, is use of time and energy and resources. It seems to me that collectively, the amount of time and energy and resources needed to raise white awareness is almost infinite, or it can be. I hope that people who advocate for this use of time and energy and resources are doing so based on something solid and not just a theory. I don't know what it is for you.

                          •  Thanks for this thoughtful comment (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Michellebird

                            I believe that you are correct: the "white savior" concept is a close relative to the "white privilege" one, and a far more likely outcome to this focus than any constructive action that would actually change things.

                            But I think the more fundamental dynamic that I've seen at play in these situation is just basic group consciousness. If people of color and their supposed "allied" force white people to somehow "own" their whiteness in terms of the "injustices" that their people have perpetrated, I think the most likely outcome is that white people will retreat into whiteness as a defensive measure, thereby breaking up the coalition for positive progressive change that sometimes moves things forward for all people, most of all people of color.

                          •  I'm not talking about a theory (0+ / 0-)

                            sigh...

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:12:15 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  that's good! (0+ / 0-)

                            If you're not talking from (for me it would be from, not about) a theory, then you are very likely in a place to consider outcomes that don't fit into how you see things. And if you can consider what doesn't fit into what you  described, then you have more flexibility in deciding how best to use time and energy based on what's actually happening.

                            Glad to know you're not coming from theory here.  Sounds like we've just seen different things.

                          •  good question (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            expatjourno, Pilkington
                            If all white people became aware of white privilege, then what?

                            Well, you know, white awareness of white privilege leads to ... um, well, um ... well ... it's a hard question, you know, but it's got to be important because if it wasn't important, how could we justify all those conferences and paying white people to do anti-racism work?

                            :)

                            And as we all know from our own experience and observation, white people can engage in discourse endlessly, about pretty much any subject (including very radical-sounding ideas) without ever threatening white supremacy itself.
                            Source of that quote
                          •  White privilege leads to obvious (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            princss6

                            racial hierarchy and hegemony. That's a lower-order notion and is somewhat off-topic from this discussion.

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:24:29 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Don't worry about me worrying about you! (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Agathena, orestes1963

                Believe me, I don't spend much time worrying about what white people think one way or the other. That's part of what I try to impart to other black people as much as possible: white people aren't spending that much time thinking about you, and you really don't need to spend that much time thinking about them.

      •  Are you making an accusation of sockpuppetry? (0+ / 0-)

        Because that reminds me that people are supposed to back up such accusations with proof.  But we understand, you're "just asking", like when Republicans are "just asking" if Obama might not really be a native born citizen.

        "Pragmatists don't DO things! They explain to you how things CANNOT be done." - AndyS In Colorado

        by Uberbah on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:26:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Did you get some sort of perverse pride (10+ / 0-)

      in acknowledging

      most of us living today have had opportunities that they couldn't even have dreamed about
      that being an American gives you advantages not open to non-Americans?  Are you in a tizzy about it?

      Is there something bizarre about looking at the numbers and acknowledging reality?

      •  Are you an American (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        naus

        and self deprecating? Or a non-American and envious? just wondering.....

        It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

        by AKA potsi on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:58:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well first of all, I was referring to (5+ / 0-)

        our ancestors here in this country who dealt with slavery and Jim Crow and all of the rest, and who would be amazed if they walked amongst us to see the opportunities that we have today.

        Clearly, there's nothing wrong with looking at reality and making certain statements about it. African-Americans went through some bad things in the past. African-Americans are disproportionately on the bad side of a lot of statistics today. Racism continues to exist.

        But I'm talking about statements like this:

        I want to believe the country is heading towards more egalitarianism, more acceptance and understanding.  But to find as much denial as I did among the rest of my fellow classmates just depresses the hell out of me.
        Pre-DK, I was as ignorant as any of the people in my class are now.
        As a white person, I'm able to tap reserves of familial wealth simply not available to most people of colour.
        I'm in a college class, and the ideas being thrown around are incredibly ignorant of the history and pervasiveness of racism.  

        So basically, you're questioning the commitment of your fellow classmates to egalitarianism, acceptance and understanding because they haven't read Adept2U's diaries at Daily Kos like you have in order to cure their "ignorance", such that they could then become aware of how the things they have in life are not the result of their hard work, or that of their parents, grandparents, etc., but of "white privilege".

        As I said, bleh . . .

        The vast majority of white people don't have family money either, and plenty of blacks do. Your parents, grandparents, whoever worked hard, invested, saved, sacrificed so that you would have it easier in life than they did. Kudos to them, and shame on you for belittling their accomplishments by claiming that they were just a result of "white privilege".

        •  I still think we're talking past each other. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mamamedusa, princss6

          I'm not belittling my parents and grandparents at all.  I'm acknowledging that, due to racial bias, they had to compete against a smaller labor pool for higher paying jobs, because it was next to impossible for people of colour to even be considered for the jobs they had.

          The fact that i now have to look for a job in places that specifically set aside positions for minorities is a direct result of the attempt to reverse the effects of them being specifically denied a chance to acquire such jobs in the past.

          •  Just by way of curiousity . . . (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Uberbah, mamamedusa, princss6

            . . . what places do you know about that "specifically set aside positions for minorities"? You don't have to name names, but in the vast majority of cases of which I'm aware there are never positions "specifically set aside for minorities,"; there's just a "plus" given to minority candidates in the application process.

            •  Apologies, I was speaking sloppily. The (0+ / 0-)

              way things are set up in the places I've been have, as you say, have specifically used race as a factor, not the factor in hiring or admissions decisions.  I was sloppily passing along the view of the people in my class who had posted in such absolutist terms.  

              •  OK, back to your original comment though (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                superheed

                Of course I'm proud of the privileges that we have as Americans that people in other countries don't have. That's the point of establishing a country based on certain principles and then improving on them and building it up.

                We've fought numerous wars, we defeated the British colonialists, we abolished slavery, we liberated territories from Russian, Spanish (nee Mexican), and French rule and gave them the same freedoms established under our Constitution, and they've prospered, we defeated the Nazi's, the Communists, and now we're at work against the Islamists.

                Along the way we've extended our conception of human liberty from just property owning white men, to all white men, to white men and women, to all men and women (at least in law), and we're working on exporting those concepts internationally, as well as some of the nonviolent, pro-democracy methodologies by that change has managed to occur.

                Yes, I'm proud of all of that, and I could even be worked up into a "tizzy" to defend it.

        •  Oh man. I've read all of you comments- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          foufou, princss6

          but I still don't get your overall point.  

          Are you trying to make the argument that white privilege does not exist?  Or that it exists, but is irrelevant?  Or that nothing is gained by acknowledging its existence?  Or that only black people should give a shit about inequality because they're the ones most directly impacted?  Or that "not thinking about white people" will lead to more equal treatment?  

          Not trying to put words in your mouth, you might not believe any of the above-- but I am curious to know what you do believe.

          •  No, mostly yes, mostly yes, no, and no (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            naus, orestes1963, cumulo

            A lot of it comes down to "what's the purpose" of this attempt to get white people to understand that they are beneficiaries of white privilege? Why is it a separate discussion than racial discrimination?

            I'm concerned about racial discrimination, wherever it exists. If there is someone in power making decisions on the basis of race, I'd like to see it stopped. But I don't need white people to acknowledge that somehow everything that they have in life is a result of pro-white discrimination in order to fight against anti-black (or other people of color) discrimination.

            For the most part, I do believe that people have what they have in life because they (or their parents, or grandparents) worked for it, and to reduce it all to white privilege I think is kind of an insult to not only that work, but also to all of the trials and tribulations that nearly all of our ancestors have worked for.

            I live in Los Angeles. In my world, if someone's not black, they're likely to be of Mexican descent. If not that of Central American descent. If not that Asian. If not that Jewish. If not that Armenian. If not that Irish. And that's not to mention issues within groups around sexual orientation, gender, class, etc. Tell me who amongst us does not have incredible suffering and oppression in their background?

            We can unite around the principle that right here and right now, nobody should be discriminated against based on their race. There's much work to be done on that front, because it still happens far too often. But once we delve into these realms where we try to figure out who suffered in the past more, and who really does or doesn't deserve what they have, and how can we get other people to understand how fortunate they are and unfortunate we are, etc., I don't see any basis for unity or progress there. I just see endless acrimony, defensiveness, bitterness, division, etc.

          •  It sounds like this person (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vcmvo2, blindyone, foufou

            has bought the American Myth that "successful" people are successful only/mostly because they earned it and deserve it.  Those who have less are just a bunch of lazy whiners.  

            That if there stories in the black community which are not successful it is because they aren't appreciative enough of their great fortune to be born in the grand ole' US of A, the best place on earth, and are therefore indulging in a victim complex.

            And that whites (and blacks too?) who point out injustice are just patronizing fools bent on keeping the "failures" failing so they can indulge in their guilt.  

            As in white guilt feeds the victim complex.  Or something like that.  Sounds very Clarence Thomasish.

            •  I'd be interested... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vcmvo2, foufou

              in hearing Pilkington's response to your question.  

              If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

              by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:25:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Would've been easier for me to do so (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo

                had he addressed it to me, but here's what I would say to that:

                It sounds like this person has bought the American Myth that "successful" people are successful only/mostly because they earned it and deserve it.  Those who have less are just a bunch of lazy whiners.

                Most of the successful people that I know did earn it and do deserve it. They studied hard in school, worked hard at their jobs, took care of their families, lived within their means, and now they are enjoying the fruits of their efforts. Did luck, talent and the advantages of birth play roles as well? In many cases, yes, but that's the price of living in a society where hard work, luck, talent and good parenting are valued and rewarded economically. None of us want to live in a society where the opposite is the case, where everyone is forced into mediocrity regardless of their hard work, luck, talent and parenting.

                No, I don't think that "those who have less are just a bunch of lazy whiners". As I said, the fact that some have more and some have less in our society is the price that we pay for setting up a system that values and rewards those things mentioned above. Not everyone can have as much as everyone else, and so whether it's a lack of hard work, luck, talent or the circumstances of birth, there will be those who end up with less. I see no need to make a moral judgment about them, and to the extent that they not only have "less", but they also have "not enough to live decently", I fully support charitable and/or governmental programs to help them.

                That if there stories in the black community which are not successful it is because they aren't appreciative enough of their great fortune to be born in the grand ole' US of A, the best place on earth, and are therefore indulging in a victim complex.

                I'm well aware of the many societal factors that exist that prevent more black people in America from achieving success, but the bottom line is that those who have dedicated their lives to pursuing success, who studied hard and stayed in school, who were hard-working and reliable workers, who took care of their families, who lived within their means, etc., for the most part have been able to achieve success.

                Take just one factor, by way of example: marriage. The poverty rate for black people in married-couple families (10%) is below the poverty rate for America in general (13%). So, with something as simple as a wedding ring, blacks can put themselves into a statistical category that is more advantaged than the society as a whole.

                Yes, you can argue that there are economic/structural reasons that we don't get married at the same rates that we use to, but those same kinds of reasons did not stop our grandparents from getting married, nor are they currently stopping Hispanics from getting married.

                So, it's not about having a "victim complex". It's simply trying to properly identify the actual causes of black suffering in the United States so that maybe they can begin to be addressed in a substantive way.

                And that whites (and blacks too?) who point out injustice are just patronizing fools bent on keeping the "failures" failing so they can indulge in their guilt.  

                What's patronizing to me is to have white people running around trying to "own" their "white privilege" by downplaying the accomplishments of those who worked hard to get where they are, and by attributing whatever problems blacks might be having in various ways to their lack of said privilege. I didn't call them "fools" and I didn't accuse them of wanting to keep blacks failing so they can indulge their guilt.

                Wrt Clarence Thomas, I'm not a particular fan of his, but I do think it's an insult to judge him, a sitting Supreme Court justice, based on his views on racial matters, which rarely come before the court these days, as opposed to the body of jurisprudence that he's developed over the past twenty years, some of which is quite noteworthy quite aside from questions of race. I mean do you really think it's right to reduce the twenty year record of a sitting SCOTUS justice to kind of a caricature of some off-hand things that he might have said about racial matters over the years?

                •  Just as an aside (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  foufou
                  Most of the successful people that I know did earn it and do deserve it. They studied hard in school, worked hard at their jobs, took care of their families, lived within their means, and now they are enjoying the fruits of their efforts. Did luck, talent and the advantages of birth play roles as well? In many cases, yes, but that's the price of living in a society where hard work, luck, talent and good parenting are valued and rewarded economically.

                  And many unsuccessful people earned it and deserve it, but don't have it.  I did all of the things that you noted, and now, thanks to factors beyond my control, the 'fruits of my efforts' are on the paltry side.

                  hard work, talent, etc, are not always rewarded economically.  It's a crapshoot and influenced by all sorts of things, many of which, but not all, having links to things like, oh, .... white privilege.  Not always, of course, because I'm white, and still doing pretty poorly right now, despite 10 years hard work for a rich employer, nearly 20 years of schooling, retraining to new fields that were supposed to have a ton of jobs, living within my means, etc, etc, etc.

                  •  Seems like you somewhat proved my point (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pozzo

                    I was clear that "luck" is definitely a part of the picture, as are talent and circumstances of birth. It's not all about hard work. But to be really successful requires a combination of all of that, and to be really on the down and outs requires a combination of a lack of most of it. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.

                    But it seems like a contradiction that you accept this theory of white privilege even though it doesn't correspond to your own experience.

                    There are a million and one factors out there that can affect a person's fortunes. Yes, their race is one of them, but there's so much more as well, and it's hard to know what's determinative in any given case. What we do know is that plenty of white people are poor and struggling, and plenty of black people are doing very well for themselves. So, if race is a factor, it's clearly not dispositive by itself.

                    •  Well, that's what we call (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      foufou

                      'anecdotal' vs 'statistical'.

                      But it seems like a contradiction that you accept this theory of white privilege even though it doesn't correspond to your own experience.

                      My particular case, your particular case, any particular case will always be 'anecdotal'.  We all represent one tiny blip on the curve that describes the entire set of data, and we can be anywhere on that curve, so we don't really say anything about the curve as a whole.  The curve as a whole - everybody's data - shows the real story.

                      •  It's also individual and personal (0+ / 0-)

                        responsibility and accountability versus group consciousness and collective guilt.

                        Let me ask you this . . . if white privilege is the cause of white success, does that mean that "Asian privilege" is even stronger than white privilege, given that Asians are on average more successful than white people?

                        •  I think that (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          foufou
                          44.1 percent of Asians in the U.S. have a Bachelor’s degree or higher– almost twice the U.S. national rate of 24.4 percent. And Asian Indians in the U.S. have a rate nearly three times the national average: 63.9 percent have graduated from college. 16.

                          45 percent of Asians in the U.S. work in management, professional, or related occupations – above the U.S. national rate of 34 percent. Once again, Asian Indians are even further ahead: 59.9 percent are in management, professional, or related occupations. 17.

                          accounts for that 'more successful'.  Unlike native americans or blacks, asian americans haven't suffered centuries of oppression in the US.   I don't have the book in front of me, but in one of our texts that talks about the patterns of various asian ethnicity migrations it suggests that the bulk of current asian-americans are first or second generation immigrants at best.  And they're coming in better educated and wealthier to start with in many cases.

                          •  Well, that's another tautology (0+ / 0-)

                            which for some reason this thread is full of: "Asians are more successful because they're more educated and work in more lucrative jobs". Umm . . . yeah.

                            For the record, the success rate of Asian kids living in poverty is, with the exception of a couple of sub-ethnic groups, pretty much in line with the rest. There are many low-income public schools in Asian neighborhoods in places like California turning out heaps of top-scoring graduates moving on to UC schools, etc.

                            I mentioned up thread that the poverty rate for blacks living in married-couple families is lower than it is for American as a whole.

                            I don't think you can escape the basic reality that if you study hard, stay in school, work hard, take care of your family, your chances of being successful in America are certainly not guaranteed, but yes, pretty similar regardless of race.

    •  rofl I almost lost my shit on this comment. (9+ / 0-)

      and only 'almost' because of this line, otherwise it'd have been a done deal:

      I know I only speak for myself

      I'm sure you speak for some others as well but you damn sure don't speak for me.

      "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

      by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:05:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know if the US being the best place (5+ / 0-)

      in the world for blacks changes anything: after all, blacks did their part in making it so, and like everyone else, have a right to its full benefit.  

      So comparisons are still appropriate, esp. since we make a big deal out of equality and civil rights as one of the reasons the US is the best place.

      And

      hardly any of us are descended from an endless line of people born with silver spoons in their mouths.

      Not endless and not silver, just the last coupla centuries.  I don't know why I have to show that I'm the actually son of the Czarina in order to note a social phenom.

      If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

      by Inland on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:06:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course blacks have the right to the full (0+ / 0-)

        benefits of U.S. citizenship, and the great thing is, we have them!

        And yes, I'm using "silver spoon" obviously in a broader sense, but the point remains the same: nearly everyone in the U.S. has oppression of some sort in their background.

        •  Nope: everyone in the US can point to ancestors' (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vcmvo2, timewarp

          oppression of some sort.

          I think you're confusing "I'm being oppressed because of my background" with "There's oppression in my background" with "oppression in my background affects me today".

          If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

          by Inland on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:41:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Where do you draw that line? (0+ / 0-)

            Do you think that Jews are unaffected by oppression in our "background"? Armenians? Appalachian/Scots-Irish?

            And what about the millions of blacks who are doing quite well in the United States? If racism today is such a powerful factor, why is that West Indian and African immigrants tend to do about as well if not better than the average white American?

            Wouldn't it better to just say that we all have fucked up shit that happened to our ancestors in the past, but we're all now ultimately responsible for the consequences of our own actions here in the present, notwithstanding the need to fight discrimination wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.

            •  It's a question of empirical fact. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              foufou, princss6, mallyroyal
              Wouldn't it better to just say that we all have fucked up shit that happened to our ancestors in the past,

              Because nobody cares about what's truly in the past.  It's the fact it's safely in the past that makes it irrelevant.

              Ever see the Notre Dame mascot?  Do you know why Irish Americans revel in a character based on all the most disgusting stereotypes out of the know nothing cartoons of the nineteenth century?

              Because the Irish are rich and powerful and the discrimination is way in the past.  It's just a story with an unambiguously happy ending.  

              And what about the millions of blacks who are doing quite well in the United States?

              It shows that racism and the burdens of racism aren't what they used to be.   But it's not like it's in the rear view mirror.

              If racism today is such a powerful factor, why is that West Indian and African immigrants tend to do about as well if not better than the average white American?

              I don't know that to be the case at all.  What I do know is that today, lots of immigrants come to this country with advantages, like educations and no criminal records, things that are systematically difficult for blacks.  And it helps that they have the PR point of doing better.  Just saying.

              we're all now ultimately responsible for the consequences of our own actions here in the present

              I don't think anyone's saying differently.

              If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

              by Inland on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:39:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well it is the case that West Indian and (0+ / 0-)

                African immigrants have average incomes that are more or less equivalent to whites. Here's an article that is little old, but not much has changed since then.

                And what kind of statement is "they come with educations and no criminal records," as if it's not possible for AA to get an education and stay out of trouble with the law.

                Are the Irish really "rich and powerful"? Certainly not the Scots-Irish, to start. I don't even know that Irish people in general would be much above the average for the U.S.

                And what about a group like Armenians? They are white, European, but suffered a genocide not that long in the past, and a lot of discrimination today.

                I'm glad we at least agree on the final point, which is all that I'm really trying to say.

                •  Sure, it's possible: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  princss6

                  just statistically less possible than for other races.  The failure of public education in minority communities and the way blacks are charged and punished for equivalent crimes is well documented.

                  Are the Irish really "rich and powerful"?

                  Both.

                  Certainly not the Scots-Irish, to start.

                  That being the shorthand for the white people who ended up in Appalachia.   But it's not the scots irish who made appalachia poor, but the other way around.   Take the exact same people, settle them somewhere else, and they become President.

                  Clinton is one of at least seventeen Chief Executives descended from emigrants to the United States from the north of Ireland. While many of the Presidents have typically Ulster-Scots surnames – Jackson, Johnson, McKinley, Wilson – others, such as Roosevelt and Cleveland, have links which are less obvious.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                  And what about a group like Armenians? They are white, European, but suffered a genocide not that long in the past, and a lot of discrimination toda

                  They're doing fine; as it turns out, arriving on these shores with nothing but white isn't such a bad deal.

                  If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

                  by Inland on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 04:23:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  If I could recommend you 100x (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pilkington

      times I would.

      Exactly on the mark.  And it's not only about race and ethnicity either.  The same goes for fat people, short people, disabled, the chronically ill or elderly people.  

