So a facebook friend shared to his wall this article This Comic Perfectly Explains What White Privilege Is and I started to respond after reading it and some of the comments that inevitably bubbled, simmered, or raged beneath it...came back to his wall to respond but after seeing what flowed from brain to keyboard, was inspired to make it a blog post instead.
White privilege is there, but not so simple...and the big stats aren't going to resonate with people who haven't been affected by it. Problem is really money...legal issues, for example, tie up black people (the most discussed minority when not talking about immigration, so I'll default to them interchangeably with minorities in general) more than whites because whites generally have the money to just pay the fine and move on or pay the lawyer and fight, and minorities esp. blacks don't and end up tied up in the system forever... don't believe me sit in traffic court for a day.
WHITE PRIVILEGE REAL LIFE EXPERIMENT 1:
It was brought up in the comments that "flesh-coloured" band-aids are an example of white privilege because the flesh that they are coloured after is white and there are no dark alternatives. Everyone's used a band-aid so that's a more relevant example across the class and lifestyle lines.
WHITE PRIVILEGE REAL LIFE EXPERIMENT 2:
White people are allowed to smile, frown, be bubbly, complain, and be b*tchy to anyone in the office and it's just considered typical various forms of coworker behaviour, from the mild to the Facebook-rant worthy. Black people often find they are asked if they are having a bad day or told to smile or flat out avoided, all by whites, if they don't walk around corporate America with a cheshire cat grin everytime a white person lays eyes on them. This is ESPECIALLY true for black men, and even more especially true for black men "allowed" in without the most common black male corporate image: clean cut and lightskinned. Dreads or dark skin and they better be the friendliest people on earth, and sometimes not even that makes white people comfortable enough around them when not forced to deal with them directly as part of work. Many of them have, in my experience, developed a bi-polar or two-faced Jekyll and Hyde personality where they are actually the worst mentors for another black person because they let it all hang out in ways that would have gotten them fired if they did that to a white coworker. It has turned many of them into bullies. Because they do not get to have an off day like everyone else where no sh*t-eating grins are shared like air.
WHITE PRIVILEGE REAL LIFE EXPERIMENT 3:
Your money has zero black faces on it. Minorities who are raised in the US from birth grow up their entire life seeing NO one that looks like them on the money and the psychological effect of being trained from birth to associate money with white men and everyone else invisible is a white privilege no one thinks of that is most relevant to everyone. Google everything from the 1 cent to the 100,000 dollar bill. For all the contributions blacks, Asians and others have made to this country, for the fact that this country belongs actually to the native Americans and was co-opted using some gangster methods that get non-white countries a lot of tsk-ing and behaviour suggestions and sanctions today...and not even the one dollar bill you can see a hint of diversity on? The dollars are frequently reinvented to stay ahead of counterfeiters, and no one ever decides to throw a few black, asian, and native american faces in the mix. Just the thought of it sounds like Monopoly money doesn't it? Look at the story of the 10,000 dollar bill in the link above: the white man whose name we still see every time we see a Chase Bank had the access and the yes, comfort and surety of white privilege, to even have the ambition to want to be president, and that's how he got his name printed on the money. There is no black person who has the pull to get their face printed on US dollars in a bid to psychologically embed themselves in the public's mind as a presidential choice, not even Barack Obama, the current president of the US and the first mixed (black Harvard-educated African-immigrant father, white American mother). The richest black man in America I can safely guess CANNOT get his face printed on even the penny much less the paper money. It would not even cross his mind to try.
WHITE PRIVILEGE REAL LIFE EXPERIMENT 3:
You could even try googling "beautiful woman". MYRIAD pictures of white women (and white-skinned women of non-European descent) pop up as far as you can scroll, with only a very tiny handful of pictures of black women, and most of these are of the same woman, Beyonce, who looks about as far from black as you can get within the racial category and still be visibly a black person, and she is actually mixed and in many of the pictures looks more like an exotic white woman with a serious tan. Keep in mind when considering the entire PLANET not just USA, white women are a vast minority.