      This diary doesn't at all advance racial relations or fix our disparity problems, all it did was take a correlation that everyone is well aware of and brand white privilege as the causation a priori.  

  •  From the discussions associated with (13+ / 0-)

    diaries like this one, you can tell how useful they are even for tolerant and liberal folks who usually align themselves with the Democratic Party.

    In the comment thread for TIMT's White Privilege diary of a day ago one commenter used the expression "race hustlers" which I thought was kind of a Rush Limbaugh specialty. I was tempted to call him out on it but I let it slide.  It is still there unchallenged by anyone last time I looked.

    And, another commenter seemed to claim that racism won't affect you unless you let it.  I guess that's the "Don't Worry Be Happy" method of dealing with institutional racism.  

    And, another person saw an Afro in a video where one didn't exist which kind of shows how eyewitness descriptions of individuals outside of the witness' racial group can be unreliable.

    - the habit of ignoring race is understood to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture - Toni Morrison

    by blindyone on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 08:54:10 PM PST

    •  One way for folk to identify privilege, of which (6+ / 0-)

      'white' is the one under discussion here, is to remember the stories Grandma and your folks told about what Grandma and anyone before her had to do to survive in the social world of the  US they arrived in or were born into, that sound awful, but have never happened to you and don't happen to your family anymore.  

      My kids when they were growing up had trouble understanding the stories my husband and I told them of what it was like when we were their age, because the world has changed so much that a lot of that is like the story of another planet.

      The difference between the two stories is a way of seeing how life changed for your family when history moved on and your family or you became the recipients of the kind of privilege we're talking about here, compared to the less privileged status of the ancestors who told you about what it was like when they didn't have that and someone enforced it against them, and what they did about it.

    •  Damn if I say it you can slap me right here nt (0+ / 0-)

      "Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand."

      by otto on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:36:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Privilege is a complex topic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uberbah, orestes1963

    Thicker concepts of privilege, in particular, rely on a lot of assumptions that  are going to make the theory sound dicey to people that aren't already on board w/ the project.  For example, this passage from the essay:

    Being white enables me to decide whether I am going to listen to others

    Unless you're on board w/ the theory of privilege already, you'll probably think something like, "that doesn't make you white, it just makes you an asshole."

    Given all the presuppositions that inform the essay, it seems like a pretty poor choice for an intro-ish class.

  •  Privilege is a complex area (0+ / 0-)

    that builds off all sorts of assumptions, rhetoric, and discursive strategies from other fields (notably post-colonial theory).  Unless one is already on board w/ those assumptions, it'll be unconvincing at best and ridiculous-sounding at worst.  See, eg, this passage:

    Being white enables me to decide whether I am going to listen to others

    Rhetorically, unless one is familiar w/ the centrality of visibility in post-colonial theory, this just sounds like the English teacher from Beavis & Butthead.  Substantively, the author is trying to speak for white people generally, and someone not already on board w/ the assumptions will think, "that doesn't make you white, it just makes you an asshole.
    Race is a pretty important thing in medicine, and there are very strong and important critiques to make, but I think this essay is a pretty lousy choice for accomplishing that.  
  •  Privilege is a complex area (0+ / 0-)

    that builds off all sorts of assumptions, rhetoric, and discursive strategies from other fields (notably post-colonial theory).  Unless one is already on board w/ those assumptions, it'll be unconvincing at best and ridiculous-sounding at worst.  See, eg, this passage:

    Being white enables me to decide whether I am going to listen to others

    Rhetorically, unless one is familiar w/ the centrality of visibility in post-colonial theory, this just sounds like the English teacher from Beavis & Butthead.  Substantively, the author is trying to speak for white people generally, and someone not already on board w/ the assumptions will think, "that doesn't make you white, it just makes you an asshole.
    Race is a pretty important thing in medicine, and there are very strong and important critiques to make, but I think this essay is a pretty lousy choice for accomplishing that.  
    •  Could you state your assumptions about the class? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, mamamedusa, gramofsam1

      I get the impression your response may be based on different circumstances than I inferred, and/or different circumstances than the diary author's classroom experience.

      It appears to me the diary is one nursing student's assigned writing for a non-medical topic in nursing school. I suspect the intended lesson may have been mostly just to get students to consider the possibility that white privilege might exist and might matter to patients.

      From that perspective, then, it's difficult for me to read your last sentence without finding it a bit harsh. I'm not sure I would expect a nursing school instructor to expect nursing students to write about post-colonial theory.

      Do you ever read the blogs at Crooked Timber? Since Michael Berube quit writing his own blog, that's one of the alternate places one might find writing about visibility in post-colonial theory.

      Hope that's useful.

      Cheers

      •  That's pretty much what I mean (0+ / 0-)
        I suspect the intended lesson may have been mostly just to get students to consider the possibility that white privilege might exist and might matter to patients.

        I think that's right, and I think it's not a good selection for that purpose.  It's far too easy to dismiss and not at all persuasive for those that aren't already familiar w/ this area.  It's also has no immediate relevance to the medical field.  There has been a lot of interesting & empirically-grounded work on the operation of white privilege in medicine (studies assuming a white patient, and on and on); given the availability of more relevant and persuasive stuff on the topic, this essay was an odd choice by the prof.
        •  On the other hand-- (7+ / 0-)

          I get what you're saying here; I'm pretty careful in the courses I teach how I go about bringing in social justice issues, and especially race-related ones.

          I really struggle, though, with the ethics of keeping my predominantly White, upper-middle-class students comfortable.  The coddling of their sense of personal well-being is strongly intertwined with their Whiteness.  White privilege means having college professors worry about whether the assigned readings will make you uncomfortable.

          On the one hand, I want the readings and discussion to be effective in awakening the students to the realities of race-based disparities in health.  On the other hand, maybe by the time they're 20 years old and well on their way to a bachelor's degree, they should be prepared to suck it up and deal with some personal discomfort.  I mean, come on.  We expect them to read all kinds of challenging material-- much of which messes with their self-concept.  I've lost count of the number of students I've encountered who thought they were really good at science in high school, but who had devastating encounters with the realities of quantitative analysis in college-level science courses.

          Why is it unreasonable to expect them to bend their brains around this particular kind of challenging material?

          •  planting a seed, (4+ / 0-)

            Even if there is resistance and rejection, it could just click in an aha moment down the line.

            And you know your comment - it just occurred to me - why is it acceptable to - in middle and high school - teach Huck Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird which use the n-word ?? and your college level students can't read some material that makes them uncomfortable???

            What is the most loving thing I can do, right now? Rev Dr Mary Harrington

            by sberel on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:52:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  As the student in the class, I'm taking it (6+ / 0-)

        as an exercise to get us to further exercise introspection and cultural awareness and sensitivity.  We're taught that the first step in dealing with the cultural differences between patients is to become aware of our own prejudices and biases.

        Being aware of the differences of our own internal perceptions of society and the reality of society opens up our awareness of bias.

  •  There is no white privilege... (0+ / 0-)

    When you normalize the data for education and socioeconomic status there is very little difference...

    Your diary while written in a respectful tone is simply wrong and disgusting and racism of the highest form.

    There is more correlation between discrimination between those who have parents and grandparents who are college graduates and those who have never finished high school than there is corellation based on the color of the skin of an individual.

    Finally, diaries like this perpetuate the myth that people of color are inferior to whites and need assistance to compete in society.  At the current point in time is there economic equality...no...but is there economic ability to suceed based on socioeconomic status the same...absolutely...

    The poor white person from appalacia faces similar challenges to the poor black person in harlem to breaking out of the cycle of poor and crime...

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:47:05 AM PST

    •  Prove it. (19+ / 0-)

      This diarist (and others) cite sources that point out the AVERAGE black person is far worse off than the AVERAGE white person.

      You simply say that's wrong and call it racism. Absurd.

      When you normalize the data for education and socioeconomic status there is very little difference...

      I highly doubt that and have read evidence to the contrary. Please "show your work", as all the math teachers would tell us.

      "If you think the other side is EVIL, you're part of the problem." -Chris Matthews

      by malharden on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:04:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Race and Home Ownership, 1900-1990 (13+ / 0-)

      Read it: http://www.helium.com/...

      When you normalize the data for education and socioeconomic status there is very little difference...

      You can't normalize education and socioeconomic status when the differences are literally the legacy of institutionalized racism. To deny that is to deny that Brown v. Board of Education was properly decided.

      By the way, that link at the top includes the statistic that, in 1960, 24.2% of whites held mortgages compared to 18.6% of black households. When N=several million, that's statistically significant.

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      by opendna on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:23:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is the wrong... (0+ / 0-)

        and misleading statistic...the question is do blacks with equivalent education and income hold mortages in similar statistics than whites do...

        Obama - Change I still believe in

        by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:53:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's no way to do statistics. (6+ / 0-)

          How do you propose to find differences in education and wealth when comparing groups with equal education and wealth?

          If you find that blacks with equivalent education and income still hold mortgages in lower rates, will you then also control for the size of their inheritance? And if you find no difference between home ownership rates between samples of groups with education, equal income and inheritance, will you then conclude that race has no influence on education, income or inheritance for the whole population?

          Come on. Would you also have us look for wage discrimination only among people who were paid the same?

          That's no way to do statistics.

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          by opendna on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:37:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No I would look at wage discrimination... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk

            where someone who has the exact education and experience is making a statistically different salary than another person...

            Obama - Change I still believe in

            by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:47:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  There is not one way to compile statistics (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dvogel001

            When you take into account a Bill Gates and Warren Buffett (to name just two extremely wealthy white people), median statistics can be skewed by the fact that there are far fewer AA's with the same level of wealth.  If one were to look at the statistics between similarly situated white and black Americans we would get a better understanding of the inequities encountered by average Americans.  I would expect that no one would argue that there are not far more wealthy white Americans than black Americans.  

      •  And I completely reject your assertion that (0+ / 0-)

        just because I am against racism in this diary that it means I disagree with Brown vs Bd of Education...

        Obama - Change I still believe in

        by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:02:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That wasn't my assertion at all. (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vcmvo2, dmh44, mamamedusa, kat68, foufou, gramofsam1

          I'm not responding to the diary. I'm responding to your comments, which are confused at best.

          My assertion was that

          You can't normalize education and socioeconomic status when the differences are literally the legacy of institutionalized racism. To deny that is to deny that Brown v. Board of Education was properly decided.

          You do, apparently disagree with Brown vs Board of Education because you insist that we should only compare between equal levels of wealth and education even when education was separate and unequal.

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          by opendna on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:32:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Education should be given equally to... (0+ / 0-)

            poor and rich alike regardless of the color of your skin...which is my point and I do not disagree with the court decision...it was about segregation and has nothing to do with this topic...

            Obama - Change I still believe in

            by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:36:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What? History is irrelevant? (7+ / 0-)

              You think the legacy of segregation has nothing to do with white privilege? I think you might be confused about how much is encompassed by the term "white privilege". White privilege is about being able to enjoy the benefits of racial discrimination, past and present, without having to recognize their them.

              It is a white privilege to insist that there is equal opportunity among equivalent socioeconomic strata while also ignoring the racial policies which predisposed the distribution of socioeconomic strata along racial lines.

              South African whites and blacks of equal socioeconomic strata have equal opportunities today. Would you use that fact to argue that Apartheid is irrelevant to enduring inequalities across the entire population of that country? If not, I might wonder why you would you assert otherwise for Jim Crow laws in the US, which ended only a generation before Apartheid.

              I can think of a half dozen different reasons, none having to do with you being a racist, but there's no profit in engaging in that kind of pop psychology.

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              by opendna on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:07:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That is right... (0+ / 0-)

                a 5 generation white person with no HS diploma is as discrimintated against as a 5th generation black person with no HS diploma...

                See my diary

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                Obama - Change I still believe in

                by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:42:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Bullshit. (8+ / 0-)

                  A 5th gen. white person with no HS diploma, who doesn't look like a street person, can walk into any store to buy a loaf of bread or a razor or cheap pair of shoes and get no attention whatsoever until they go to check out and pay for their purchase.  Even then, the checker may not remember them for five minutes, if the store is busy.

                  A 5th gen. black person with or without a a HS diploma CAN NOT walk into the same store without being noticed, eyed suspiciously and even followed.  And they will be remembered.  As Black, tho less likely that observer will remember much else.  Height and weight only, if not "medium."

                  You want humans not to be human.  The dominant color ALWAYS notices the minority.  It's the way we're wired and no amount of denial can change it.  There IS NO SUCH THING as "color blind" when it comes to human skin color.  Never will be.  Unless we all evolve to complete real blindness.

                  We can, however, aspire to non-bias, non-prejudice, non-judgement based on skin color.  And definitely to aspire to rooting out the bias and discrimination enshrined in our public institutions.

                •  LOL (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dmh44, mamamedusa, foufou, princss6

                  Five hundred years of power elites using race to pit poor whites against poor blacks, and you want to put the blame for the Southern Strategy entirely on DailyKos diaries with the "race" tag. Replied.

                  Groups: Toolbox and Trolls... to preserve the best & the worst of DailyKos.

                  by opendna on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:32:07 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  nonsense (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dmh44, foufou

                  A second example from me about how I benefit from white privilege.  

                  Over the past three years, I have been pulled over by the police 3 times.  

                  All three times, I was in the wrong.  (One time was questionably my fault.)  

                  Once, I got a ticket and the officer told me that I could get it removed if I went to the magistrate.  I did, and it was.  

                  One time, I lied directly to the officer's face with my kids in the back seat of the car.  He let me go.  

                  Another time, I just smiled and nodded.  The officer berated me, but let me go.

                  Three times I was pulled over for mostly legitimate reasons.  None of the times did I have any lasting punishment.

                  I'm sure that the immediate reaction is going to be that I can't know that my race was what kept me from getting into trouble.  Sure.  I can understand that.  

                  The thing I would have to ask is whether I would have had such fortune were I not a white guy.   It's not like my middle classness is apparent in my choice of cars.  I drive a crappy 97 Ford station wagon.  I looked like a poor white guy.

                  "Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand."

                  by otto on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:04:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sure you can say that... (0+ / 0-)

                    but that is more age privilege than race privilege...when I was a teenager with my long hair and big old car...the cops never gave me a break or the benefit of the doubt...

                    Now as a dad and mature looking...they give me the benefit of the doubt all the time...

                    Obama - Change I still believe in

                    by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:28:03 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  No one is debating the fact that poor, uneducated (7+ / 0-)

                  ...White Americans will experience SOME form of discrimination as a result. However, you seem intent in asserting that because one or two variable are consistent among the races (i.e. no H.S degree, several generations poor) that Whites somehow experience equivalent discrimination when compared to minorities.

                  I'm sorry, but that doesn't even come close to passing the laugh test.

                  If you really want a clue as to the absurdity of your contention here, name me ONE long-standing belief commonly and negatively held against White Americans. African-Americans have been, throughout history, been incorrectly coined "lazy", "ignorant" and the sort. Hispanic-Americans have been slurred...same with Native Americans, Asian-Americans...hell...even Jews have been labeled "greedy".

                  What prejudices have White Americans been subjected to..."too country club"?

                  We're at WAR politically, fellow Democrats. Consider this soldier back from hiatus - effective immediately.

                  by APA Guy on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:06:12 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There are many examples (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dvogel001

                    of prejudicial attitudes towards white people.  These are usually made at the ethnic level.  White people, in my experience, don't tend to identify so much as white as they do by their ethnic origin.  Surely, you've heard all kinds of negative ethnic stereotypes of various white peoples, no?

                    •  ..and how do you know which ethnicity... (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mahakali overdrive, foufou, princss6

                      a White person is unless he/she tells you? Sure, one can hazzard an ignorant guess if someone has red or dark curly hair (or a name assumed to be of a certain ethnicity) and the like, but no one really knows for certain.

                      To me, that is a false equivalency. African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and Native-Americans cannot hide their race - nor can they avoid the prejudice that unfairly accompanies it.

                      Regading White racial identity, I'm not sure what part of the country you have called home, but I have lived in Indiana for the greater part of my life. Not once have I EVER heard a White person identify his/her ethnicity i.e. Irish, German, etc. White and White alone has been the word used to describe race, and those I have interacted with have NEVER expressed so much as a single instance of racism leveled at them.

                      We're at WAR politically, fellow Democrats. Consider this soldier back from hiatus - effective immediately.

                      by APA Guy on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 04:59:22 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Come across the border into SW Ohio ;) (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mahakali overdrive

                        You'll meet a hell of a lot of German Americans ;)  I spent my formative years listening to Gepheardt Ehrler's German Sunday Concert, eating Schmidt's sausage and lots of kraut, and celebrating Maifest and Oktoberfest.  Now we did speak English more than German at home, but being told to do something in German was no excuse for not doing it.  You weren't allowed to say you didn't understand :P

                        But we're a hell of a lot more homogenous a group and ethnically fixated than most Americans, that I will grant you.

                        •  I am Jewish and agree (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          foufou, princss6, Ezekial 23 20

                          since in my house, well my earlier years were in Hawaii with a multiracial "family," but by my elementary years, I was living in a Jewish area where white kids were "not Jewish." My memories from that period, with my grandparents who lived nearby, are of Yiddish being spoken, lots of Bar Mitzvah's, sitting Shiva and lot of fruit baskets, Passover, hamantaschen, endless conversations about the Shoa, sitting in Temple, and being told I'd grow up to marry a doctor or a lawyer, play your violin, you must work 18 hours a day or you're meshuggenuhs, and my dad had an awesome Jewfro.  

                          And I am blonde and can pass for several different ethnicities, but was "Jewish" until I moved to California, when I became "white" since apparently "Jewish" doesn't exist here in the same way it did back East, where I had the shit beat out of me for being Jewish. A fact evident only by my last name, moreover.

                          "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                          by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:16:00 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Plenty of ways... (0+ / 0-)

                        size of noses, surnames...facial features

                        Obama - Change I still believe in

                        by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:29:09 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  You are making a false equivalency (0+ / 0-)

                        The fact that you may not know the person's ethnicity factually is irrelevant in the same way that the actual race of a person is irrelevant.  It is the perception that governs- so that Obama is identified in the US as a black man even though he is of mixed race.  

                        Aside from that, it can be quite easy to identify various ethnicities by physical features, especially if you are raised in a multi-ethnic community (which was the case in most urban working class neighborhoods).

                        I have lived most of my life in the northeast (NYC and Phila), in which I would hazard most ethnicities are represented.  In the communities in which I have lived people always identified by ethnicity.  Indeed, neighborhoods were frequently given names on the basis of the ethnicity of the majority of the residents.  There are also any number of nicknames (friendly) and slurs (not so friendly) used against various groups.  Heck, the mayor of NY just made a comment about drunken Irishpeople hanging out of the windows of an Irish center in his neighborhood.  

                        I would encourage you to reconsider your view that white people are not subject to any demeaning stereotypes.  It's a myopic view, from my experience.

                        •  Again, your words do not match my experiences... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sberel

                          That doesn't make you right...or me for that matter. Perhaps the harsh reality is, these sorts of things vary by person.

                          We're at WAR politically, fellow Democrats. Consider this soldier back from hiatus - effective immediately.

                          by APA Guy on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:13:54 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It's not about right or wrong (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't understand how right and wrong are at all implicated in this discussion.  I merely pointed out that from my experience in cities in the NE of the country, there is a lot of ethnic identification and some ethnic slurring as well.  

                            Furthermore, the fact that my words don't match your experiences is irrelevant as I am sharing my experiences living in the NE of the country, where, I presume, you have never lived.  It's either myopic or self-absorbed to reject the experience I shared with you simply because it doesn't match your experience.  Frankly, that's an ignorant position.  

                            I did not challenge your experience that in Ohio people identify solely as white.  Frankly, I found it interesting because it is different from my experiences in the east.  I find sharing information and learning from it to be a valuable experience.  I guess we are just different that way.  

                    •  It's not about what you ID yourself as (5+ / 0-)

                      but about what society ID's you as.

                      That's where people get confused on this matter, IMHO. White privilege is NOT about the attitude that I, as a white person, might hold about myself, but rather how society views me.

                      I'm ethnically Jewish. I pass for white. This confused me for a while. Yet I have white privilege. This does not mean I possess something particularly awesome, and truth be told, I dislike being identified by society as white. Yet society does identify me as white, and because of this, it gives me things that it doesn't give these that it classifies as "not white."

                      Sometimes, if I darken my hair and am tanned, I don't pass for white (but am presumed Latino; this is a racially tense area for some Latinos). Then I know what it's like to be treated differently by society; it gives me perspective on the invisible way that society treats me differently compared with when I look much more white.