You would have to actually google "beautiful black woman" to see more than one picture REMOTELY resembling this (unless for resemblance you count the extremely pale Ethiopian on the beautiful woman search whose hair had to be hidden and who had to be topless in her pic to compete):
I posted that many on purpose, and tried to collect them with similarly varied styles of dress on purpose...because apparently not a one of them when one goes searching for such, are considered beautiful women, they are considered beautiful BLACK women...and that goes on by the minute everyday in America...THAT is white privilege, the media PUSH of the standard of beauty by which all other women are both overtly and covertly judged and we all know women in general are judged overwhelmingly by their looks in personal, professional, and academic life, and it is part and parcel of them getting ahead even more than men (that is why the public and the media obsess over what every first lady is WEARING and how she styles her HAIR and what she is doing, while the president himself is only discussed in terms of what he is doing). White women fight pressure as well, the pressure to look slim, young, and rich enough to afford sunny tropical vacations. Non-black minority women fight pressure to look slim, young, rich, and white. Black women fight pressure to look slim, young, rich, white, eloquent, intelligent, moral, marriageable, and still be allowed to be HUMAN. White privilege starts with the minimum standard (just being white is trusted to be safer, cleaner, smarter, better educated, nicer, more intelligent, more attractive, more well-off, higher class... whether they actually are when you first see them or not. (They have a POSITIVE bias) and works to improve it. White privilege puts everyone who is not white as guaranteed losers (since they start out without the basic requirement of white privilege, being white), if they don't fight and hustle to get to the point white privilege allows white people to have a subconscious head start at, as in what's assumed a given for whites has to be proven for blacks and others (they have a negative bias).
And I speak more of perceptions of life around you, mentalities, and (the effect of all this on) relationships, when I speak of the ongoing advantages of white privilege. Not the cliche focus on who makes what and what one does for a living (which ties into the next most rampant set of cliches about who has what education level). The headstart gained by slavery and Jim Crow is part of that cliche and real...but not the most powerful eye-opener no matter how we wish it were so and you know why? Every worldwide or widespread empire had that kind of head start. It's not unique, unfortunately we just found ourselves on the losing end of it this time around. I know, I know, heresy. But true. From Historum.com and this bit about white people being enslaved with even an entire town in Ireland pirated en masse, you can see kingdoms and empires rise, fall, and the conqueror's reach spreads even farther than the previous, since the dawn of time:
Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt and Kush
Wikipedia: The name Kush since at least the time of Josephus has been connected with the biblical character Cush, in the Hebrew Bible (Hebrew: כוש), son of Ham (Genesis 10:6). Ham had four sons named: Cush, Put, Canaan and Mizraim (Hebrew name for Egypt).
Kush empire rose out of the Kingdom of Kerma, started 2500 years before Christ, both of which were located/based in the Sudan:
Wikipedia: In 2003 Archaeologist Charles Bonnet heading a team of Swiss archaeologists excavating near Kerma discovered a cache of monumental black granite statues of the Pharaohs of the Nubian dynasty including Taharqa and Tanoutamon, the last two pharaohs of the 'Nubian' Dynasty, whose statues are described as "masterpieces that rank among the greatest in art history.
Nubian (Kush) Pharoah Taharqa
We do not learn in western black history not even in majority black countries of pharoahs being black, unless you get lucky in a college archaeology or BLACK history course (why not guaranteed to have this covered properly in world history even at the high school level? White privilege again, the winners of war throughout history colour their world in their image)....but, we are educated and if parented correctly or at the least educated with high enough quality, learn to be curious about ourselves and our history and our place in this world, and to do research, critical thinking, and compiling of various data into useful information. It is not just about math, reading, language, and science, and appeciation for the fine arts, but the underlying processes you learn in these studies to take into life with you. The victors of the most recent large-scale conquests aren't going to pump you up with how great you are and have been since before the book of Genesis was actually written: you have to have the sense to know how humanity is and go explore for yourself. And as many Asians are known to do, pass the sense of history and pride down to your children.
The Masai, according to Africland the most photographed people on Earth
In researching this piece of my post to show that conquering tribes and culture clash are not new concepts and not limited to any one race, my child saw the maps and pictures and asked questions as a child will, and so this is now the first time I have explained a brief bit that these are kingdoms in Africa. and pharoahs, kings and queens, and the word seen at the top of a particular page is pronounced NUBIA. So then a picture of pyramids in Sudan came into view and the guess of course was,, "are those in Africa?" Now my child wants to know if it takes a plane to go there and when told how far away these places are, and that there is a bed on the plane because it's on the other side of the world, now wants to go. If I had not decided to edit this post to add in this section of pictures, and had not taken the time to answer a curious child, she may never have shown the interest to now go and see these wonders...it starts that small. Not growing up hearing me complain about white people and the power the man has and will always have (supposedly) over my life, but a focus on awareness, knowledge, and the confidence that comes with it. My child is mixed but still shares this heritage and I did not know how to teach it before now, and so I did not. I teach by doing and explaining as I go along, and had I not decided to write this blog post and further come back and expand on it, I would not have been "doing" anything about the necessary knowledge while my child was awake (cause I clearly couldn't write as much as when sleeping).