                      That is what white privilege MOST speaks to: how society treats you differently based on the race it perceives you to be.

                      Big difference!

                      "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                      by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:07:32 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I agree with your point (0+ / 0-)

                        but I don't see how it relates to what I said.

                        •  You were talking about the (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          foufou, princss6

                          importance of ethnic identification over white identification, which is a good notion, and so I was pointing out that even if you embrace an ethnic identification (like I can say, "I'm Jewish"), it doesn't change how society treats you; it treats you based on your skin color and what racial category it sticks you into.

                          That's the problem. Because otherwise, yes, it's excellent to embrace your heritage. It doesn't solve white privilege though. Because that's again, not about what you are, but what you're perceived to be that causes all of the problems.

                          I don't want to be white, because I have never really thought of myself that way (although my mother is white), and have had family die in the Holocaust as well as been subject to Antisemitism by some white people. And I grew up with an ethnically and racially eclectic extended family (I describe this at length in my last diary). But thus said, I'm called white and given white privilege. And so I'm very conscious of this so-called privilege, which troubles me since I don't want it, didn't ask for it, don't agree with it, and feel it's all around not a good thing, better to reject.
                           

                          "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                          by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:07:57 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting (10+ / 0-)

      So, if we have 100 purple people; 3 of which are college educated and millionaires, 97 which are not and poor, and we have 100 green people, 97 of which are college educated and millionaires; 3 of which are not and poor, we can conclude that college education is the single, greatest factor in determining who is rich and who is poor rather than who is purple and who is green.

      You need to brush up on your Stats 101.

    •  Racism of the highest order? (6+ / 0-)

      You have to be kidding me.  

    •  apologia noted. (17+ / 0-)

      and unsuprising.

      "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

      by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:07:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Look at infant mortality rates. (8+ / 0-)

      Babies born to Black mothers in this country are twice as likely to die in their first year of life as babies born to White mothers.  The pattern holds within every socioeconomic level, to the point that babies born to Black mothers with college degrees are more likely to die in the first year than babies born to White mothers with less than a high school education.

      I know you've encountered these facts before, because I've posted them in comment threads where you were making these assertions before.  Now you're demonstrating willful ignorance, which is a lot less tolerable than just being misinformed.

      •  So are you suggesting that... (0+ / 0-)

        regardless of means (wealth and health insurance) that doctors and nurses are actively trying to save more white babies than black babies...simply disgusting...

        There are genetic dispositions for some medical conditions that probably have some of the explaination...

        Obama - Change I still believe in

        by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:34:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's not a good argument (6+ / 0-)

          If you're going to make a claim  (that genetic dispositions are responsible), you can't say "probably" and then not show any evidence to support it. That's just throwing a random idea out there and hoping no one notices.

          What about the possibility that hospitals available to African Americans are more likely to be poorly staffed, poorly funded, or include employees who are not as well trained or experienced?

          What about the possibility that African Americans face different problems in terms of prenatal care, food, jobs, housing, etc.?

          If you are going to wade stridently into a sensitive topic like this (on either side), you need to show some courtesy and generosity towards the other side; you've shown neither.

          •  So turn that around... (0+ / 0-)

            and say hospitals available to poor people are not as good as hospitals for wealthy people has NOTHING FUCKING TO DO WITH COLOR OF SKIN

            Obama - Change I still believe in

            by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:39:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're right (11+ / 0-)

              And the fact that gay teens suffer higher rates of bullying has NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

              And the fact that women earn less than men HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR GENDER.

              And the fact that people with disabilities face higher rates of housing discrimination HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ABILITIES.

              I love your peachy little world where we are all equal, except for those of us who are not.

              P.S. I am not a crackpot.

              by BoiseBlue on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:48:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Turn that around... (0+ / 0-)

                Gay teens suffer more bullying because they are different than the majority

                Women make less than men for a variety of reasons including choices about child rearing and careers...

                People with disabilities face housing discrimination  because of higher costs of their housing requirements...

                Obama - Change I still believe in

                by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:53:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So you believe that you have no more (7+ / 0-)

                  of an advantage in this society than a gay person, a female, or someone with a disability?

                  P.S. I am not a crackpot.

                  by BoiseBlue on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:09:17 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Peronally no I do not... (0+ / 0-)

                    I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood, was bullied for being a "nerd", discriminated against in at least one college admittance because of my race, and I have had to pay twice as much for drinks at happy hour as women for decades...

                    In terms of housing, I had no special 3% down mortgage program to apply for (20% for me)

                    I was rejected in an interview because they wanted a person of color for a job when I got out of college...

                    I have been discriminated against on more than one occasion for being jewish (even though I am not religious)

                    I paid for school with summer jobs and savings and went at night for my MBA while working full time and did not get any scholarships.

                    When I was a teenager, I was pulled over routinely for fake "safety" stops on a weekly basis because I looked like a hippee.

                    Now I have made it from hard work...so I would have to say on balance I have had some things against me and some things for me...

                    Obama - Change I still believe in

                    by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:24:51 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Ah yes. The "Black babies naturally die... (12+ / 0-)

          ...more easily than White babies" counterargument.  That's rational, that one.  It makes perfect sense that (a) a category that is more cultural than biological correlates strongly with mortality rates, and that (b) descendants of a population that survived mass forced removal and transAtlantic transport as cargo, forced labor, multigenerational violence and malnutrition, and ongoing disproportionate exposure to various adverse conditions are predisposed to dying easily in infancy.

          Yes.  I am absolutely saying that doctors and nurses are actively trying to save more White babies than Black babies.  I say it because I've seen it with my own eyes, as a mother-baby nurse.  You bet your ass we invest more resources in helping White women carry pregnancies to term, and we definitely react to the death of a White baby as more of a tragedy than the death of a Black baby.

          If you've never personally handed a mother her dead infant to hold one last time before you sign the remains over to the funeral home, you need to back off on telling me about the realities of infant mortality in this country.

          •  Total and complete bullshit... (0+ / 0-)

            Doctors and nurses give exactly the same care to people regardless of their color of their skin the only differences is the quality of your insurance and the size of your wallet...

            Obama - Change I still believe in

            by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:41:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Buzz. I'm an RN. You're wrong. (14+ / 0-)

              The ideal is that everyone gets treated equally.

              The reality is that doctors and nurses struggle every day with their own biases and prejudices.  Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail.  We're human beings, with human flaws, and yes, being a doctor or nurse doesn't magically strip away your prejudices and biases.  Look at the percentage of prejudiced people in the greater population, and the percentage in the healthcare provider population isn't going to be much different.  Better, but not by much.

              •  Unfortunately... (0+ / 0-)

                I spent a lot of time in NYU for spinal neuro surgery...and the nurses there took care of everyone equally...and I got no special treatment because of my race...

                You know a lot of nurses are non-white and I think they would be aghast at your POV...

                Obama - Change I still believe in

                by dvogel001 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:32:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Of course I know it. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive, foufou

                  I went through nursing school with a lot of non-white nurses.  Heck, more than half of the docs at the local hospital weren't white either.

                  And they recognize my 'pov' as you put it as the truth.  People are human, with human flaws.   TBH, from what I've seen, the most common failing in how HCP treat patients lies not in race, but in religion.  There are a hell of a lot of HCP who cannot set their own religious ideas aside, even when attempting to work as patient advocates.

            •  You are absolutely wrong (8+ / 0-)

              And my observations and opions over 70+ years of life are just as valid as yours--because that's all you're basing your pronouncements on.

              I've seen the difference in care and difference in treatment in medical professionals, and every other kind of profession or job.  If you're white, you're all right--even if you smell bad.

              •  At a care-at-the-end-of-life conference a (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                vcmvo2, blindyone, foufou, princss6

                while back, the spokesperson from the black socialworkers group lit it up when she talked about the palliative care nonwhites get.  Try begging for any measures, let alone extraordinary ones.

                I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear--Martin Luther King, Jr.

                by conlakappa on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:17:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  You're talking to an OB nurse (9+ / 0-)

              who has done her fair share of perinatal bereavement care.

              I've handled some dead babies. I've sent women home empty-handed who came into my hospital expecting to go home with a baby.

              I've also done some number-crunching with national health statistics on infant mortality.

              I'm telling you, from every no-bullshit perspective available to human understanding, that thousands of babies die in this country every year as a consequence of institutionalized racism.  Most of those deaths are probably attributable to basic denial and not giving a shit on a social level. People are all too willing to chalk up poor prenatal care to irresponsible maternal behavior instead of investigating what the actual barriers to prenatal care are, if the mothers are Black.

              Some of them-- probably enough to be statistically significant-- can be chalked up to straight-up racism on the part of health care providers.  I've worked on a unit where a White woman whose water broke way before her fetus was viable was practically stood on her head to keep the baby in until it was mature enough to survive outside the womb, while a young Black woman with a raging (treatable) uterine infection didn't get appropriate antibiotic treatment-- certainly didn't get the stand-on-your-head, keep-it-in-just-a-little-longer continuous care-- and was allowed to lose her pre-viable pregnancy.

              I helped the White woman on and off a bedpan so she didn't have to stand up, over and over, for weeks.  I held that Black girl's hand while her baby died between her legs.  Don't you dare tell me this isn't a real phenomenon.

    •  Well, at least I agree with the last sentence (8+ / 0-)

      of what you wrote.  But as to the rest, I think you're playing chicken and egg.  People of colour are disadvantaged in regards to education and socioeconomic status very specifically because of outright racism and subtle prejudice.

      There is no implication that they are 'inferior to whites' at all in this diary.  That's your own imagination at work.

      Your comment displays the same ignorance of the history of racism that I see in my fellow students.

    •  Of course, it's the education and wealth (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dmh44, mamamedusa, foufou, gramofsam1

      that is precisely the big ticket items that ARE NOT normal.

      It's like saying that if everyone had a hundred bil, we'd all be as powerful as the Koch bros...ergo, we're all equal, despite the fact we don't..  

      If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

      by Inland on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:08:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cue G.W Bush's admission to Harvard... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foufou, princss6

        Yes, the guy earned a degree from the place. But had he been forced to apply based on his merits, he wouldn't have stood a chance.

        It's equality of opportunity that has long been (and continues to be) the roadblock for minorities in this country. It begins with the quality of education in grade school and extends to which colleges, universities, and graduate schools are available to the wealthy White versus poor minority students.

        We're at WAR politically, fellow Democrats. Consider this soldier back from hiatus - effective immediately.

        by APA Guy on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:11:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yale was the beginning of him (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vcmvo2, princss6

          falling up because of his family background.

          Harvard Business School has interesting selections though. For example, they admitted GWB's young asst who didn't even have a BA.

          - the habit of ignoring race is understood to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture - Toni Morrison

          by blindyone on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:23:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Try to think about it this way.... (5+ / 0-)

    I hear you re: your discouragement. I work in social services and meet with all sorts of people from all over the socio-economic spectrum. And yeah - most white people, including the highly educated, don't "see" their privilege. BUT: the fact that we're starting to have conversations about it? Progress. The fact that Kendall's piece was part of your class? Progress. The fact that you can google "white privilege" and get thousands of results? Progress.

    There was a time when the concept of 'privilege' was so outlandish it was easy to ignore. That time is gone. Now we're at the place where it's being discussed. That's progress.

    Lisa :)

    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:53:32 AM PST

  •  We're talking about systemic descrimination, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uberbah

    right? Because you keep using this weird term for it.

    I'm a concert pianist with a double doctorate... AND YOU CAN BE TOO!

    by kenlac on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:01:16 AM PST

    •  "discrimination" (0+ / 0-)

      Damn finger, damn eyes...

      I'm a concert pianist with a double doctorate... AND YOU CAN BE TOO!

      by kenlac on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:04:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sometimes (7+ / 0-)

      'White priviledge' can also encompass the inter-generational legacy of past discrimination, even after discrimination has been removed from the institutions.

      i.e. Some kid today can afford college because his grandparents left him a trust which was capitalized by a home, which was subsidized by a racist post-WWII-era housing policy. Today's educational policies may ban racial discrimination, but the benefits accrued in the past may endure today. Likewise the harm.

      Groups: Toolbox and Trolls... to preserve the best & the worst of DailyKos.

      by opendna on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:30:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't you see? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        opendna, sberel, foufou, princss6

        In 1964 America hit the "reset" button and everything is now peachy and equal. Everybody needs to just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and quit "whining".

        liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

        by RockyMtnLib on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:52:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but isn't this (0+ / 0-)

        socio-economic privilege as opposed to a privilege conferred by virtue of skin tone?  I understand the historical point that you are making, but not all white people have had those advantages.  In fact, many have seen their standard of living and opportunities for their children dissipate.  How does this fit into your model?

        I agree strongly that socio-economic benefits- which have historically benefitted certain white people- play a role in the continuing inequities in our society.  However,  in the discussions of white privilege around here, they are usually dismissed as irrelevant or secondary.

        •  I'd say they're linked, and linked strongly. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ezekial 23 20, orestes1963

          Certainly the two concepts should not be used interchangeably (no matter how many people will continue to go right ahead and do that anyway).

          But neither can they fully be decoupled, because the linkage is pretty clear. It's true that not all whites have social economic advantages, when looked at individually. But on the whole it's quite clear that whites are much more likely to have those advantages.

          This is the first discussion of "white privilege" I've been a part of here that was shaded in any meaningful way, and I'm relieved to see it happen at last. Especially in the face of so many diaries that screech "THIS is White Privilege!" Well, apparently it's not necessarily so.

          But just because someone is misapplying the term doesn't mean that the concept doesn't exist. So I'd say my position has shifted a bit, and I'm thankful at long last for the discussion and education.

          I'm a concert pianist with a double doctorate... AND YOU CAN BE TOO!

          by kenlac on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:10:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. I've learned something for a change. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ezekial 23 20

        See my reply to the other branch of this thread for more of my thoughts.

        I'm a concert pianist with a double doctorate... AND YOU CAN BE TOO!

        by kenlac on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:11:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Of course it exists (10+ / 0-)

    If it can be seen on a blog which probably represents the most liberal, most progressive demographic in this country, then you better believe it exists in the general populace.

  •  So I've benefited from... (0+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    soothsayer99, Miggles

    ...white privilege.  I know it exists.  Does this mean I have to apologize to every person of color I pass on the street?  Or is it enough to hold them to a lesser standard to make up for it?

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:41:29 AM PST

    •  Um, what??? (12+ / 0-)

      I'm tempted to hide-rate this comment - it seems really dismissive and insulting. Can you please explain further what you mean, maybe I'm misinterpreting.

      Lisa

      All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

      by Boston to Salem on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:24:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nope. Not at all. (14+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure exactly what the mechanism has been that has trained White people to short-circuit this conversation from "White privilege exists" to "my squirming discomfort with this concept immobilizes me."

      Acknowledging White privilege has exactly zero to do with guilt.  Acknowledging White privilege has exactly zero to do with apologies or lesser standards.

      Mostly, acknowledging White privilege exists means (for White people) cultivating the habit of checking one's assumptions about all things remotely race-related.  Whiteness in the U.S., as an unconsciously racialized identity, usually includes a set of assumptions about "us" being normal, usual, reasonable, etc.; while "they" are something else-- often something negative, but sometimes something irrationally aggrandized too (think Noble Savage, Wise Inscrutable Asian, or Strong Spiritual Black Woman).

      Beyond developing the "check yourself" habit, everything else depends on who you are, where you are, and who you encounter in your daily life.

      •  well expecting someone ... (0+ / 0-)

        ...to have a check yourself attitude could lead immobilization you know.  Especially when you don't know everything you should "checked" on.

        And when the "white privilege" is used to shut down conversations and demonize people it does kind of lead to guilt.  (Note HRs above)  I have benefited from white privilege.  Not a damn thing I can do about that.  And if I am offered a much needed job I am not going to stop and say. 'There has got to be an equal or better qualified person of color out there. Don't hire me'

        And you should be glad if I 'squirm with discomfort’ It is the people who are completely comfortable with the inherent racism in our society that you have to worry about.

        Oh and if I asked a person of color to have a ‘check yourself’ attitude that would be wrong wouldn’t it. (even if they already have one due to pervasive racism)

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:59:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  this is what i've always wondered (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch

      so we have white privilage? What do you do about it? Feel bad about (develop white guilt). When we get offered a job are we supposed to make sure that there was no black person also waiting to get that job?  Knowing it is all fine and dandy and so is complaining about it. But there's nothing you can do about it as a white person so the whole subject is moot.

      •  Oh well, nothing I can do. I'll ignore it. (13+ / 0-)

        That works so well for so many large-scale problems.  Nothing I can do about global warming; no point changing my personal carbon footprint.  Nothing I can do about politics-as-usual; no point voting.  Nothing I can do about labor rights; no point joining a union.

        That is a cop-out.  That's privilege, right there.  "It's not my problem, and I can't fix all of it instantly by myself, so I shouldn't bother paying attention at all."

      •  You don't have to feel guilty, and you can do (8+ / 0-)

        something.  Vote for Dems who support the continuation of programs to allow people of colour to catch up, economically and politically, to whites.  Educate others so that they don't fall for Republican lies about how Dems are just 'coddling' minorities, and letting them 'take yer jobs!'.

        Basically, win people over to the political party that doesn't use race as a political wedge, by showing them that you believe in fairness, that black people are not getting 'special perks' but merely a chance to play catch up.

        •  How does one catch up? (0+ / 0-)

          And to what are people of color catching up (ie, what is the standard)?  It seems to me that the best means of creating a more equitable society is not to divide disadvantaged people on the basis of their skin color, but to work to provide equitable opportunities for all.  I personally believe this is the means to overcoming racism in America.  I would argue that the efforts over the poast 40 years (affirmative action, etc.) have helped this process along greatly.  AA's are no longer segregated to certain jobs/industries, so the interactions among whites and blacks (all peoples really) have increased, which dispels prejudices and fears.  

          •  If one person start outs 20 yards behind and then (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mahakali overdrive, foufou

            'you provide equitable opportunities for all', that person will likely remain 20 yards behind.

            Think of life as a relay race, with each generation passing the baton along.  In AA families, the first runner was forced to start 45 seconds behind.  The next runner only had to wait 30 seconds after the handoff, the third 15 seconds.  So now, if we provide equitable opportunities for all, by allowing the final AA runner to start as soon as they receive the baton - just like the white runners, they're still at a minute and a half disadvantage.

            You have to provide programs to encourage and help promote the creation of minority-run businesses, to boost more AA's into college, into better jobs, not because of any deficiency in themselves, but simply because they're already starting at a disadvantage as a result of the greater disadvantages to their families in the past.

            If you read the marketwatch article I linked in the diary, or even just the paragraph after the link that came from it, you can see the system-wide disadvantages AA's are already struggling with.  Treating them 'equally' now simply means ignoring the fact that they're starting from a disadvantaged position.

            •  My queries (0+ / 0-)

              But you didn't address my primary point- what does it mean to catch up?  When is that achieved?  Surely, you must have some standard in mind, no?  

              As for attempts to bring AAs to parity, there have been programs in place publicly and privately for the past 40 years to address the historical disadvantage of race in America.  I endorse these attempts.  

              You misunderstand my point about equality for all.  If each underprivileged child were given a good education, decent medical care, and decent living conditions, their fortunes would rise together.  I don't see how providing these opportunities for some disadvantaged children but not others does anything to rectify the historical disparity.  The past cannot be undone.  Surely, you are not advocating that some children deserve opportunities more than others?  That would run counter to the whole enterprise of correcting the inequities in our society.

              •  TBH (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                foufou

                I think I'd have to write an entire 'nother diary to address all that's still missing from your suggestion.

                You're at least attempting some brief shot at economic parity, but unless you change how that child is treated by everyone around him throughout his entire life, you still won't achieve real parity.

                The standards of measurement of 'success', at least economically are simple.  Do families of each group have similar levels of accumulated wealth to pass on at death?  Do they get offered the same interest rates, are prime mortgages offered to them with equal frequency?  Do they have equal earnings potential throughout their lives?  Do they have similar poverty rates?  Similar employment rates?

                In every single criteria of economic success, the answer is still hell no.  40 years have started to narrow the gaps, but come nowhere near erasing them yet, and Republicans everywhere are champing at the bit to defund such programs and plunge people of colour back even farther into abject poverty.

                And that's just addressing economics.  The social justice gap is equally wide still.

                We're simply nowhere near the point you'd like us to be, where we could simply say 'everyone starts the same and they'll be treated the same'.

                •  You misunderstand me (0+ / 0-)

                  Nowhere did I say that I believe everyone starts the same.  From where do you get this?  

                  As a progressive, I simply cannot embrace the notion that some people deserve greater equality [sic] just as I reject the notion that some people deserve lesser equality [sic].

    •  Nope. (7+ / 0-)

      But it does mean that if you actually believe in fairness, you have to work towards electing Democrats who will continue policies that help get people of colour up to speed politically and economically with white Americans, rather than Republicans who will constantly feed the idea that such programs are 'handouts' and 'reverse racism' and use people of colour as scapegoats while they further work to destroy all labor rights.

  •  What kind of response did you get in class? (3+ / 0-)

    Would be interested to hear where the discussion went.

    •  I haven't gone back to the board since then. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa, mahakali overdrive

      And, realistically, because i put off my posts til the last minute, I'm not sure how many of the other students also put off their homework and will go see it, heh.

      I've still got more due, but on ableism, heterosexism, etc.  They just weren't due by last night ;)

      •  Be prepared for a very rocky course. (3+ / 0-)

        The nursing profession has always been an instrument of privilege.  We're kinda weird that way, because many of the founders of the profession were strong advocates of social justice; many still are.

        At the same time, though, the profession has survived and thrived by playing along with larger systems of social power.  We know our place, right?  And we play along with keeping everyone else in theirs, in the nicest possible way.

        There are a number of nurse scholars who've done excellent work on health disparities and on racism within nursing (including nursing education).  I'm glad you're encountering this early in your career.

  •  Tipped and rec'ed (6+ / 0-)

    Racist radical Republican Governor Kasich- "I don't need your people".

    by J Brunner Fan on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:03:56 AM PST

  •  great comment, great diary. (11+ / 0-)

    thanks for both, zeke.

    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

    by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:07:58 AM PST

  •  Every time I read one of these diaries, (18+ / 0-)

    I scroll down to make a comment, but by the time I've read all the comments I'm just too flabbergasted to say much at all.

    If we can't even acknowledge this problem exists without so-called progressives getting uncomfortable and confrontational then I have little hope of it being acknowledged in the outside world :/

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:12:10 AM PST

    •  I think it'll always be uncomfortable (7+ / 0-)

      and I'm ok with that.  It's a lot like my being uncomfortable that Ohio has a Republican governor.  I didn't vote for him, but I also didn't work all that hard to defeat him either.  I did all the 'activisty' things, but I didn't initiate conversations with everyone I knew personally in the last few months before the elections.  I didn't put it in the faces of the people most likely to give a damn what I believe.  Instead, I talked to random strangers, who probably were annoyed at getting phone calls out of nowhere...

    •  Yes (4+ / 0-)

      and if this diary had been posted by an AA or a self-identified white race traitor I believe there would have been even more  hostile pushback... imo Tim Wise's diaries did not seem to be  well received on this topic.    I hope that this diary may reach some who would not ordinarily be receptive to the focus of this discussion.

      •  Show me a 'race' to be a traitor to :P (0+ / 0-)

        Until humans actually develop races, I'm no traitor.

        Did a little exercise on one of the BBC websites as part of this assignment too.  'Sort people by race' - you get 20 or so faces, male and female, and are told to sort them out in groups of 4 as Asian, Native American, Hispanic, AA, Caucasian.  I hit 'random' on the nose.  I was horrible at figuring out any of the groups, I couldn't even guess who the 4 were who were supposedly Caucasian.

        While we as humans are so fixated on 'categorizing' people based on particular phenotypes, even those supposed 'races' contain such variety of genetic expression as to be pointless.

        But, just because something doesn't actually exist doesn't mean we aren't great at pretending to ourselves that it does, and acting horribly towards others who don't 'fit' our imaginary definition of what our in-group is.

  •  Of course it exists. (10+ / 0-)

    I have several white friends from my high school days who would have several arrests on their records if it they hadn't come from "good families" in the suburbs. They were just boys getting a little out of hand, not criminals.

    Fare thee well, global extinction's forever. So what the hell, order your Mercedes in leather. - Boston

    by SpecialKinFlag on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:13:11 AM PST

  •  It's a stupid, divisive term. (5+ / 0-)

    Life in the U.S. is no fucking picnic for anyone but the wealthy. So a term like "white privilege" is idiotic. It's no fucking privilege to work your ass off for two weeks of vacation a year and overpriced health care -- if you're lucky.

    It's not a "privilege" to pay taxes to bail out banksters while your employer makes you work harder for less. Facing 9% unemployment instead of 16.5% isn't a privilege when the country is supposed to have a full employment policy for ALL of its citizens

    Living in a country in which the top 1% have HALF of the country's financial wealth -- a wealth distribution worse than EGYPT'S -- is no fucking privilege, no matter what color your skin is.

    It's not a "privilege" not to be pulled over by the cops or shot dead or tased for no goddamn reason. Not. A. Privilege. It is a fundamental human right for all people of all races. Privilege? PRIVILEGE?!!!

    Well fuck that noise.

    Having your human rights respected IS NO GODDAMN PRIVILEGE. That's why they are called rights.

    Getting screwed a little less than someone else IS NO GODDAMN PRIVILEGE.

    It is also a term designed to set groups against each other. People who use that term are doing the work of the Koch brothers. "White privilege," my ass.

    The term does NOTHING to get people to work together to end bigotry. It does NOTHING to get white people to understand the shit people of other races have inflicted upon them.

    It's a destructive, bullshit term promoted by sanctimonious, ivory-tower academics that plays right into the hands of the plutocrats by getting average Americans to fight among themselves instead of taking their country back from the criminals who are looting it.

    Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

    by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:16:00 AM PST

    •  Class and race are separate variables (20+ / 0-)

      yes they are correlated --yes they always have been in USA history..white supemacist capitalistis patriatchy that it is

      But race cannot be reduced to class -- racism stands all by itself as a source of oppression..

      So please do not continue to conflate classism  and racism   -- it is an all too common manuver here used by whites to maintain the racial statsu quo

      Tired of the willful ignorance around here

    •  whoa (11+ / 0-)

      anger issues.

      Sorry that racism is real. Radically unequal wealth distribution is also real. Crazy, I know.

    •  I'm sorry you take it that way. (12+ / 0-)

      While I agree with your ideas about the great class divide and the plutocracy, I don't see it as 'divisive' but 'introspective'.

      And it has nothing to do with wedging people apart, or telling some people 'they suck' as other commenters have suggested.

      It is about letting people know WHY Democrats support programs that attempt to bring all people in the country to a more even footing, and undercutting the scapegoating of people of colour as 'taking your job' or as beneficiaries of 'reverse racism'.  Unless you understand the history of racism, and how the racism of previous generations still works against current peoples.  Until you can show people just how much worse they could be having it if they had darker skin, they'll continue to believe the real divisive BS that the Republicans are dishing out.

      •  You've completely missed my point. (6+ / 0-)

        I don't dispute what happens. I'm very well aware of it and understand the history of racism quite well, thank you.

        I object to framing racism in terms of "white privilege."

        It's not a privilege to get something you are entitled to. African-Americans and other minorities are entitled to not be discriminated against. They are entitled to be treated as well as white people. And it's not a privilege to not be held down and shot dead on the BART platform because of the color of my skin.

        Moreover, applying a term like "privilege" to people who are oppressed (just less so), people whose teeth are falling out, who haven't seen a doctor in years and whose relatives have been killed in the coal mines because the owner doesn't give a rat's ass about safety is both ludicrous and counterproductive.

        All it does is give people like soothsayer99 a nice, warm, holier-than-thou feeling.

        Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

        by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:19:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  expatjourno, I am asking you to (6+ / 0-)

          please apologize to soothsayer and whoever you mean by "people like" soothsayer for your assumption about their (possibly our) motivations.

          You hurl an insulting accusation/assumption about motivation.  Please stick with issue-based debate.

          If you won't apologize, please withdraw the remark.

          Teach us to listen to sounds larger than our own heartbeat; that endure longer than our own weeping in the dark. - Lillian Smith

          by RadioGirl on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:34:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Shrug. Then we're merely arguing word choice? (9+ / 0-)

          I don't care if people want to call it 'arglefargle' as long as they understand why it exists and how it actually affects people and, from a more selfish perspective, the political significance.  I simply feel 'white privilege' is a good enough working term for much of what goes on.  If you've got a better phrase that also describes the stripping of rights of people of colour, go ahead and roll it out.

          •  Of course there's a word. It's "discrimination". (5+ / 0-)
            If you've got a better phrase that also describes the stripping of rights of people of colour, go ahead and roll it out.

            Not sure why people aren't using it, and instead misusing a different word with an entirely different meaning.  It's not a "privilege" to be treated with a modicum of respect and decency.  It's what everyone is entitled to.  And there's a word for that, too: equality.

            Shrug. Then we're merely arguing word choice?

            No, it's arguing that poor framing is poor framing.  As if an unemployed white person struggling to find medical care for an illness is going to be receptive to a lecture on how "privileged" he is because of the color of his skin.

            "Pragmatists don't DO things! They explain to you how things CANNOT be done." - AndyS In Colorado

            by Uberbah on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:43:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Because privilege (6+ / 0-)

              extends beyond discrimination. "Discrimination" emphasizes individual, intentional acts, whereas "privilege" emphasizes the systemic.

              As for this:

              As if an unemployed white person struggling to find medical care for an illness is going to be receptive to a lecture on how "privileged" he is because of the color of his skin.

              I'd call that kind of a straw man. I think of the white privilege framing of less a question of "how do we convince struggling white people to fight racism", and more like how do we convince generally well-meaning white people with the available time and energy to fight racism? Especially when they often don't see themselves as the beneficiaries of racism?

              •  When I see the word privilege, I always remember (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mahakali overdrive, princss6

                the passage in a Terry Pratchett book where either the Patrician or Captain Vimes (I forget which) is pointing out that the word comes from 'prive lege' or somesuch, meaning 'private law'.  Laws which may not be written, but are still present, and protect only some of the people.

              •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Uberbah

                Discrimination exists on an institutional, as well as a personal level.  I thought that was a generally accepted principle.  Do we not agree on that?

                As to choosing an audience, I don't understand why you would not want to reach all white people.  I would argue that the use of white privilege, particularly targeted at well meaning (I assume you mean affluent, as they would have the available time and energy to fight racism) white people is actually a tool for reinforcing the true white privilege that comes from socio-economic advantage.  The truly privileged white people are the most willing to embrace the concept of white privilege (ie, collective guilt and responsibility) because it allows them to spread their own responsibility for the perpetuation of inequalities (schooling, job opportunities, gentrifying neighborhoods, etc.) over all white people- including the so-called strawman raised by Uberbah.

                •  I think (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  foufou, Ezekial 23 20

                  we agree that there is institutional racism. Uberbah was arguing that "discrimination" is a better term than "privilege" and I was arguing that "privilege" has broader connotations. I think it's a point reasonable people can disagree about (though I still think I'm right, naturally).

                  As for the audience, I guess I think one would want to reach all white people, but white people of different socio-economic status are naturally going to be receptive to different messaging.

                  I'm not sure I completely understand your last sentence, but if some white people feel like spreading their responsibility over the group, I suppose I don't really think that's a huge problem, unless it some how absolves them of doing their part.

                  If they are blaming poor white people for racism, then they've obviously missed the point.

          •  Whose interests are served? (7+ / 0-)

            Who benefits from oppressed people arguing about whose group is more oppressed than others?  The oppressed?  Or the oppressors?

            It's divide-and-conquer, or at least divide-and-weaken, and playing into it seems foolish.

            •  But... (6+ / 0-)

              no one ever raises this question when people are fighting the "class war."  Then it is completing cool to describe and advocate for the middle class.  But fey, race nah, we have to obscure that big ole elephant and who benefits from that?  Certainly not those racially oppressed.

              If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

              by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:53:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Power to address racism... (3+ / 0-)

                ...is not going to be seized from those who barely have enough power to keep themselves in the game.

                •  If they are racist... (4+ / 0-)

                  yes they have the power.  You are looking at this from a completely economic perspective.  That is but one dimension.  Nothing is stopping anyone from believing the foulness about people of color.  That doesn't require power but it does require courage and introspection.  

                  If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

                  by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:29:29 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Two separate issues, I think (3+ / 0-)

                    One issue: that (some) non-rich whites hold racist views, and that these attitudes should be recognized and addressed (opposed, ameliorated, engaged with, etc.).

                    Another, very different issue: that without holding racist views, many whites nonetheless are less oppressed by the rich than are blacks.

                    It seems to me you are addressing the first issue, whereas I believe that this diary relates to the second.

                    On that issue, I think it's worth pointing out that if you want to take power, you have to take it from those who have it, not from those who don't.  If whites have fewer of their rights disregarded, that doesn't mean that, by being white, they can give any more power to anyone who has more of his or her rights disregarded.

                    And that if there's a way to make an ally (if not a friend), it's probably more beneficial to do that than to make an enemy.

              •  But when fighting the class war... (5+ / 0-)

                ...no one is trying to get the plutocrats who are the beneficiaries of the structure to join us in changing the system. It's us against them.

                When fighting discrimination, it's about appealing to our shared humanity and joining together in the pursuit of equality and justice for all.

                As for who benefits from racism, that's obviously plutocrats like the Koch brothers most of all if they can get us to squabble over the crumbs dropped from their table.

                To put it another way, the right to sit at the lunch counter isn't all that if the only thing on the menu is a shit sandwich.

                I see your point, but I do think the nature of the battle is different.

                Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

                by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:08:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No for me as an AA... (10+ / 0-)

                  it isn't an US involved...against the them the plutocrats.  The plutocrats can go away over night and guess what...me and mine will still be on the bottom and racist thinking will not suddenly evaporate with the plutocracy gone, in fact, it may even get worse.  

                  So, no I feel that people of color are off on islands on their own because white people will not deal with their racist ideations and that has nothing to do with the plutocracy and quite frankly I think it really divorces whites from their role in this whole mess.  

                  If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

                  by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:32:58 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The plutocracy encourages racial tensions... (4+ / 0-)

                    ...as part of a deliberate strategy to keep their opponents divided.

                    Throw around academic terms like "white privilege" all you want, if you think that being treated decently, having your rights respected and NOT being shot dead while being held down on the BART platform begging for your life is a privilege and not something you are entitled to as a human being.

                    But framing discrimination as "white privilege" helps the plutocrats a lot more than an appeal to simple justice and shared humanity does.

                    Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

                    by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:54:07 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I would agree on that (4+ / 0-)
                      But framing discrimination as "white privilege" helps the plutocrats a lot more than an appeal to simple justice and shared humanity does.

                      It's just a sloppy, corrosive, divisive term.

                      ... just floating by ...

                      by cumulo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:57:09 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  To those who first coined it (8+ / 0-)

                        it referred the fact that most white people are relatively free to ignored the impacts of racism.

                        That white people have the privilege of saying "wait, be patient" because we're not the ones suffering the impact of racism.

                        The term has meaning and merit in that context - just as straight people have the privilege of simply ignoring homophobia if we decide to.

                        The problem is that some ignorant and bigoted people who really truly believe that white skin is a ticket to the good life made a weapon out of a term they didn't understand.

                        Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                        by JesseCW on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 11:47:10 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  What strategy would you suggest? (3+ / 0-)

                    If whites are all racists, then those against whom they are bigoted have no hope, on a purely numerical basis.  I don't think that's true, though.  Even during slavery, there were white abolitionists, as is well known.  Writing off whites does not seem to me to allow the formation of a strategy for improving the situation.  I know there are way too many white racist idiots, they're people I'm not proud to share a skin color with.  But it's not everyone.

                    As for whites being divorced from their role in "this mess," you are aware, I presume, that a fair amount of the racism between poor whites and blacks was whipped up by wealthy whites who damn sure didn't want people of different colors considering who their common enemy really was.  So it's one group of whites saying to another group of whites, a group they wanted to keep down, "See those folks of a different shade?  Let's you'n'them fight!"

                    •  WHAT were you reading where you saw this? (6+ / 0-)
                      If whites are all racists

                      "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                      by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 03:46:32 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Did you see the word, "if?" (0+ / 0-)

                        I was setting up a hypothetical case in order to make a point, because I found the previous comment unclear.  I was inviting clarification, and I still do.

                        Specifically, that commenter is free to explain how the statement, "white people will not deal with their racist ideations" does not include the presupposition that all whites are racists.

                        •  yes and I don't understand how any reading of (5+ / 0-)

                          prncss' comment required your 'if' question be asked.  we're talking about a specific issue and specific people that react to the FRAMING in a specific way.  

                          you're the one who took that to mean "all white people' for some inexplicable reason.

                          "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                          by mallyroyal on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 06:35:49 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Who has "racist ideations"... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW

                            ... who is not a "racist."  What's the difference?

                            Your comment seems to be mainly a claim that I've wronged someone (taking x to mean "all white people").  I don't think that's the case.  If you think I misunderstand something, please explain what that is, because it's certainly untrue that I'm unwilling to understand you, and I seriously doubt I'm the only one here who could benefit from the explanation.

                            Does someone have to burn a cross in someone's lawn, or at least harbor a strong desire to do so, in order to qualify as a racist, in your view?

                            If I am a white person, can you say with confidence that I have "racist ideations?"  How would you establish that in actual fact?  Is it enough to look at me and decide that (at least most of) my ancestors are European?

                            Maybe I even need to get a more specific idea of what "racist ideations" means.  It sounds like the kind of term applied by someone who has thought about the issue for more than five seconds, so it should be reasonably easy to answer.

                            Do only Europeans have racist ideations, or can someone from a different continent have them too?

                          •  ok, lets start from the beginning: (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            foufou, princss6, soothsayer99

                            the comment you responded to had this sentence:

                            So, no I feel that people of color are off on islands on their own because white people will not deal with their racist ideations and that has nothing to do with the plutocracy and quite frankly I think it really divorces whites from their role in this whole mess.

                            which seemed to inform these from you:
                            What strategy would you suggest?   If whites are all racists, then those against whom they are bigoted have no hope, on a purely numerical basis.

                            I only see the word "all" in YOUR comment.  that you couldn't see that princss was talking about 'those whites with racist ideations', a subgroup not defined by a number or ratio in that comment, IS YOUR DEAL and nobody else's.  

                            I certainly didn't read that as "all whites have racist ideations" and I'll say again that I don't understand how anyone could, without carrying the preconceived notion that black people tend to think ALL WHITE PEOPLE are racist.

                            what I'm saying is you drew an incorrect conclusion and based your commentary on that.

                            "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                            by mallyroyal on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:58:11 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Again, do you see the word, "if?" (0+ / 0-)

                            It's one case to consider, since the previous commenter, in my opinion, did not make clear the precise intended meaning.  It would of course be natural to ask, "OK, and if not all white people are racist, what then?"  

                            Which is the case I consider in the very next sentence:

                            I don't think that's true, though.  Even during slavery, there were white abolitionists, as is well known.

                            Did you see that part, or did the first part make you too angry to continue reading?

                            Two cases: 1. all white are racists, 2. some whites are not racists.  I consider both cases.

                            Maybe you interpreted "if all whites are racists..." to mean, "if, as is clear, you believe all whites are racists...," but that's definitely neither what I said nor what I intended.

                          •  perhaps you're the one with clarity issues? (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            foufou, princss6, soothsayer99

                            my point is that obviously princss doesn't believe "all whites are racists".  I don't know anyone who does, truly.  and I know 'free mumia' activists who organize rallies on the subject and are likely as not to call whites a slur on casual mention.  even they don't believe ALL whites are racist.

                            so I'm wondering why the question even showed up in your comment... unless you believed princss thought so.

                            and if you thought she thought that... lol that's so wildly wrong as to be ludicrous so I dunno where it came from.

                            "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                            by mallyroyal on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 11:25:43 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, for God's sake (0+ / 0-)

                            Did you even read this, in the comment you are responding to?

                            Maybe you interpreted "if all whites are racists..." to mean, "if, as is clear, you believe all whites are racists...," but that's definitely neither what I said nor what I intended.

                            Do you see the words, "neither what I said nor what I intended?"  Because it appears that you are continuing to argue with what I just disclaimed.  So if you think you are arguing with me, I have some disappointing news.

                            Just because you say that I believe X about  prncss does not mean that I said it.

                            so I'm wondering why the question even showed up in your comment... unless you believed princss thought so.

                            Because it is one of the possible cases, logically.  I don't know how much more simply I can break that down.  Either X or not-X.  Treat the cases separately because they have different consequences.  The issue of whether a particular person believes X, or not-X, is not addressed, except by you.  And, yes, now that I am responding to you, I'm addressing that issue too, but only to emphasize that I never expressed an opinion on what prncss believed, or believes.  How would I know?  How would I even think I would know.