Kingdoms of Aksum and Adal
The Kitara Empire (approximately the Great Lakes region of Africa)
Known via the oral histories of the region so I can't even find a proper map
|The Roman Empire|
But...now that we know this, now what? Did anyone reading this change their mind about however they felt previously about race relations and their own advantages and disadvantages in life? If I make a post like this every week for just the rest of this year, will it improve your outlook on race relations or start becoming like that one mosquito in your air that you just can't quite slap and put out of your misery? Barack Obama made salient points during two main parts of his career on race in America: when running for president the first time, and in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case, since he as a man who identifies as black and visibly looks black and socially is considered black, has received black treatment, shockingly even as president. But imagine if he made it the topic week after week or month after month or combed back through it all in detail for his second presidential run? It would not have NEARLY the same resonance, and would actually start to take on negative instead of enlightening undertones.
The big stats are getting too cliche and people are growing tired of and desensitized to them. While the privilege is there, harping on it creates a sense of non-urgency in the section of the victim's brain that drives one to get out of bed and move life forward, and says life is this because of external factors so why bother? You need to know odds are against you and leave it at that...when we keep pushing these negative stats out there they not only show whites the stats are in their favour and potentially give some who didn't have a superiority complex before a new one, we push into the brains of blacks and others who didn't even feel behind before, a sense of menacing, omnipresent, intangible and invincible inferiority that becomes some kind of latent virus.
It kills ambition, it kills innovation on how to get out of x situation, it kills hope, it kills spirit... I use to expect a 4.0 out of myself and be annoyed that I had not applied myself enough or kept my head clear enough/had a stable enough home situation to get it... and then a professor in college (HBCU) told me my incoming high school GPA and SATS were top third of black scores nationwide and to me my SAT was very mediocre, and pure laziness and fear of sleeping partway through the math portion again made me not retake it...I also didn't have a parent with the money to buy me an SAT prep course, 'cause graduating high school at 16 with near a 4.0, I should have really been able to ace that thing and have an Ivy League worthy score. Plus the parent I was living with at the time was not the one who had a college degree (was finished much later). I did the couple practice exams they had in the high school brochure from the guidance counselors office and that was it. My parents had never been through the US K-12 nor college system at that point and I was always considered brilliant and never had to be told to do homework or aim for straight As (which I only started getting consistently in the last half of high school because my grades were going to be my ticket out of there or die)... so I pretty much handled my whole college prep on my own. Once he said that, a certain inner push was no longer there cause sitting there looking back in hindsight with him, it seemed the goal to beat was not the national top scorers (who I researched trying to figure out what the competition was like for this test, because back then it did not cross my mind to look up to the top BLACK scorers) or the maximum score possible on the test (which was what I was comparing myself to) but the black average, and the black average was not hard to beat, since I was topping it with basically no prep and sleeping off in math.
We need to stop drilling it into black children and young adults' heads about all these damn stats...they won't know they are suppose to fail or be so-so if we just let their curiosity and talent (and parenting) guide them on how high they can rise. I am really at the point where I am deciding to stop reading these things because they have a negative and downward pressing psychological effect that I wasn't born with and did not immigrate to this country with, and over a decade now of reading them I am feeling the drag backwards and need to get back to looking at benchmarks to beat not focusing on how the system is set up against me, which yes it is but unless I'm about to commit suicide and end the game I can't keep absorbing negative energy. Same reason I stopped listening to black relationship drama on the airwaves and in certain repetitive culprits' personal lives...yes we have our bad experiences including my own and it's good to know no one is alone in that but the party cannot last forever far as wallowing in all that is wrong is concerned...feel bad, vent, rant, then what? If you keep rinsing and repeating the levels of toxicity build up in your psyche...
Time heals all wounds but no wound heals if you keep picking and digging at it 24/7, 365, every.freaking.year... if I not just acknowledge but FEED my brain this on and on, I will not be able to hear my own intuition and brain speak nor realize a lot of it (relationship drama) is common to all single people of a certain age range, it's not because omg I was born black and this is what's also wrong with me because of (and in addition to) that. I will not be able to innovate, I will not be able to dream, I will not be able to think my way out of a paper bag. When you stop with the negative input from left right AND center you can clear your head and breathe and hear that inner still voice, and develop your own position on how to handle your life not the external boxes and cliches. In Jamaica there are black people with no clue of their entitlements because they are born with a gold or platinum spoon in their mouths, their entire social circle is this way, and they will likely die in this comfortable cocoon. And poor people tend to hate them for it and for the fact that they can go through their entire lives unaware of the poor's true hardships and suffering and be A-okay cause they don't know about it, and hear about it the way you hear about the Loch Ness monster and Area 51. Historically the lighter were richer but as that changes the feeling of "them" vs. "us" that goes with class warfare includes ALL the colours that are at the top.