                            And you certainly don't appear to be "wondering," -- what you say entails that you are convinced that I could not possibly not have believed it, given what you hallucinate into what I wrote.

                            If you hate me for the opinions I hold, or even for dumb statements I make and retract, that's regrettable, but it's a free country.  On the other hand, if you hate me for stuff I didn't say, don't believe, and have made strenuous efforts to make clear to you specifically, that I neither said nor ever believed, nor even said anything about at all, it's possible that you have some cognitive issues.

                            If you have again failed to read what I wrote: I make no allegation, none, zip, zero, zilch, nada -- that prncss holds a particular opinion as to the nature of all white people, or indeed, that prncss hold any specific opinion at all, because I have no idea, nor any possible way of knowing any of that person's opinions.  I do not, repeat, do not, allege, and never did, that prncss has any particular opinion on that subject what. so. ev. er.

                            Perhaps I am not making myself clear.

                          •  I don't know you to hate you or not. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            princss6, soothsayer99

                            we'll leave it at that.

                            "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                            by mallyroyal on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:36:39 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That ain't the half of it. nt (0+ / 0-)
                          •  Yep... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            foufou

                            "Alls," "Afros" just appearing out of the blue...must be the letter "A" or something.

                            If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

                            by princss6 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:40:29 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There is no difference. It's a game (10+ / 7-)

                            Fou invented and Meteor Blades endorsed.  

                            What's the difference?

                            Call people racists without quite calling them racist...then if they get pissed claim their anger proves them to be racist.

                            For MallyRoyal, this is a sport.  

                            He's not trying to have a dialogue with you.  He's trying to score some points.

                            Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                            by JesseCW on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 11:52:26 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't think mally plays that game. (6+ / 0-)

                            They may have descended to a point wherein they're merely trading insults, but I don't think his motivation can be described thusly.

                          •  appreciate that, zeke. (7+ / 0-)

                            I get stuff like that a lot from Jesse and folks that fancy hemselves on the other side of a divide from me.

                            they tell others not to take me seriously.  this isn't new.

                            thanks for calling BS when you see it.

                            "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                            by mallyroyal on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:47:18 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, I agree with you both at different times. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rubyr

                            In this case, I believe him to be wrong.  I'm not psychic, so I can't be 100% sure, but I've interacted enough with you that I take exception to both it being suggested that you play it, and that Meteor approves of 'the game'.  I know the exact comment Jesse to which he's referring, as I pulled it up to point out the behaviour of another user, and I think Meteor's tip, yours, and some of the others are indeed likely explained by the tendency of BK users to do exactly what SMGB'ers do in their threads - tip pretty much every comment that gets posted in those specific diaries in acknowledgment of having seen it.  It gets back to the problems of not having the old multipoint tipping system any more.

                          •  I don't think so at all. (0+ / 0-)

                            Mally made quite an enthusiastic response.

                            Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                            by JesseCW on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 10:17:11 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Here's just one quote, Ezekial, FYI. There are (8+ / 0-)

                            others, and uprates to worse in the same thread.

                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

                            they don't know HOW to take me LOLOLOL (14+ / 0-)

                            Recommended by:
                                fou, Nulwee, pat of butter in a sea of grits, dclawyer06, blindyone, Deoliver47, Adept2u, princss6, JupiterIslandGirl, gobears2000, soothsayer99, smoothnmellow, mali muso, SouthernBelleNC49

                            I'm developing a rep as a "reasonable person" even as I rage every tenth comment against racism (hard or soft), political and historical ignorance, and emotional hyperbole.

                            I am winning hearts and minds, people, all the while I'm kicking ass and taking names.

                            fall in behind me, I'll clear the way!!
                            (gets a grip on self)

                            ok ok lol I'm not some pied piper but I'm still having fun on here.  my madam cuz will tell you all I'm straight channeling my grandfather, and I'd have it no other way.

                            Any war requires forces that use their pen against the enemy, not in foolish tirades against their own leader, abetting the enemy. ~qua

                            by mallyroyal on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 05:16:11 PM EST

                            Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbraith

                            by Vtdblue on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 08:38:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  that was about my genetic love of arguing (0+ / 0-)

                            and snarkalicious.

                            but you'd love to take it seriously, I know... ignoring this, all the while:

                            (gets a grip on self)

                            nice try.

                            "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                            by mallyroyal on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:44:01 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, of course. (6+ / 0-)

                            Just like how people are held accountable for who and what they uprate - i.e. "have you ever recced, or known someone to have recced" xyz person.  Unless you're the right person of course, since different rules are established for different people.  Or unless you're in the right diary by the right person, of course, in which case you an uprate a nasty comment, because that merely signifies that you've read it.  Or how members of minorities that have been subjected to centuries of abuse should be respected and listened to, even if their words are said with anger - unless you're from the wrong minority, apparently.

                            "Pragmatists don't DO things! They explain to you how things CANNOT be done." - AndyS In Colorado

                            by Uberbah on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:30:11 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  yeah your laundry list of grievances has (0+ / 0-)

                            very little to do with me, but have fun with it.

                            you, the individual I was responding to, and your uprater know what they can do, as far as I'm concened.

                            your whole squad's anti-Dem-no-matter-what schtick's getting old and obvious.  that you've run afoul of the most loyal base of the Democratic Party on this site is no accident, obviously.

                            "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                            by mallyroyal on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:41:21 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  In response too (0+ / 0-)

                            Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                            by JesseCW on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 10:25:50 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, that would at least *explain* it n/t (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW
                          •  listen to JesseCW about mallyroyal's motivations (7+ / 0-)

                            if you want.  I wouldn't recommend it.

                            "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                            by mallyroyal on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:42:38 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, you wouldn't, would you? nt (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW
                          •  where the hell do you get off? (11+ / 0-)

                            this is not some fucking sport for me, we're talking about my life experience.

                            "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                            by mallyroyal on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:41:34 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I am out of donuts Mally (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mahakali overdrive

                            I spent them all on dvogel.  I have to go back and remove one so I can donut the one I responded to.

                            "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

                            by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 05:08:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  "Fou invented and Meteor Blades endorsed" (11+ / 0-)

                            and Mally is playing games?

                            Well - you managed to insult 3 people in one short post.

                            Is this your idea of having fun?

                            "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

                            by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 01:33:39 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think it is his idea of having fun (5+ / 0-)

                            and I'd say it's a strange game he's playing smearing people in idle conversations.

                            Is Jesse having a conversation in good faith? I think it's libel, and I'm an attorney.

                            In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

                            by vcmvo2 on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 02:30:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •   Deo, this is a cruel guy. (5+ / 0-)

                            This guy is like the guy in school who loves to push people around and make them feel bad. He may have "fun" doing it but at the center of it is his cruelty. He also is a "right fighter" -- will say or do some pretty ridiculous things to "win". Not worth a hair on mally's head.

                            Another characteristic of this person is that he will fight until he sees that the other person is winning and then he disappears -- up until that time, he will say or do anything to deliver humiliation. He's done it to me more than once for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I was not talking to him.
                            Miserable behavior.  

                            "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

                            by rubyr on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 02:35:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well - I'm hr'ing that remark - now that (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rubyr, mahakali overdrive

                            I got a donut back.  

                            This is one of the rare times I've ever used up all my donuts in one day.

                            We actually need more of them - since now people can publish multiple diaries daily.  

                            "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

                            by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 05:15:13 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Actually, I've trashed (0+ / 0-)

                            your arguments until I got bored, then wandered off to let you stew.

                            I understand that you problems telling the difference between being proven utterly wrong, and being insults.

                            What amazes me is that you're still lugging around hurt feelings for over a year just because you lost a debate.

                            Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                            by JesseCW on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 10:19:18 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You have me confused with someone (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mahakali overdrive

                            else. The incidents I refer to occurred in the last few months and I lost nothing. You are cruel. You weren't debating anything with me, you were just poking your nose in where it didn't belong and mouthing off. I do not have hurt feelings. I generally do not care what you think of me but I have have fallen subject to your cruelty and I am calling it out. We have not ever had a debate of substance. I'm pretty sure I would win but winning is not all that important to me. Decency is.

                            "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

                            by rubyr on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 10:49:32 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Meteor Blades endorses racist games? (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            shanikka, Deoliver47, Kysen, mallyroyal

                            That's a very interesting judgment to make.

                            To say nothing of the rest of your comments, that for an AA person, conversations about race are "sport" which another AA poster "invented."

                            To quote another AA poster on this site, what a bad faith claim this seems to be. I'd donut such incendiary speech if I hadn't spent the morning dispatching mine on the (now suspended/banned) "racialist," (to quote Malcolm X) dvogel...

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 03:07:29 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You got plans later to get together (0+ / 0-)

                            with Rush and shout "Cockroach" at people?

                            Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                            by JesseCW on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 10:22:05 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That you would equate me with Rush (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mallyroyal

                            is truly farcical. JesseCW, while you're playing some sort of Right-wing indictment games, I'm working with radical activists -- and some Democrats, in what to me speaks of my own bipartisanship -- toward Left labor reform, immigration reform, and civil rights advances. As always, I will also always work for the end of Capitalist plutocracy at the expense of the people.  

                            If that's a problem for you, well so be it... it's either that, or World of Warcraft, I guess.  

                            So by all means, keep working as you do to take poorly-aimed shots at pro-Socialist activists online because this is surely a winning game to play for a strong Populist reformation of this Nation.

                            And somehow I don't think Che would have balked at "cockroaches," but learn something new every day, sometimes within hours. At least I avoid befriending those with death-porn fantasies leveled at people of color, or alter egos involving dizzy Shao Lin warriors, those who call people similar terms such as jackals or hyaenas, or the angry throngs of poor white men persecuted like no others by this white-dominant power structure a la Linfar's famous screed. Of course, what is Che but someone's book bag these days, right?

                            God speed.

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 12:31:56 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That you use Rush's rehtoric (0+ / 0-)

                            is undeniable.

                            If Che is your moral compass, then I have it's up against the wall for all those you despise if you gain any measure of power.

                            I could care less that you babble about unprovable associations.  All I actually know about you is what you do here.

                            I do find it interesting that someone who claims to be a leftist none-the-less finds time to mock the problems of just one very specific class of poor people.

                            It takes an astounding lack of empathy to believe that https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/us/06westvirginia.html these guys deserve to be mocked as "controlling the power structure".

                            Lack of empathy...or...well.

                            You know.

                            Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                            by JesseCW on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 07:23:50 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's ironic (0+ / 0-)

                            That someone so hooked into the rightwing frame of reverse discrimination as you would accuse anyone else of using Rush's rhetoric.

                            And since your rebuttal (such that it is) rests on the backs of West Virginia coal miners, I'm curious to know the extent of your advocacy for them. Do you work with coal miners? Do you advocate for better conditions and policies? Do you assist them face to face in any way whatsoever? Do you teach their children? Do you stock food pantries for them, rally for higher wages and better health care for them?

                            Or are they merely a convenient foil for you in this faux battle, this smoke and mirrors of yours of who oppresses who? Do you in fact sit thousands of miles away from them, far far away from the reality, at a distance safe enough for you to claim advocacy without having to actually get your hands dirty?

                          •  chocolate donut (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            shanikka, kalmoth, mahakali overdrive

                            courtesy of someone who does not find your remarks about Mally, Meteor Blades or fou amusing.  

                            They are out and out insults.  And false.  

                            "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

                            by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 05:12:36 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  He Can Have Two (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kalmoth, mahakali overdrive

                            I am just seeing this.  I rarely hand out donuts, but in this case, JesseCW deserves one.

                            If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                            by shanikka on Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 08:06:15 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  'Whites are all racists' (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sberel, mahakali overdrive, foufou

                      does not mean what you think it does.

                      Not sure exactly where you saw that, but it has nothing to do with cross burnings or signs with monkeys on them at political rallies.

                      The academic concept of a dominant power majority within a nation that aligns with skin tone being 'racists' simply refers to the power structures within which they live.  It's not remotely the same as the vulgar usage of 'racist' by laymen.

                      I don't like to use it myself, because of exactly the same misunderstanding of meaning.

                      White privilege addresses some of the same ideas in a less threatening way, although as can be seen in this set of comments, even it sets many people instantly on the defensive as individuals.

                      •  It's not even an academic notion (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        sberel, foufou, princss6, Ezekial 23 20

                        but rather a fact. A real world fact that white people absolutely have the majority of the institutional power and this benefits NO ONE, which is why "white privilege" should be resisted particularly by white people.

                        Because if white people accept that some people have more power than other people, then none of us can ever be equal.

                        Aside from it being morally wrong in this way, it also has practical application in that if we accept lop-sided power in general, ALL people, however they are classified by society (if not by race, by gender, by class, by ethnic background, by sexual orientation, and so on) ultimately accept that they too might never be equal.

                        In short, accepting white privilege amounts to accepting inequality of all forms.

                        And why do we do this?

                        Because it's almost invisible to those of us who are white. It's like Republicans voting against their own self-interests. Our self-interest, as white people, is very much to advocate for increased equality IN GENERAL, and "white privilege" is one of the strongest inequalities that we accept (often without knowing it or seeing it).

                        How do we have progress with such a system of inequality? Not academic, theoretical progress, but cold, hard real world progress of any sort, for any one?

                        I refuse, personally, to accept lop-sided power. That's part of what the Progressive movement itself fights against. This is part of that movement. Many just have a hard time seeing it. But they must if they want Populism to work, let alone Civil Rights to be achieved.

                        What I'm suggesting here is three different motives for why white people might step up and say "Fuck White Privilege." One being general civil rights. Another being non-white civil rights. The third being populist ideas about economic equality. ALL THREE are held back by accepting white privilege. And all three may be fixed, in part, by talking back to white privilege and a very real white power structure that creates inequality in America.

                        "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                        by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:35:38 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Ok, "notion" maybe wasn't a good word. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          mahakali overdrive

                          But an 'academic way of phrasing things'?

                          I'm not a sociologist, I just occasionally try to vaguely act as if I spent the night at a Holiday Inn.

                          •  Argh, I'm trying to rec and failing (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ezekial 23 20

                            bother!

                            Then we're on good footing because I'm no Sociologist either. And I wasn't repudiating your point. Just expanding on it.

                            The Holiday Inn, hmm? Do I hear faint tinklings of a secret life. You do realize that Howard Johnson's is infinitely better, I would hope ;)

                            "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:55:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Actually, I was referring to the ad campaign. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mahakali overdrive

                            'I'm not a __, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night!'

                            My only 'secret life' is played out within the confines of 'Lord of the rings Online'... wherein all of my various characters are of different genders, races, skin tones, hair styles, etc.

                            In gaming, I've found no one pays any attention to your avatars' skin tones, but you sure as hell get treated differently based on avatar gender.  Buncha horny geeks out there still.

                        •  Completely agree with this MO (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sberel, mahakali overdrive, foufou
                          But they must if they want Populism to work, let alone Civil Rights to be achieved.

                          I've said as much before and it is like watching "There's Something about Mary" where the guy in the car is talking about seven minute abs.  Some just do not how they can't advance their cause until they include white privilege as teh devil right up there with teh corporatists.  

                          If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

                          by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:07:27 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  What I don't get ... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pozzo

                            ... is how insulting potential allies is a win.

                            Especially if it's not anything they are doing you complain about, but the treatment they receive from others.  What you're calling a "privilege" is based on a habit of seeing certain people as "us" and others as "them."  Calling it a "privilege" reinforces that us/them dividing line.  Who benefits?

                            It's like crabs in a bucket preventing each other from escaping. Crabs end up getting cooked.  Bad model to follow.

                          •  As an individual, you choose whether or not (4+ / 0-)

                            you find the term an insult, and I think the better your understanding of how people are using the term becomes, the less likely you'll be to consider it an insult.

                            I used an example upthread - if I have a group of people and one of them is 'white', and I give him a dollar a day simply because he is white, he has 'white privilege'.  Is there any 'fault' in him having white skin?  Am I insulting him if I note that the reason I gave him a dollar was because he had white skin?

                            He might not like it, he might not want it, but there's no insult there, simply an acknowledgment of what was going on.

                            And in ways subtle and ways overt, that's what's going on in this country.  Whites get 'breaks' not open to people of colour, both because we're currently in the majority and because we've had far greater advantages over the last few centuries.  

                            It's compound interest.  If my ancestor was a free white guy who saved up some money, and yours was an enslaved black who had no way to do so, mine will have been able to bequeath that money to his children as 'starter wealth', and they likewise will be able to use that money to gain more, and so on, until we get where we are now.

                            From politifact (I googled average net worth white family)

                            In 2000, the median net worth of a household headed by a non-Hispanic white adult was $79,400. The median net worth of a household run by a black adult was $7,500. The figure for Hispanic households was $9,750. These figures are based on a 2003 report.

                            So the figure I used in the diary was out of date, but the reality was the same.  A Hispanic family's net worth is 1/8th that of a white family,  and a black family's net worth is 1/10th that of a white family.

                            Because in all sorts of ways, from granting loans with lower interest rates more often to whites to hiring more whites in higher paying jobs, society has been handing that dollar a day to whites and not to blacks, and is still doing so.

                          •  There's an ivory-tower problem here (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pozzo
                            As an individual, you choose whether or not you find the term an insult, and I think the better your understanding of how people are using the term becomes, the less likely you'll be to consider it an insult.

                            Well, a lot of people don't understand "how people are using the term," and some of those are potential allies and collaborators whom you push away, intentionally or otherwise, when you use the term, "white privilege."

                            Even if the term can be justified logically, I think it fails politically.  Of course, some find precise truth more important than success.

                            Was Ross Perot a racist, meaning, did he have anti-Black intentions, when he used the phrase, "you people," at a gathering of African Americans?  I seriously doubt it (though I was not and am not a fan of his), but whatever the "true" meaning of the phrase, it sure didn't serve Perot politically.

                          •  That is a truthful observation. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MixedContent

                            The 'messaging' of a given phrase or tactic doesn't always lend itself to a positive resolution.

                      •  And you would expect, what? (0+ / 0-)
                        White privilege addresses some of the same ideas in a less threatening way, although as can be seen in this set of comments, even it sets many people instantly on the defensive as individuals.

                        If as a result of this phenomenon, non-elite whites have been illegitimately separated from fewer of their resources, then there are strategies for influencing them to think in terms of sharing those resources, and other strategies that would have the opposite effect.

                        Let's say I'm a white man, and I'm a witness to a potentially ugly scene between some law enforcement officers whom I suspect of a certain amount of racial prejudice, and some black citizens.  Do I make any attempt at all to speak to the police and use my whiteness (and reduced likelihood of being shot) to lower the level of confrontation (assuming that's possible in the situation), or do I think, "not my problem, this society's fucked up in a lot of ways, but I'm not putting myself in the middle of that to help people who resent the fact that I don't get fucked over as badly as they do." -- What am I likely to do?

                        I think it depends a lot on whether I think of the black citizens as "us," or as "them."  And that depends to a degree on whether I believe they think of me as "us" or as "them."

                        If it's true that (many) whites think of the Koch bros as "us" and any random black person as "them," it's also true that, given the chance, many other whites think the opposite.

                        One of Thomas Pynchon's "Proverbs for Paranoids" is, "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."  When you ask the shade of someone's skin, you'll never get an answer the Koch bros. need to worry about.  Much better you ask that rather than, "Who's sucking all your money up to the top of the pyramid (whatever your shade)?"

                      •  Here's what I saw, ... (0+ / 0-)

                        ... it's right there in black and white:

                        because white people will not deal with their racist ideations and that has nothing to do with the plutocracy

                        This is a general, unqualified statement about "white people."  Not "some white people," not "too damn many white people," not "certain regrettably idiotic white people," all of which I'd agree with.

                        If saying someone harbors racist ideation is anything but a fancy way of calling someone a racist, please clarify.

                        And by the way, I understand that there's way too much projection of everything bad about oneself onto some group of "others" that one feels sufficiently separate from to feel safe in calling "not me."  And that this unconsciousness helps keep institutional racism in place.  I just don't think you wake people up, and help them be more intelligent and conscious, by calling them names, or by saying things that are almost certain to be taken that way.

                      •  Uh. It's fucking newspeak (0+ / 0-)

                        promoted by people too lazy to write out "structural racism".

                        Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                        by JesseCW on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 11:53:21 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  Words and framing matter in politics. (4+ / 0-)

            And this is a political blog, which makes "white privilege" and extremely bad "working term" except when preaching to the choir. But I do think  we are entirely in agreement about what goes on.

            Racism, discrimination, bigotry, denial of human and/or civil rights work for me to "describe the stripping of rights of people of color." "Privilege" does not work to describe NOT having one's right's stripped. The terms are, in fact mutually exclusive.

            Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

            by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:46:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Words matter. (8+ / 0-)

            They matter a lot.  Words drive, and reveal, agendas. Words also drive, and reveal, tactics.  Words create context.  Words have the power to heal and to harm, to unite and to divide.

            Please allow me to attempt to restate expatjourno's point in my own way, without all the caps and exclamation points.

            Is there a problem?  Sure.  Has it been given a name ('white privilege') that does nothing to point the way to the solution to that problem?  I think it has.

            We are not talking about privilege.  We are talking about rights.  Basic, inherent human rights.   The way for anyone who is a member of a population that is subject to discrimination to stake their claim on their fair share of basic human rights, to which they are completely entitled, by the way, is not to try to take them away from other people.  For one thing, they don’t have to.   Equal rights are not a finite commodity.

            This is not a zero-sum game.  You don’t have to take these things away from someone else – or insist that they must voluntarily surrender them -- in order to increase your share.  This not a situation in which one group's gain or loss is, or needs to be, exactly balanced by the losses or gains of another group's.  Fairness is not a finite commodity.

            But as long as you treat it as one, then you’ve adopted tactics and language that are needlessly divisive, and that is only going to hurt your cause in the long run.  

            You do not have to deprive me of my basic human rights in order to increase your own.  That’d be like saying that the only way to achieve marriage equality is to take away the right of heterosexuals to marry – which we all know is absolutely, patently absurd.  

            As long as you work from that basic, zero-sum premise, in my opinion, you’re going to fail.  As long as you lump all white people into a single “privileged” group and treat all of them as as enemy, in my opinion, you’re going to fail.  

            I suspect that there are an awful lot of people on DK who would gladly join with you to achieve your goals if you would stop telling them that they are “privileged” and that they must give up their “privilege”.    It does not take an advanced degree in human psychology to figure out that such an approach isn’t exactly inviting or inclusive.

            Equality is not a privilege, it's a human right.  Human rights are not a privilege.  They are not a finite commodity.  And I don’t have to give mine  -- such as they are, in this day and age – up, in order to help you claim yours.

            ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

            by Mehitabel9 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:01:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for doing that. (3+ / 0-)

              To be fair, I don't think that people who use the term "white privilege" are necessarily saying that white people should give up their "privilege" not to be pulled over for no reason or be murdered on a BART platform.

              I think they are using the wrong word to describe the differences in the ways people are treated based on race. And I think it is the wrong word in ways that really matter.

              Words do matter. "Death tax." "Right to life." "White privilege." which one of these terms is the political loser?

              Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

              by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:34:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fair enough. (4+ / 0-)

                I don't know what their intentions are, really.  But I can see and feel how those words impact others.  And impact matters just as much as intention does.

                ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

                by Mehitabel9 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:36:15 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I got attacked on a BART platform once, btw. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW, MixedContent

                  The MacArthur station in Oakland.  Years ago.  I wasn't hurt, due to the fact that some guys nearby interceded and put a stop to the attack.  Me:  white woman. Attackers:  two young black men who I think were trying to get my purse.  Rescuers:  a couple more black guys.

                  Go figure.

                  ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

                  by Mehitabel9 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:44:17 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  "I don't see it as 'divisive' but 'introspective'. (5+ / 0-)

        Introspection, by definition, is done by the person himself.  To the extent that white folks are looking inside themselves for answers, there is introspection.  That is not how I see what is happening here, but I think your comment highlights one of the issues.  Attempts to force introspection without owning the intrusiveness of the behavior is offensive.  If the purpose is to work on a psychological level, then dressing up name-calling in fancy academic terms is going to lead to the same results it leads to in the streets.  Introspection is by invitation only.  Introspection is invited by honest, courageous sharing of one's own experience, not by harsh insistence on knowing about another person's subconscious motives than the person himself knows.

        In fact, I think confusion of psychology with policy is one of the on-going problems in this debate.  In a psychological setting, it is my belief that constructive interaction requires almost no limits on the expression of, to name one example, hurt by African Americans.  Or anger.   It would be highly inappropriate for white people, whose ancestors were not slaves, to insist on mutuality in this respect.  I'm willing to listen and learn.

        Otoh, when discussing policy and tactics, I do not agree in the usefulness of asymmetry on the basis of who has experienced discrimination and who has not.  Those of us who have grown up around racists, who have tackled racist demons within ourselves, bring a complementary understanding of how to address the issues politically and socially, as well as the most productive way to broach these topics with less amendable white folks in a way that makes actual introspection possible.

        Don't believe everything you think.

        by geomoo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:11:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  should be "less amenable" nt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          expatjourno

          Don't believe everything you think.

          by geomoo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:41:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Heh. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive

          We are frequently encouraged by our nursing professors to consider situations and statements and be introspective about them, then share what we thought.  They disagree with you as to the value of 'forced introspection'.

          •  I guess you mean they agree with me. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mehitabel9

            My point is that "forced introspection" is an oxymoron.

            Don't believe everything you think.

            by geomoo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:37:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, I think I just understood you what you mean. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mehitabel9

            I hope you are not being accused of things while this "encouragement" to introspection is taking place.  I wonder if your professors respond to your reports of your thoughts and feelings by explaining to you that they can tell by what you have said that you actually feel a different way than you knew, a way you were unconscious of.  In short, I'm sorry, but I doubt the "discussions" I am referring to here bear much resemblance to the "encouraged" introspection in your nursing classes.  Have you ever been accused of actually not wanting to do what is best for the patient while your introspection was being encouraged, as a parallel to what just happened upthread with an accusation racism? Let's not pretend dkos is like group therapy or class discussion.

            Don't believe everything you think.

            by geomoo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:42:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's even worse than that. (5+ / 0-)

            Because I have thought you to be a sincere person in these matters, I'm going to take the time to respond to you.  This is against my better judgment, based on past experiences with others, and it is against my express vow never to discuss racial matters on dkos again.  My reason for this vow is that I have never seen any progress.  I wonder if anyone else is noticing this.

            There are a few things that bother me about this response.  All of them fall under the category that, as is usual in these matters, you are assuming an unassailable position while assigning to me an indefensible one.  I will mention at least two ways in which I think this is true.

            First, and most annoying, is that you have changed the meaning of my words.  You seem to know you have done so, because you have seen fit to place "forced introspection" in quotes.  I'm not sure how this works in your head.  Perhaps you are assuming I don't know what words really mean, or that I am using words sloppily.  Perhaps you take the even more absurd position that, because forced introspection is an impossibility, then I must not be talking about anything.  Well, the very point is that forced introspection is impossible. Taking an example of something which is reasonable and therefore necessarily is NOT forced introspection, then calling it "forced introspection" with quotes is, well, it's damn annoying.  It is not a response to my meaning.  If you don't think what is happening here is forced introspection, then feel free to explain to me how it's not.  Taking a case from another setting entirely, a case which differs in many important ways from what occurs here, is no response at all.

            Here is one important way in which your example is different from what happens on dkos.  I think this difference is particularly telling.  You have signed on to learn something from your professors.  They are in a position of expertise by virtue of experience, training, and study.  When they give you an "introspection" assignment, in fact, there are sorts of right answers.   The purpose of introspection is to get to a certain place that you are both agreed beforehand that you are not at yet and that you desire to get to.  This previous understanding is essential to allowing what you have called "forced introspection" not to be offensive.  Let's contrast this to the situation here on dkos.

            You do not know how old I am, what experiences I have had, what studies I have engaged in, nor even my race.  Likewise, I don't know the same things about you.  Which of us is the professor and which is the student?  Your analogy gives the distinct impression that you have a notion that you are the professor, that I am the student, and by extension, that you have unilaterally with neither my participation nor my consent determined a course of study for me, a course which involves my engaging in introspection exercises such as those assigned by your professor, exercise in which I may come up with better or worse answers.  The ultimate purpose will be to achieve a kind of behavior, behavior which I have not agreed beforehand that I find desirable.

            This attitude serves the purpose I state above--it makes your position, like that of your professors, unassailable while making my position, like that of the student, indefensible.  I can tell you quite honestly, that I feel I could be the professor, that I have some valuable exercises in introspection that I could offer you to your profit.  I can assure that if, after these exercises, you returned to me and announced that you now see things my way, we would then get along swimmingly.  Do you notice any problem with this program?

            It seems that the determining factor of who is the professor and who is the student in these "discussions" is what people believe.  If people are ready to take certain stances and certain attitudes about white privilege, then clearly they get it and qualify as professors.  If people take other stances and express other thoughts and feelings about white privilege, then they necessarily become the student, the one who needs to be given introspection assignments, the only acceptable outcome of which assignments is to return in full agreement with whatever the professor of the day is claiming to be true.  In other words, the positions being taken concerning white privilege are being protected from real discussion by groundrules which determine beforehand the only possible outcome--either I agree with you and I am right or I disagree with you and I am wrong.  And all this is on the basis of an a priori assumption that you, and so many others, are right.

            You are not my professors.  I have not signed up for a program of improvement and study.  I am here to interact as equals, to both teach and to learn according to my own lights.  Because this kind of relationship has proved impossible on dkos with issues of race, I have given up participating in the discussions for the most part.

            Some of us who are sensitive to matters of race, for whom the notion of white privilege does not provide a big "aha" moment, some of us who have been active in these issues, we are trying to tell you something.  It has been said different ways by different people at different times.  If your goal is actually to invite introspection, I can hardly think that you are satisfied with having people be so frustrated and angry that they won't even participate.  Perhaps there is something for you to learn from me.

            Some of us are saying this is divisive.  If your only response is, "No it isn't and there must be something wrong with you", then I can only say, "Well, yes it is, and your response further underlines the divisiveness."

            Don't believe everything you think.

            by geomoo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:40:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have great discussions about race... (6+ / 0-)

              ... with people I know "in real life", including friends and acquaintances, and many people (students and teachers) in classroom environments. And the big difference between those discussions and most of the discussions here on DKos is that in my "real life" discussions, everyone is anxious to listen to everyone else. Nobody is saying, "My experiences matter, but yours don't."  But unfortunately, more often than not, that's what goes down here on DKos.  I'd LOVE to be able to honestly discuss race here.  But when you start to realize that one false step (and we WILL sometimes make a false step) gets you labelled, and your opinions and experiences belittled... well, it just becomes easier not to even get into the discussion at all.

              "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

              by ratmach on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:08:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your comment made me think of a ratchet (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW, ratmach

                Every once in a while it ratchets up to a higher level, but it never ratchets down.  Polarities are established, they become entrenched, they become more bitter, and before long the only thing in play is the delusional assumptions people have made about character and personality.

                I also have some decent discussion about race on line.  But not here.

                The over-riding motivation here, the underlying assumption, seems to be for each of at least two groups to be trying to prove the other group wrong.  Hell, I know who you are--I've seen some of your threads.  I expect that if I seem to agree with something you have said, that will be evidence in the eyes of some people that something is so wrong with me that I don't deserve to be treated respectfully in discussion.  This is how low things have sunk here.  Some people seem to think the solution would be to kick a few people off the site.  It's hard to figure where Ezekiel sees introspection, or even the possibility of it, in this dysfunctional mess.

                Don't believe everything you think.

                by geomoo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:21:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, in brief response (5+ / 0-)

                  You might note that in none of my replies to anyone have I called them names, and only told them they were 'wrong' when they mischaracterized what I was saying or made statements of fact about environments in which their experiences were far more limited, and frankly, completely unrealistic, such as dvogel's assertion that all healthcare providers are completely 'colorblind' in their actions.  It's nice of him to want to believe so, it would be great, if true, but we're all human beings, and we all have our own individual biases and prejudices, and are affected by our environment.

                  You're not going to walk into a hospital in the most racially divided parts of the country and find a shining bastion of equality in which everyone is perfectly neutral in how they treat everyone.  Every single day, we all try to achieve that ideal standard, but its not there 24-7.  Some folks have alcoholics in their family, and will be brisker and colder to patients who come in drunk with a knife in them.  Some are highly religious and won't be as sympathetic to the woman in a 'trampy' outfit or a 'goth' look.

                  In every other instance, I've tried to tease out how and why we differed in our views and to uncover ways in which we might be misconnecting and talking past each other.

                  •  Which is why I am in conversation with you (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    liberaldemdave, JesseCW, MixedContent

                    I have always seen you to be a serious, informed, and sincere commenter.  But we are not just talking about your behavior and my behavior; we are talking about a concept and behavior on the site in general.  You were not accused of being divisive; the comment was made that the concept of white privilege is divisive.  A cogent defense of this perspective was mounted.

                    I notice that you mention dvogel in your comment.  I could mention soothsayer in mine.  Soothsayer made free to hurl an accusation of racism.  He was as wrong as dvogel.   I hope we don't define ourselves by our least skillful expressions.  There seems to be quite an effort by people to define those they disagree with as merely part and parcel of the worst abuse they have seen on the site.

                    As I say, I do see you being respectful.  And if you carry a truth you are moved to share, then I salute you and welcome your efforts.  But I am not talking about dvogel.  I am talking about people on this site who would be in enthusiastic agreement with, for example, your description of how prejudice works in the above comment.  These people are allies in the fight for equality, in the fight against prejudice.  Many of these people have been called racist.  Some of us, believe there is a problem with the concept of white privilege, a problem whose most prominent advocate, perhaps significantly, is white.  I think that calling absence of discrimination privilege is not just a semantic issue, I think the flawed thinking is reflected in subsequent behavior, behavior which seems to me to be more interested in making other people wrong than in making oneself right, more interested in tearing one race down than in building another race up.

                    I'm not insisting on being right, but I am insisting that, if I am to participate in the discussion, that my motivations be assumed to be honorable and that I find responses to the content of my thought, rather than accusations concerning my character.  To take the case in point, an argument was made concerning the ways in which the concept of white privilege is divisive.  I agree with that claim.  I have yet to see a discussion of the merits of such a claim.

                    I have sympathetic theories about why this is--I wish there were a forum here to discuss the ideas I have about this.  But there is not.  One of the reasons is that the atmosphere is so caustic.  This is not an atmosphere in which introspection is likely to occur.  That may not be your fault.  But you, like me, have an obligation to notice that people with whom you generally agree are contributing their share to these problematic interactions.

                    Don't believe everything you think.

                    by geomoo on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 11:19:08 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I brought up (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      liberaldemdave, geomoo, ratmach

                      dvogel mainly to point out that I have issues with him that are separate from the conversation here in it's entirety.  Sooth (who I think is a she) and I have actually also had somewhat of a bumpy relationship, even in the comments in this same diary, although at least usually on topic.

                      And I was dismayed to see accusations of racism hurled in all directions. No matter who throws them out, they're a recognition of a door slammed on further conversation.  Even in cases where you think the other participant is not arguing in good faith, they're a final lock on even the slimmest possibility of anything further emerging of any value.  And, to be perfectly clear, I've been lumped in at times with the folks generally being considered as 'racist', whether the term is explicitly used or not, even accused of hanging around Black Kos to do 'oppo research' and 'troll for comments I could use against' the posters therein.

                      I reject that notion, but I also make allowances for the fact that when you spend a lifetime surrounded by people you can't trust, you'll have a tendency to believe new people you meet are untrustworthy.  People have been lashing out in both directions on here, (and it is unproductive) in large part in the same way as every pie war ever fought on DK.  Disagreements over particular tactics (or word choices) while, presumably, all looking for the same final endgoal.

                      I tried to stay out of most of the fights over the word choice, although I did make my own opinion known.  I think the phrase is apt, and I think part of the value in using it actually is the fact that at first it makes people uncomfortable.  Stress creates a reaction, and an attempt to return to a homeostatic state that is unstressed.  A positive response to a stressor is to learn more about it, a negative one to deny it and avoid it.  If there is no stress, there is no motive to change.  Find a bland, nonthreatening term, and people will simply agree and move on.

                      •  Thanks for the response. (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        triv33, ratmach, MixedContent

                        I'll just say one more thing.  One source of stress is to see a harmful meme become accepted as common wisdom, take for example, the notion that torture is necessary to protect freedom.  My reaction to that is not caused by the stress of having my comfortable but false assumptions challenged; it is that it is stressful to live in a world in which such damaging notions gain currency.  Please don't misunderstand me as equating that meme with the notion of white privilege--I intentionally chose something extreme to make a point.  The point being that for me, learning more about the idea of white privilege has led me in the direction of being even more certain than initially that it is a way of framing things which is unlikely to lead to much good in the world--it will be embraced by the good-hearted and naive, be rejected by racists, and perhaps worst of all, alienate well-meaning and committed people like me and several of my friends.  I believe it is a polarizing term, and not in a good way.  We'll just have to disagree on this for now, I suppose.

                        And to be clear, much of what is meant by white privilege is useful, and points to an important conversation this country needs to be having.  My argument is more a refinement than a rejection of the entire effort.  I do think the refinement is a critical one, however.

                        Thanks, Ezekiel.  I'm glad to have been wrong to assume we could not have a real conversation.   Cheers.

                        Don't believe everything you think.

                        by geomoo on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:58:33 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  See... I hope others are reading this.... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        MixedContent

                        ... and taking note. Even though they don't agree on all things, Ezekial and Geomoo are having a perfectly respectful, reasonable discussion... on RACE.

                        It CAN be done, people! All we have to do is respect each others' points of views and experiences, and not be dismissive of those experiences just because the person may be one race/color rather than another.  And on a slight tangent, we often talk about how few Blacks there are on this site, and it's true. But it would also be nice if there were more Hispanics, Asian, Native American, etc.  Racial matters are NOT always "black and white" (in every sense of the phrase).

                        "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

                        by ratmach on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 03:23:20 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

      •  I was very hesitant to tip and rec (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, Vtdblue, Ezekial 23 20

        this diary, my friend. In the end, I tipped and rec'd it because I believe you are an honest broker, and we've had interactions in the past that have lead me to that conclusion.

        You're good people.

        However, I have to agree with expatjourno here: the term "white privilege" is not linguistically correct, for the exact reasons that he describes.

        We need another term for what this is because this is where classism and racism butt heads.

        No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

        by Colorado is the Shiznit on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:47:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, thanks for saying so. (4+ / 0-)

          I'm mildly irritated that the disagreements in the comment thread disintegrated into the trading of barbs in both directions, even as I realize I did the same thing often enough on DK3.  I think there are nuances in all of the arguments that could be worked through civilly, even if, at the end, people still simply disagreed upon the suggested answers.

          I use the term mainly because it's the term in the literature, and because I actually do feel it's fairly descriptive of what's going on, even if people don't want to 'own' the privileges, or are unable to access them because of some other cross-section of their persona that 'de-privileges' them.

          Having a privilege doesn't actually imply you'll benefit from it, just that you might have the opportunity to do so when someone else simply does not.  The door is opened for you, not for them.  But whether or not the door will lead you anywhere good is another question.

          •  ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Vtdblue
            I use the term mainly because it's the term in the literature, and because I actually do feel it's fairly descriptive of what's going on

            Just because it's "the term in the literature" (what literature?) doesn't mean it's either accurate or appropriate.  I can think of several words and phrases that have at some point in the past been "the term in the literature" that are no longer used today because they have come to be recognized inaccurate, or inappropriate, or both.

            When someone tells you that "the term in the literature" is inaccurate, and/or divisive, and/or demeaning, and/or in some other way inappropriate or offensive, and tells you why they think so, it would be nice if you would at least stop and give them some small amount of consideration instead of lecturing them about how they need to be more introspective.   Especially when the 'someone' is someone who is actually trying to find some kind of common ground with you.

            geomoo has responded to the 'introspection' canard much better than I ever could, so I'll just say that I am in complete agreement with him on that.

            ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

            by Mehitabel9 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:30:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Read the part of that boxquote after the and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              foufou

              I actually do believe it's fairly descriptive of what's going on.

              If you went to the jewelry store and wanted to see a 5 ct diamond ring with a platinum setting, would you repeatedly tell the clerk 'I want to a see a ring'?  Or would you actually be specific and descriptive, and say 'I want to see a 5 ct diamond ring in a platinum setting'?

              I'd use the second, which actually describes what I'm talking about.

              And btw, if you read what I actually wrote, rather than what geomoo said I did, you might notice that I never 'lectured anyone about how they need to be more introspective'.  I said I considered the term so.  It's how I relate to it.  It caused me to be more introspective.

              If you want to simply get defensive and angry, that's your own choice.