Big point America hates because since the break from England this is a bad word: this is good old CLASS warfare that happens to fall along colour lines, with some racism mixed in. If someone is born in a comfortable upper class cocoon and doesn't know anything about your kind of life growing up roughing it or having to do without at times or even falling on hard times, they are not automatically racist, but they might be classist. However everything here gets labelled racism and since no red-blooded American discusses class, those who know it's not all really racism start chafing under the label and before you know it, everyone feels like a pressure cooker for a different reason.
The important discussion isn't really the existence of white privilege but HOW DID THEY GET ON TOP TO HAVE IT? Way back to the first tactical advantage that set the trends and standards of colour today...how did they get it? And I don't mean beginning of US history I mean WAY back. It is always said that black kingdoms in Africa had the upper hand in health and agricultural practices, in higher education (e.g. Timbuktu), in engineering with the pyramids, in comfort with human and esp. female sexuality with powerful kings and queens and multiple types of relationships, and elaborate beautiful garments and accessories that showed off the body to its best advantage in a natural way that carried no hiding, no shame, in natural resources (still tops there). It is even said that white people were still living in caves covered in animal skins at the point in history when they first came into contact with blacks who had medicine, science, natural living, education and engineering at a maximum and family dysfunction at a minimum.
What was the point in history where people who achieved this were able to be mentally messed with enough to have the issues we see going on in black communities to this day? No one discusses this critical moment in ancient history, it's as if history begins with the English colonization of countries in Africa, Asia, and the New World...because when people talk about the olden days they refer to the caveman days of whites, the dark ages and middle ages of whites, the Victorian and Elizabethan eras of, again, whites, and the post-slavery neo-colonial times, where the slaves (and the mentally enslaved) learned the mannerisms (which is different from manners), routines, mentalities of...whites. The world had much more variety in thinking and curiosity about diversity overall before everything became colonized and now increasingly Americanized. How did they manage to collect this advantage virtually everywhere they went? Making everyone aware white privilege is there isn't actually a necessary exercise, turn on a television anywhere in the world almost and you will know. Check who is overrepresented and who is underrepresented racially in the group that has the most money to afford the most varied and lavish experiences and modern comforts in life and has the most ownership of factors of production. <<<Pause here and click that link because all this talk of white privilege rages daily and none of it discusses what the core assets foundation to the privilege are that are so vital, because many don't know the factors of production. Africa has the most resources on the planet but it's native residents have the lowest in ownership of the factors of production.
Their descendants cannot fix it, even though some do want to. The only way to fix it is for everyone to return from whence they historically came before the "discovery" of the New World and the rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. That is the conclusion Marcus Garvey reached why he was was pan-African...because if you remain here you must know after a thorough review of the situation on the ground we cannot turn back the hands of time, we cannot fix this, and being ON about it builds up psychological toxicity levels, so it is either re-patriate yourself to the distant lands of your ancestors if you even know who they are with the rupture in recordkeeping that plagues the family heritage and lineage of Western blacks, or make a plan of action tailored to you and free of the toxicity we are fed under the guise of ad nauseam race relations/white privilege discussions. For those who feel we NEED this discussion, HOW they historically first came by this advantage is a more original quest for enlightenment and if a white or black or other person is truly that concerned about how to resolve it, they would first need to reverse engineer it.
Figure that out and you can maybe figure out how to undo the privilege and make things more equal, but again, to accomplish that calls for ownership of factors of production... through INDIVIDUAL research, or through a dedicated college major of Africana studies and/or anthropology, you will see that I am sure as a recurring theme throughout the history of various parts of the world. If you can't figure that out then figure out how to engineer your individual life for happiness given the cards you are dealt, and to help any children step higher than you reached when your time on this earth is done... 'cause the way its going with these endless stats about how much lesser in everything minorities are, it's germinating complexes (both superior and inferior) in people, worse from BIRTH...and removing the competitive spirit needed to beat odds in this life or at least die with some pride and dignity knowing you lived to your max despite the odds. In all-black and all-white countries something else holds some group back. (Remember Czechoslovakia? Now two countries. Remember the Sudan? Now two countries; South Sudan is the newest country in the world.)
There will always be something, we have to make up our minds to find our slice of achievement and happiness despite it all, because even if we were all still in Africa we would not all be kings and queens.