              •  You are mistaken. (0+ / 0-)

                If I was either defensive or angry, believe me, I'd have made very different comments than the ones I actually posted.  

                I'm sorry, but the way you phrased your comment about introspection was awkward, if you meant to say that you were merely talking about yourself.  What came across was something rather different than what you intended.

                ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

                by Mehitabel9 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 07:44:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  PS. (0+ / 0-)
                I actually do believe it's fairly descriptive of what's going on.

                Sigh.

                Just because something is descriptive doesn't automatically mean that it's appropriate.   It's not, for example, appropriate  to describe homosexuals as "faggots".  Heterosexuals could all persist in calling them "faggots", but what would that accomplish other than to create acrimony and divisiveness?

                ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

                by Mehitabel9 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 07:53:08 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Partial agreement (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mehitabel9

                  I agree with your first sentence, but don't feel your example shows what you're saying.  How does 'faggot' describe anything about a homosexual?  The only connection I can come up with is that a number of bigoted folks like Fred Phelps would like to burn homosexuals, and, per the dictionary

                  faggot

                  1.     a bundle of sticks or twigs, esp when bound together and used as fuel

                  I don't feel it is at all descriptive.

                  Despite that, I do understand what you're saying in your first sentence.

                  •  I submit (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    slinkerwink

                    that "faggot" was once considered descriptive, simply because it was accepted, at least by some people.   But when others voiced their objections to its usage and made it clear that it was offensive, it stopped being accepted -- and stopped being descriptive.

                    Let me give you two different examples.  "Colored".  "Negro".

                    Both words are, arguably, "descriptive".  Both are also, I think we can agree, inappropriate and offensive.   I would not be at all interested in engaging in any kind of dialogue with anyone who would persist in using either term.

                    I am more sympathetic to your POV than I think you realize, but even so, I find the use of the term "white privilege" to be, not only largely inaccurate, but also very off-putting and inherently divisive.  Same goes for  "race traitor".  So how do you think someone who is unsympathetic to your POV and your objectives is going to react to that kind of language?  I submit that the answer to that would be, to put it mildly, not at all well.  And if that's the case, how do you plan to sucessfully advance your agenda?  

                    I submit that it would be smart to adopt language and terminology that is not inherently divisive and therefore counterproductive.  That's just my two cents.

                    ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

                    by Mehitabel9 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 09:52:55 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

                      I personally am not offended by either 'coloured' or 'negro', because A) I'm white, and B) I don't have enough cultural context to be offended by them.  I am cognizant, however, that most black people do currently find them offensive, presumably for reasons relating to historical usage, so I don't use them, although I do use 'people of colour', which realistically isn't that far different from 'coloured'.

                      I tend to disagree with the term 'race traitor' myself, in that I feel both words are simply wrong.  'Race' is a construct, not reality as far as I'm concerned - enough genetic studies have been done to show almost all of us are 'racial mongrels' no matter how we express phenotypically.  As to traitor, the word has implications that one is 'betraying' the modified antecedent, and I think that those who advocate for 'racial equality' are actually working in the interests of all involved.  You don't 'betray' someone by creating a better, more functional world for them.

                      Circling back around to 'white privilege', I think once you examine the term and its actual meaning, it loses whatever first impression of divisiveness it might have given you.  I don't believe it is any more divisive than any other descriptor we use.  Black, white, indian, catholic, atheist, tall, obese....

                      What I do see is that it sets up a stressful reaction in those who are encountering the concept for the first time, which, if you want to promote learning, is a good thing.  Suppose I called you a 'doowhacky'.  Would you immediately get upset, or would you want to know what the heck I meant?  A positive response to a stressor, such as an unknown term, or one that seems like it might be disparaging, is to actually learn what it means, so that you can know whether or not it actually is an insult.  A negative response is to simply become emotional out of hand, block any communication, and avoid resolution to the stress involved.

                      •  Okay. (0+ / 0-)
                        Circling back around to 'white privilege', I think once you examine the term and its actual meaning, it loses whatever first impression of divisiveness it might have given you.  I don't believe it is any more divisive than any other descriptor we use.  Black, white, indian, catholic, atheist, tall, obese....

                        With all due respect, I cannot agree.   I have circled around it twelve ways to Sunday, and I cannot be reconciled to it.  I have explained why, in some detail.

                        So, as I said.  In my opinion, if you want success in promoting your agenda, you would be well-served to find language that is more inclusive and less divisive.  Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder.  It's the listener who decides if what he or she is hearing is offensive or divisive.  That may not be fair, but it's the way it is.

                        If you choose not to try to be more open to what I'm saying, and if you persist in using that kind of terminology, that is your prerogative, of course.  I just don't think you're going to get very far.  Certainly I don't feel motivated to continue to try to engage under those circumstances.

                        ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

                        by Mehitabel9 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:43:19 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I agree with your point here (0+ / 0-)
                          Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder.  It's the listener who decides if what he or she is hearing is offensive or divisive.  That may not be fair, but it's the way it is.

                          Some people are open to it, others are not.  You are not, I was.

                          We'll be well-served to use it with those who are open to the possibility, and we'll have to find other ways to approach those who are not.  No approach will work universally.

                          •  Well.... yes. But. (0+ / 0-)

                            How do you find out who's open to the possibility?  

                            Those two terms we've been discussing - "white privilege" and "race traitor" - wouldn't be my first choice for a trial balloon, but that's just me.  Because those who are not open to the possibility may not be willing to give you a second chance to persuade them to your way of thinking.

                            But I don't have a dog in this hunt.  

                            I thank you for being willing to engage in a civil discussion with someone who doesn't see things from your POV.  Where this subject is concerned, that's a first for me.

                            ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

                            by Mehitabel9 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 07:18:59 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I personally wouldn't ever use 'race traitor' (0+ / 0-)

                            My initial belief is probably the same as yours on that particular term.  If I were to guess at the numbers of 'open to' vs 'instant turn off' for that one, I'd say 1:99 at best.

                            I think you get a wider net with white privilege though, because 'privilege' is a far weaker word than 'traitor'.

                            We may disagree on the open/closed numbers on it, but I bet they're a lot higher than on 'race traitor'.

    •  Shout much? n/t (4+ / 0-)

      Teach us to listen to sounds larger than our own heartbeat; that endure longer than our own weeping in the dark. - Lillian Smith

      by RadioGirl on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:36:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rec'd this comment from... (6+ / 0-)

      ...expatjourno not because I agree 100% with him, but because he does a good job of scraping all the scabs off of the class division that exists in the US -- and the huge issue of increasing inequality.

      In doing so, he also hits upon where some of the resentment against terms like "white privilege" come from.  I know that white privilege exists -- I need merely compare my experiences walking down a street (I'm white) with those of a black coworker.  Same socioeconomic class, very different experience.  But the flip side of this is that if you tell someone who is white and struggling to make ends meet in a society that is heavily skewed against the working class that they're "privileged", you can't really be surprised when they take that badly and react in anger...

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:04:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I DO agree that the thing being called... (5+ / 0-)

        ..."white privilege" exists.

        I think that the term is very destructive framing as well as a contradiction in terms, since it is not a "privilege" to have your rights respected. Among those rights are equal treatment under the law.

        Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

        by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:12:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But when big chunks of people don't have (8+ / 0-)

          their rights respected, being able to take those rights for granted is functionally a privilege.

          Feeling like you can safely raise a fuss about your rights being disrespected is a privilege, compared to growing up knowing that if you even look at a law officer the wrong way you might get shot.

          Look, I grew up dirt poor in this country.  Dirt fucking poor.  Picked cotton, even; literally.  I know precisely how not privileged I felt growing up-- how not privileged, in fact, I was, in comparison to anybody who wasn't dirt fucking poor.

          But you know what?  I was not the only kid in the cotton fields; just the last White one.  All the other kids who didn't look college-bound, whose parents hadn't benefited from GI Bill access to education, unrestricted movement from place to place, and the willingness of banks to offer a mortgage-- those kids are still living in some of the ugliest rural poverty you can imagine.  With the added benefit of living in constant caution that they don't accidentally cross some pissy White people who wouldn't hesitate to burn their house down.

          •  A "privilege" is distinct from something you are.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MixedContent

            ...entitled to.

            So I disagree that "feeling like you can safely raise a fuss about your rights being disrespected" is a privilege.

            It's the term I'm objecting to as corrosive, divisive, counterproductive (on many levels) and inaccurate. I'll stipulate that the phenomenon is exactly as you describe from first-hand experience.

            But I'm sure people like the Koch brothers think you should feel privileged that you won't get shot if you look at a law officer the wrong way.

            Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

            by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:50:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've give you this much: (4+ / 0-)

              I am convinced that race as a social category was engineered by wealthy White people to keep all the different poor people fighting amongst themselves.  The pro-slavery assholes said as much, straight up, in their own writing that anybody who bothers can go read.

              There's a functional difference, though, between the Kochs and their historical counterparts encouraging divisiveness based on constructed racial categories and people trying to draw attention to the actual life circumstances of actual people in the here and now.

              How in the world are we supposed to improve disparities if we never acknowledge that discrimination against one category of people functions to confer privilege to those who don't face that discrimination?  What the wealthy assholes succeeded at doing was granting poor White people a little crumb of social power that carries an implicit threat with it:  You may be dirt poor, you may work yourself to death just to scrape by, but at least you're not one of Them.  The threat is that if you refuse to play along with the race divisions, you lose that little bit of status.

              •  You seem to be arguing against something... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MixedContent

                ...that I neither said nor implied.

                There's a functional difference, though, between the Kochs and their historical counterparts encouraging divisiveness based on constructed racial categories and people trying to draw attention to the actual life circumstances of actual people in the here and now.

                No one is objecting to drawing attention "to the actual life experiences of actual people in the here and now."
                How in the world are we supposed to improve disparities if we never acknowledge that discrimination against one category of people functions to confer privilege to those who don't face that discrimination?

                By pointing out that it unjustly confers disadvantages on those who do and by appealing to people's common humanity and sense of justice and fair play.

                What the wealthy assholes succeeded at doing was granting poor White people a little crumb of social power that carries an implicit threat with it:  You may be dirt poor, you may work yourself to death just to scrape by, but at least you're not one of Them.  The threat is that if you refuse to play along with the race divisions, you lose that little bit of status.

                It's neither necessary nor helpful to tell people who have practically nothing how good they have it (how "privileged" they are) in comparison to someone else. In fact, it would seem to HELP the wealthy assholes keep the poor white people from joining forces with the people who have less status. Counterproductive and divisive.

                Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

                by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:18:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for a good discussion, by the way. (0+ / 0-)

                If I stop commenting, it's not because I've lost interest, it's because it's bedtime over here.

                Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

                by expatjourno on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:20:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  The point that... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MixedContent

            ..."white privilege" is a bad framing term is a valid one, in my opinion.

            Here's where we could learn from the right.  They have no problem whatsoever with finding a new name for something when the existing name doesn't poll well -- look at how the "estate tax" devolved into the "death tax" and how conservatives now run from the phrase "Social Security privatization" while embracing it's substance under a different name ("personal accounts").

            The phrase "white privilege" does rub many people the wrong way, even though the substance behind the term is valid.  So, perhaps, borrowing from the conservatives, it might be possible to find a different term for it...?

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:38:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Real political allies, and friends, of (5+ / 0-)

              Black people and other marginalized folks in this society, wouldn't be demanding words that didn't offend them personally in order to commit to anti-racism (sexism, homophobia) in their own lives.  

              They would understand that their allies, and friends, were living their whole lives with a lot worse than a term like privilege to worry about.

              - the habit of ignoring race is understood to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture - Toni Morrison

              by blindyone on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:36:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's just great... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MixedContent

                ...if your goal is to preach to a group of true believers and feel good about yourself.

                It's not so useful if your goal is to actually bring additional people over to your viewpoint and gain majority support.

                Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                by TexasTom on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:00:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree totally. I think the term is perfect (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sberel, vcmvo2, foufou, princss6, soothsayer99

      because it goest to the heart of the matter.  Sure, there are probably some more technical sociological or anthropological terms for this phenomenon that has probably spanned cultures in different forms for millenia.  Yet the term "white privilege" is universally understood in the US, even to people hearing it for the first time.  Just getting it out there will do a lot of good, even to those who squealing in dismay that because they are not racists, they cannot possibly be beneficiaries of white privilege.

      Having a policy does not mean receiving care. -- Tzimisce

      by Miggles on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:20:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm flabbergasted by this comment. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foufou, princss6, soothsayer99

      really.  that the term white privilege angers you so much is illustrative too.  we're talking about something specific but you had to go macro and talk about everyone's problems.

      I'm sure you do so in GLBTQ diaries all the time.  complain about folk working for 2 weeks vacation and shit.  I'm positive if I peruse the DADT diaries I'll see a variation on this theme.

      right?  or did you just save it for the race themed diary?

      "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

      by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:38:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  teach them early (7+ / 0-)

    When I was in 8th grade, my social studies teacher was black. We were in a middle class/upper middle class white part of suburbia, and I don't remember a single minority student in the class.  However, he did a really cool (and vulnerable) thing - he taught a section on what it was like to be black in our society.  I remember him saying "there are restaurants in this town I can't take my family" and being totally dumbfounded.  

    It was my first exposure to white privilege.  It didn't seem fair to me that he couldn't eat anywhere he wanted.  That I, a kid, had more options than him, an adult.  Whom I respected.   That lesson has stuck with me.  To this day, because of that lesson, I watch my internal reactions when passing strangers of color on the street, and try to NOT outwardly communicate fear or avoidance in my body language.   But sometimes it is there inside, and I am sad.

    The best way to counteract negative stereotypical beliefs is to know someone personally, who can tell you about their experience.  (Although everyone can claim to know a woman, so clearly while "best", it is not "surefire".)

  •  White privilege = middle class white (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, ravenwind, CrissieP, RockyMtnLib

    privilege. It also helps if you're male.

    I graduated high school in the bottom half of my class but went to college, Penn State. I bought a house by using dividends I earned from the stock market, and then I sold those stocks to buy real estate, the future income allotted to pay for both my personal residence and my rental property.

    I understand that I would not have been able to have these conversations with the right professionals were I not a middle class white male. That's what got me into the room; the idea that I was competent in specific self-described areas.

    Do I feel guilty about it? Absolutely not. I advocate for liberal causes to level the playing field. But I do acknowledge that for a large number of Americans, the doors are slammed shut when they're seen approaching. Many of the people who "slam doors shut" refuse to recognize or even acknowledge that they're doing it, and then lecture on "responsibility" or "bootstraps."

    •  I also went to Penn State as well... (3+ / 0-)

      financed my education and know will be paying back for my education into my retirement.  

      I don't agree with you about it being a middle class white issue, however.  

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:11:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree that white privilege (11+ / 0-)

      is just a middle-class white phenomenon.  While it's true that class privilege is real, it's not class that defines white privilege.

      It's whiteness.

      And while working class and poor whites do experience economic violence, they also enjoy white privilege.  For example, would you argue that the rights of white working class folks to vote have historically come under as much forceful resistance as the rights of black people to vote?

      Would you argue that clearly racist patterns of policing and punishment today (see Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, for example) affect poor and working class whites in the same way they affect blacks, Native people and Latinos?

      Teach us to listen to sounds larger than our own heartbeat; that endure longer than our own weeping in the dark. - Lillian Smith

      by RadioGirl on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:30:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Slightly OT, but tangential (6+ / 0-)

        It occurred to me that the fight of labor and the unions is intertwined with the fight against racism.  Citizens United was the first prong of the attack, freeing up the rich to pour unlimited money into politics, while hiding under the 'but it allows unions to do the same' argument.  Second prong, destroy the abilities of unions to even exist, by taking away their central reason for existence.  This kneecaps the Democratic party, leaving those who cling to the southern strategy free to start stripping out all sorts of programs that help minorities.

        I'm not claiming it's all about race, but simply that race is one of the factors in their attack pattern.

        •  Right you are - IMHO there is a racial component (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blindyone, foufou, princss6

          to many economic and social justice issues.  It may not be the primary driver but is always lurking there in the background.  Whenever you hear people talk about taking there country back, who do they want it back from?  When you hear that unemployment benefits shouldn't be extended because they would rather take a check than find a job, who is they?  During the healthcare debate, when the government was taking over our lives, who was it that the government was going to be helping?  Who were the non-deserving people who were going to get healthcare coverage for free?  Who are the lazy people who don't want to work and are non-deserving of what hard working people should have?

    •  CFAmick, I think that you are an anomaly - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa, princss6

      I grew up with and now work with men like you (I'm a black woman) and I believe that most are of the " bootstraps" variety.  I don't know your politics but I would say that even if you aren't one of the more liberal members of DKos, our national and even global dialogue would be markedly different with more folks out there like you.  This is why I am generally a fan of Chris Matthews (aka Tweety).  On issues of race, he seems to get it as well as any white man in the MSM can.  I think part of why he gets it, is that he has historical perspective from his obviously excellent education in history.  I don't necessarily expect that the average white American is ever going to view white privilege the way that I do - however, if people could start by simply knowing basic history (of the systematic economic and educational discrimation blacks have faced in this country), I believe that our dialogue would be more productive.  Part of what holds us back as a nation today re our ability to compete globally, can be traced to Jim Crow.  Just think where we would be if all citizens were given every opportunity to succeed instead of being held back as if we are playing in a zero sum game.

    •  That's where I'm coming from (0+ / 0-)

      There are many indicators of privilege.  Race is an open and public indicator, and most often is not easily concealed.  

      I am in agreement with you about the guilt aspect.  

      I think where some people get caught up in the trap is they think that white privilege is the same as white guilt.  

      I don't feel guilty, nor do I feel superior.  It's not something I have any control over, so I move on with my life.  

      "Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand."

      by otto on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:50:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  On books and covers. (5+ / 0-)

    None of us get to choose our physical encasement before being born into this world.  Racism, sexism is based on ignorance, fear and lazy thinking-literally judging a book by its cover.   I don't understand the difficulty some have in acknowledging white privilege. To my mind all it takes is a cursory glance at the history of humankind.  

    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." - Flannery O'Conner

    by Dixiedemocrat on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:25:27 AM PST

  •  At the end of the day (12+ / 0-)

    it is the vantage of

    How can I, as a white person, help your situation if you take my advantages from me?

    versus

    As a nonwhite, why should I be grateful for help from people who shouldn't have advantages over me in the first place?

    I'm white. From the south. I could come up with thousands of reverse-racism anecdotes to cloud up the lede thread here.

    I'm not going to. That would be cheap and wrong.

    Because I know the scoop from close contact with whites who don't have problem conserving a system that explicitly favors them and theirs at the expense of THEM and theirs.

    Because I know it's something that I've done nothing to develop - be born a given skin tone and gender - that makes a lot of dice in the defense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness roll in loaded ways, my way.

    Because I can get, if push ever comes to shove, the temptation to just blithely pretend to ignore - not ignore, but pretend to ignore - a situation that has developed over the course of five hundred years: the European cultural conquest of the entire planet.

    A conquest that has imposed very peculiar (and many times untested) notions of what is 'natural' about every little thing in our lives.

    A conquest that began to be reversed after World War II...no, strike that. As far as American culture is concerned, it began to be reversed (here, anyway) with the Civil War.

    In a sense, white American conservatives want the Age of Empire back - the sense of natural (sic) supremacy and all its trappings. Perhaps not slavery, that's gauche. But de facto second class or lower status for persons of disagreeable values and genetic origins does not bother them the least - even if they know it's not true, it limits the lion's share of economic and status benefit to themselves.

    White American liberals don't want the Empire... but they do not mind feeling like advisors, experts, patrons to good causes at home and abroad.. their golden age was the Enlightenment, the fight against aristocracy and monarchy, against monopolism and corporatism...good things to fight against. Oh, racism and sexism too. Lot of isms to confront.

    But these concerns are those of a past age. And it is challenging for such messages and priorities to resonate when related by whites to nonwhites.

    Because for five hundred years, whites have been the beneficiaries of all those bad isms.

    Even when likewise victimized by them the pain is less because the first, utmost filter of who should suffer first and most is determined by skin tone.

    Which brings us to the real issue: Who can and should lead the charge?

    If it's nonwhites, then a lot of whites who aspire to have influence in a period of big-D Democratic ascendancy are going to be disappointed.

    Yes, it's great they have advantages and want to use them to help achieve social justice. That's all win.

    It's also patronizing and misses the point: Whites were never supposed to have advantages to share in the first place.

    The test is always: What are you willing to surrender in terms of material and status advantages in your personal life, to participate in positive change?

    For the time of changing laws, even enforcing of same, is no longer the cutting edge of civil rights.

    The line's moved to economic opportunities, to placement in positions of institutional power. The White House, for example. But a more hazel House, a more cinnamon Senate...never mind state houses, governor's mansions, the entire judiciary at every level, corporate boards, university trustees...

    Because too often it's easy to think "corporate" and see in your head a bunch of white people in suits. Likewise terms like Wall Street. Likewise Republicans.

    It's just a serious challenge in credibility for white to combat such things in the eyes of nonwhites.

    But overcome this challenge, we must - together. I repeat: TOGETHER. For the three outcomes of the current situation are as follows.

    The first you know all too well. We've been living it lately.

    1. distrust and apathy - This conversation continues in a derisive, defensive way with snaps going both ways. In other words, the past two years, only more. I think that this effect is well covered and its impact well realized. And this is the least bad of the outcomes. What's worse?
    2. mass defection of white Dems to the Republicans - because when push comes to shove, saying "no" to five centuries of ingrained advantages just isn't going to happen. Maybe this happens whether the conversation is nice or harsh in tone. I hope it's not inevitable; I would like to think more of myself and of human nature. Because 'inevitable' in my mind is a word associated with the Age of Empires... and likewise proven false by ending of that age.
    3. Which brings us to the third and good scenario: A renegotiation of the multiracial social compact of the Democratic party. Yes, a black man's president. Woo. Lots more positions of influence to populate in a fashion more consistent with the voting constituency of the Democratic party. If, very rough metric here, half the Dem votes are whites and 80% of staff positions are whites... that's not living the new paradigm. Time to share and share alike. From that all else follows.

    I am of the opinion the heart of the online feuds is activists on activists, feuds over access, over pay, over status.

    The white privilege thread  touches closely to this. I do not think it is the entire story but it is so important and elemental an aspect of the conversation that not only its eventual outcome but how that conversation is conducted is of utmost importance to this party.

    Whatever your race - if you are a liberal, you have a moral imperative to sort this conversation out for the better. That means hard talking. That means even harder listening. For if ears are shut and fists are raised, this party dies. And this movement will not survive in any form, in any type of party, if a new accommodation in the ranks cannot be achieved. One, not with words, not just with deeds, but with real transformation.

    For the best advantage I can give to others is .. not needing to give them them anything at all. Because if we really are equals in this struggle, we are equally able to help each other in need.

    And there is not one cause in the Democratic or progressive or liberal book that is not better off by knowing that no matter which way you turn, a friend is there - a friend just as capable as the next to help YOU when it is your turn to ask for aid.

    And a friend who, because they are equally free to say yes or no - will say yes. Because they can. Because persons as equals CAN function on the basis of trust and respect and, yes, love.

    UNequals function only around advantage and disadvantage.

    That might have been 'natural' to the imperialists.

    But that's not how Third Millennium America is going to roll.

  •  I hardly post on these diaries but to say (0+ / 0-)

    While white attitudes in some people have the idea of white privilege this idea is a complete over generalization so false. I reject that the whole white race has some privilege.  I am many races, White (Scottish) American Indian (Cherokee), Jewish and Italian.  Just because I do not have dark pigmentation does not mean I suffer from the white privilege gene or whatever over generalization anyone says I have. I am a human god damn it.. So are you.. We need to get past this to save the human species from existence.. race is the most unimportant thing ever.. We must ask people to treat people completely equal as they are. Anything that causes divisions must be put away in order to make people realize we are all the same but our differences are cultural and or cosmetic and genetic. That is what makes our human species a fractal like thing in all its beauty. Focusing on  the less evolved is not an option.. We must educate all people no matter their difference that we are in this together.. Our planet will be gone one day and this discussion of no use.  And what does it get you to harp on the inadequacies of our history and culture when we could move to correct our faults one with another.. That's all I ask.. not to create division but to bring unity.. I am exiting this thread and am sure someone will disagree. Why do I come here to post this.. but to remind my fellow humans something greater than limitations put on people artificially via language and culture. The truth is we are all equal but some have not realized it yet and thus act in an evolved manner.. more like living in the abuses of our ignorance and not int eh prospects of our shared responsibility to make this planet and our species survive long enough to get off this rock before it burns up. Ok I am going to take my multi race self out of this discussion.. I am sorry if I upset anyone's sacred cow or made you mad at me it is not my intent at all. Just thinking out loud.  Hugs

    My Country Tis of Thee sweet land of Secrecy of thee I sing

    by hangingchad on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:44:45 AM PST

    •  You don't sound like you know what white (7+ / 0-)

      privilege is. No offense. You might try defining it first and then stating what it is that you don't believe exists.

      It's not a "gene."

      So start by defining it rather than railing against it, because you seem to be confusing being white with being white-in-a-white-dominant-society.

      "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

      by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:21:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very good phrasing {{{{MO}}}} (7+ / 0-)

        "being white-in-a-white-dominant-society = white privilege

        If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

        by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:15:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Believe me I know the definition.. (0+ / 0-)

        Its artificial and constructed. Not a natural expression of humanity. But it does not in all cases apply. Again it is an over generalization of culture to say that in all cases the Dominant culture prevails in any and every situation.. that is my beef..

        It is more proper to say that some whites are more affected by the dominant culture of an area than others.

        Say for instance I am Italian and live in an predominantly Italian neighborhood. One would assume that I would get treated different than say a Jewish person. That does not always follow. Neither does the fact that my skin is light and I live in a society that says its better to be white than tan mean I am always treated  to that norm. In fact I reject that norm. I am not saying it does not exist but it is an error of over generalization. What I am saying is we must reject any idea that treats a human as different than any other no matter what cultural norm is prevalent. That norm is an error and an illogical. I am keen to the idea that light skinned people have certain advantages based on peoples educational and emotional level but reject the notion that all of them are receivers of such  benefit. We cannot see everyone with such a broad brush. Its unfair to the argument that all must be treated equally. It sets up a dichotomy. Not a good idea if you ask me. None of this does any good to get us off this terminal globe. You can discuss White privileged all day but it will not change the culture. We must change it by attitudes of humankind not pigmentation or country of origin.. just my idiotic take.

        If your sick I provide for you, If you need food I feed you. and most of all I cooperate to make the world a better place to live for all.. Even for people that I disagree with and wear tri corner hats named Palin.. even if a guy wears a sheet.. I need to love him and hope to change his/her perceptions.. one person at a time.

        My Country Tis of Thee sweet land of Secrecy of thee I sing

        by hangingchad on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:02:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  of course (5+ / 0-)

    I don't think anybody can look at the evidence and come to any conclusion besides that, all other things being equal, it helps to be white in America compared to not being white.

    there is simply no legitimate debate about that.

    However, I think the push back on this by many people is because when you've struggled, when you've seen tons of examples of other people having advantages over you, you naturally recoil at the idea that you are so lucky and advantaged, and need to be reminded over and over how lucky you are and what an advantage you have.

    there are a myriad of factors that advantage some people and not others. having rich parents, having two parents, being tall (male) or skinny and pretty (female) are big advantages, statistically.

    listen, I was raised by a single mother. we were not rich. i am not a tall man. i am not one of the major religions in this country. i had one good parent at least. i am white and do benefit from that compared to if I was not, no doubt.

    but the total human experience is simply too complex to boil it down to white=privileged and minority=disadvantaged. it's a big factor, but it's certainly not everything and it feels offensive for people to judge how easy or hard I have it based only on the color of my skin. disadvantages and prejudice come if far to many forms for it to be an accurate reflection of what people face in life.

     

    •  I agree in large part with what you've written (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ravenwind, dmh44, mamamedusa

      and have stated in several of my comments that privilege accrues from any number of factors.  The reason 'white privilege' is dealt with specifically is that it's the largest divide in this country in many ways.

      There will always be all of the other factors you bring up, certainly.

      •  right (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        naus, MixedContent, orestes1963

        but the term "white privilege" will automatically shut off people who have struggled their entire lives while seeing other people have many advantages that they don't have.

        it instantly feels like you are saying I'm "privileged" because of my skin color when the truth is that I'm not necessarily "privileged" in general despite have some characteristics that help.  "privilege" isn't an on or off switch completely dependent on the color of one's skin. it's a far, far more complicated calculus.

        now, I understand that you are not necessarily looking at it in such simple terms. but if you have to go into a long discussion about how by "white privilege", you don't meant that a person is privileged because they are white, then I think the term is misleading and it's no wonder that many people seem to gets turned off immediately.

        this is important when discussing people's reactions to it. i suspect that many people would both deny "white privilege" because of the things I've pointed out, while at the same time agreeing that, all else being equal, skin color can be an advantage. I think it's incorrect to suggest that people denying "white privilege" automatically deny that it is one advantage among a myriad of factors, but it seems like the two things are getting conflated.

        •  It shuts off people... (9+ / 0-)

          because this society allows it.  You don't think if the operative term was being used was "discrimination" as some have argued that the same counter-arguments would not be raised?

          I've been black for 40 years and I know the tricks employed to deny white privilege.  The semantics debate is just but one way to derail the discussion and it would happen no matter what word would be used unless the words used obscures the discussion enough so that it isn't substantative.

          In America, one big problem we have is white privilege.  The argument that privilege means a bag of goodies is mere obfuscation and is used to obscure being as we have no problem with any other word that could have multiple meanings...yet some narrowly focus on the word privilege and only when it comes to race it seems.

          It really doesn't help that the some of the cast of "characters" who are so vehemently trying to frame the debate and "word choice" to their liking have been less than upstanding in their behavior here with people of color.  As if I place one iota into some of these people's protestions, lol.

          Word choice is a convenient excuse to ignore by some.

          If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

          by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:22:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  no (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cumulo

            the "semantics" debate, as you call it, is not an excuse to derail the discussion.

            it's a legitimate point of why people get offended at a specific term.

            I'm arguing that many people will take "white privilege" to mean "if you are white, you are privileged in life".

            that is not what it means, right? it means that white people are privileged with respect to one of the factors (yes, a big one) in the myriad of factors that make up whether a person is "privileged" or not, right?

            the difference is not "just semantics". for many people, it's the difference between reacting in an offended and defensive way and acknowledging that skin color makes a difference.

            note that the diary includes a lot of talk about people's reactions. this point is extremely important in a discussion of people's reactions. that's not just "semantics".

            •  It is a semantic debate. (5+ / 0-)

              It is a debate over semantics because I defy you to find me the same level of ummm dissent and concern over the feelings of men or heteros when male privilege (hell you can even say sexism on this blog without getting signifcant push back) or hetero privilege ( you can even say homophobia here, too!) is discussed.

              You won't find anyone saying that poor white men are alienated by the use of the terms hetero privilege OR male privilege.  

              This is only a meme used to discount and obfuscate white privilege.  

              If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

              by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:59:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  it's not just semantics (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MixedContent

                This is a discussion about how people react to certain words, is it not?

                then why isn't a discussion about how those words are interpreted part of the discussion of how people react.

                I think you are correct that "male privilege" would be taken differently. that doesn't change the fact that the term "white privilege" is taken differently than what people saying it are trying to convey, now does it?

                it makes zero sense to ignore people's interpretations in a discussion of how people react to it.

              •  The poster makes a good point (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                princss6, mallyroyal

                that it's a rhetorically poor term. Like the term "illegal immigrant," which has quite arguably hurt undocumented Latinos more than helped them in talking about it, I've never been sure that "white privilege" is an accurate term because it has a strange set of connotations. Think George Lakoff here. Now, this is the term we have to work with, so we should work with it, but it does confuse people because they think, "But I'm not privileged" as a knee jerk reaction rather than gaining an increased awareness, which is what we're seeking. Awareness.

                So perhaps it is, at times, a way to deny white privilege, but I've also seen too many be genuinely confused by it -- and can say that initially, I was very confused by it (mentioned somewhere above). My knee jerk was, "I'm not your tribe and I'm not white." I look pretty lily white but have not much identified myself as white, but very much as Jewish. Also, where I grew up, the WASP kids made sure that the Jewish kids knew that we weren't white (and this totally transcended class because many of these Jewish kids were wealthy).

                I think we, who advocate for increased awareness of white privilege, do think about some possible rhetorical limitations of the term, not to support those who deny its existence but to better educate the truly clueless.

                That privilege isn't really privilege in a classic dictionary sense of "additional benefits" so much as "baseline benefits," and to not have this privilege means more to have "less than to have the baseline that one would expect in a free and equal society."

                This is why I called it "being white in a white-dominated-power-structure." That concept is probably immediately easier to grasp and the implications of it are much, much harder to deny.

                "And I come at them with my arms like this and like this and like this!!!!" ;)

                "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:21:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You go with that Mo... (6+ / 0-)

                  I'm going to sit back and watch as "being white-in-a-white-dominated-society" is dismantled and also thrown into the bin of not being nice enough for white people to understand.  

                  We disagree.  :)  All the love to you, MO!

                  If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

                  by princss6 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 11:58:32 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ideally, people should get it (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    etbnc

                    and more so, they should WANT to get it. And that's the issue... too many people don't seem to want to get it, to understand it.

                    But there is a second issue that is the basic linguistic point, and I do feel like I can speak to that. Although I don't think that's the issue for most, it's still the issue for some. Honestly, for me initially, many years ago, when first confronting this. So there are a few. BUT, I'm not suggesting we abandon the term (and there is something very revolutionary and confrontational about it that I PERSONALLY like -- it's a challenge, an "in your face," term). But that we try to explain it here and there when someone seems genuinely confused.

                    But if they refuse to listen to it, I'm not saying we should worry about it all day.

                    I think a lot about my students. I educate people for a living. And part of this is finding ways to reach people through a lot of bullshit baggage. I'm surprised by how reachable many of them are. So perhaps this makes me optimistic. My Republican kids are having fun this Semester arguing for pretty much every radical issue in the book -- economic equality, social justice, we're starting in on the prison abolition movement now. And I don't think they know it, per se, because it's presented through a series of critical thinking exercises designed to help them negotiate their thinking. But left to their own devices, they could possibly not come up with the same crucial conclusions.

                    So I guess this is that part of me that's a teacher talking :)

                    "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

                    by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:16:26 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Rights are denied disproportionally... (0+ / 0-)

                      ... based on ethnicity.

                      The term, "white privilege" trivializes the denial of rights by conflating them with privileges.

                      •  Why, yes, yes it does - for a reason... (0+ / 0-)

                        Because that makes it a less threatening term to those being exposed to the fact that they might be benefiting at the expense of others.

                        There are multiple fights about the term going on in these threads, and they're almost opposite at times.  In one corner, you've got the people who oppose it because it's 'going to turn (white) people off' because it makes them uncomfortable.  In the opposite corner, the folks who think it trivializes the abuses of rights that are a part of the greater pattern.

                        To appease one group, you'd basically have to make the phrase even more fluffy and cuddly, and to appease the other, it would come out as an even harsher and more brutal term.

                •  yeah but I didn't react to (7+ / 0-)

                  a discussion on the privilege of being male, or straight, or Christian in this country with... "hey I'm not privileged!"

                  I listened.  learned.  thought about it.  and realized, that COMPARED TO THE ALTERNATIVES, yes I really was!

                  would that expat and whoeverthefuckelse is oh so goddamned offended at the phrasing here reacted the same way.

                  but nope.  we'll just come up with a NEW term that they can parse.  and the band plays on.

                  (refreshing my email and sighing)

                  "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                  by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 12:46:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  further (0+ / 0-)
            It really doesn't help that the some of the cast of "characters" who are so vehemently trying to frame the debate and "word choice" to their liking have been less than upstanding in their behavior here with people of color.  As if I place one iota into some of these people's protestions, lol.

            I hope you are not meaning me. I don't think I have been "less than upstanding" in my behavior here with people of color.

            And once again, a discussion about how people interpret words is not derailing a discussion about how people react to words, which was discussed in the diary.

          •  I really don't think it's meant to derail (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MixedContent

            when objections are raised to the term based on the idea that the term white privilege shuts down conversation.

            It obviously does, except among people that have already absorbed its meaning. Those people are not the ones that need to have their eyes opened.

            In my conversations on race IRL I never start with privilege. I can eventually move to that but 9 times out of 10, if I start out with it I get the same reaction that we see often on Dkos. So I don't use it as I find it unhelpful with those that really need and in many cases really want to listen.

            I would never question anyone else's use of it, as it does exist, and those that have experienced racism have every right to use whatever terms they see fit.

            But I do object to people being called racist or underhanded for feeling it is potentially harmful and "bad marketing"as far as bringing more voices on board.

            Education is too big to fail. Truth is too big to fail. Justice is too big to fail. Peace is too big to fail.

            by Burned on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:46:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  it only 'obviously' shuts down convo (6+ / 0-)

              for SOME.  the diarist is white, it didn't shut down his convo.

              it's my opinion, those folks put off by it are looking for a reason to avoid the discussion.  PERIOD.  otherwise they could get past the discomfort and discuss it anyway, as everyone does everyday with words and concepts

              but nope, on THIS we've gotta stop play and throw the yellow flag, huh?

              "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

              by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:03:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

                If you read my comment you'd see that I said you should use whatever term you want. You're the one suffering the inequality.

                I agree that some people might want to avoid the subject. My solution for that would be to come in from another direction. I agree that it only shuts down the conversation for some. And since SOME of those people are the ones I'd want to get to first I'd use another term, like discrimination. Then you could move into privilege after the talk of discrimination helps to define it.

                I really think that this particular time is a very good one for drawing in people that wouldn't normally be brought in and I personally would use whatever words worked in the most expeditious manner. White privilege isn't one I would use because it takes so long for some people that have had a difficult time in their own lives to soak it in without getting defensive.

                You should go about it however you think best.

                I'm not very good at this in comment form. Which is why I generally stay out.

                My objection was only to the charges of derailment and racism.

                Education is too big to fail. Truth is too big to fail. Justice is too big to fail. Peace is too big to fail.

                by Burned on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:30:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I thought that you were Black? (4+ / 0-)

                  You aren't suffering from inequality but Mally is?

                  - the habit of ignoring race is understood to be a graceful, even generous, liberal gesture - Toni Morrison

                  by blindyone on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 01:37:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  we're already being relatively careful (4+ / 0-)

                  with the language Burned.  what we're talking about is racism, at the mention of which, people recoil and run for the hills.

                  people upthread are talking about whether even CALLING someone a racist is an hr-able offense, so dammit what can we call it?  

                  and what can we call it when people want to get hung up on stuff like... WHAT WE'RE CALLING IT if not derailment?

                  "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                  by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 03:37:01 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not always thrilled with the 'derailment' (0+ / 0-)

                    charge myself, because the way I think of it, it signals intent, which is probably impossible to truly know on teh webz.

                    Some people just get sort of fixated on, and attached to, their own ideation as to the importance of using a specific word or phrase, and get 'hung up on' something you or I might consider a trivial offshoot of the larger convo.  I'd also suggest the vast majority of the time people get into time-wasting pissing contests, it's because one or both participants have decided they know the motivations and intent of the person with whom they're arguing, and assign negatives to same.

                    That having been said, I think there were a number of seriously pointless exchanges upthread with people getting truly worked up over tangential notions.  I just won't claim I know if they were doing it specifically to change the subject.

                    •  the train never INTENDS to derail, zeke. (5+ / 0-)

                      neither does the rock on the rails.

                      apologies for losing my temper in your diary.

                      "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                      by mallyroyal on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:45:35 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Shrug (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mahakali overdrive, mallyroyal

                        I'm not thrilled with it, but what does it amount to?  I don't think you owe me any sort of apology for getting frustrated with people who can't seem to understand why you might get upset with people pushing back without seeming to try to understand.  If there is a way to actually connect with them and actually have understanding flow in both directions, anger probably doesn't help, but I certainly understand that it's inevitable in certain areas.

                        I respect geomoo's opinions in a lot of things, but we seem to have completely talked right past each other here, with him assuming I want to lecture him on my 'right' position and that I might have even been mocking some of his words.  

                        Otoh, I've always found dvogel to be an ass, so I'm not surprised at any of his comments in here.  He didn't come in to discuss or debate, he came in to simply go around telling people they're racists and wrong in everything they think.  Given the values and beliefs he's held in every single thread in which I've ever interacted with him on every topic, I don't simply see why he doesn't openly admit he's a Republican.   He's not even a believable DINO.

                      •  Whoops, and just caught what you meant (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mallyroyal

                        in your derailment comment there.

                        When I talked about intent, I specifically was talking about some person working to derail a train (or the convo) since I don't see our participants as being as lacking in self-awareness as a rock or tree.

                        I think if you grant the humanity, intent will always be a question.

                        •  what I meant was (