A “Social Justice Warrior” may tell you that white cis male Christian hetero people have all the power, and therefore they have “privilege”.
And because people with those identities have privilege, there is one set of rules for people with privilege, and another set of rules for everyone else.
So, for example, a white person is supposed to “check his/her white privilege” and defer to a “person of color”. A man is supposed to “check his male privilege” and defer to a woman.
Not only that, but if someone doesn’t like white people, that’s acceptable (and sometimes encouraged), because whites have “privilege” and therefore there’s no harm in disliking them. However, if a white person doesn’t like some other race of people, that is very, very bad.
For example, a workshop entitled “Interrupting Racism: Tips & Tools for White People”, at the Ohio State University, taught attendees that only white people can be racist, and white people cannot be victims of racism.
“During the workshop, students were taught there are three “ingredients” of racism: race, power and prejudice. According to Angie Wellman, associate director in the Student Life Multicultural Center who led the event, every race that is not white lacks the power aspect, which is why white people cannot be victims of racism.
“The African American attendee also asked Wellman point-blank if white people were the only people who could be racist. Wellman said yes.”
This theory can be found throughout the Social Justice literature. A textbook entitled Is Everyone Really Equal states “There is no such thing as reverse racism or reverse sexism (or the reverse of any form of oppression).” By “reverse racism” and “reverse sexism” they mean anti-white racism and anti-male sexism. This is actually a misnomer since racism is racism and sexism is sexism, regardless of who the target is.
Now, does this sound like “justice” to you? Remember that “justice” means there is one set of rules for everyone. So this is actually injustice, even though SJWs call it “justice”.
It is very important to hold firm on this point. If, in a SJ program, you make the mistake of accepting that there is a different set of rules for you than for everyone else, you have given up your right to be treated as a human being.
Think of the “privilege” model as a reverse caste system. The ones who are deemed to have the most privilege are at the very bottom; they’re kind of like the untouchables. Everyone can look down on them, and they can’t say anything about it or they’re accused of being racist (or sexist, etc.) The very biggest victims are at the top; they hold the victimhood trump card, and everyone else has to listen to them first. Whatever they say goes, and it’s taboo for anyone to disagree.
To make things even more complicated, we all have multiple identities, according to SJW’s. So if you have a black man and a white woman, who has the privilege? Whites and men have privilege, so both of them have some privilege and some victimhood. So, the one who is deemed the bigger victim in a particular context will hold the trump card.
It can be useful to politely challenge a SJWs idea of who has the power (while being clear that even if they are right about who has the power, you still believe in one standard for all.) The idea of white privilege is actually something of a scam. If you say that, though, they will probably be quick to brand you a “bigot” (or to think this to themselves and feel smug), so it’s better to lead into this in another way.
First, let’s look at the evidence. SJ evidence that a white person has privilege usually includes:
- Historically, white people ran everything, and made rules to favor them, during the era of slavery and also Jim Crow laws. The last of the Jim Crow laws were enforced until 1965, so it has been over 50 years since any of these laws were in effect. (Note: Check out the Democratic Party’s historical links to Jim Crow.)
- Anecdotally, “people of color” often have personal reports of some life experiences in which someone was rude to them using racial slurs, or they experienced other difficulties that they believe were related to their race. (Sometimes the conclusion that their difficulty is based on race is factual, and other times it is a feeling. It is important to listen to feelings, but not to accept them as facts without other evidence.)
- White people earn more on average than black people and Hispanic people, and this is supposedly caused by “white privilege”. This seems to be the number one piece of evidence that whites are having an easy life today due to their “privilege”.
However, the idea that “white privilege” and racism presents an insurmountable barrier to blacks’ achievement is very easy to debunk:
“Between 1890 and 1940, … black marriage rates in the U.S. were higher than white marriage rates. In the 1940s and ’50s, black labor-participation rates exceeded those of whites; black incomes grew much faster than white incomes; and the black poverty rate fell by 40 percentage points. Between 1940 and 1970—that is, during Jim Crow and prior to the era of affirmative action—the number of blacks in middle-class professions quadrupled. In other words, racial gaps were narrowing. Steady progress was being made….
“In the post-’60s era, these positive trends would slow, stall, or in some cases even reverse course. The homicide rate for black men fell by 18% in the 1940s and by another 22% in the 1950s. But in the 1960s all of those gains would vanish as the homicide rate for black males rose by nearly 90%….”
Since homicide rates went up, and marriage rates and labor-participation rates went down, during the same span of time that racism went down, it is impossible for these problems to be caused by racism. And if black incomes were rising dramatically during a time when racism was much, much worse than it is now, then it seems unlikely that racism has a whole lot to do with black income, either.
In addition, white people are not the highest earning group in the US today. There are at least three non-white ethnic groups that earn more than white people:
|Group||2015 Median Household Income|
So, what kind of pathetic privilege is it when three different minority groups have overtaken the group that supposedly has all the power? We are told that white privilege is so strong that it is an insurmountable barrier, holding minorities back. But if white privilege was as great a factor as SJWs claim, then how is it possible for three minority ethnicities to be surpassing whites?
Looking at larger racial groups rather than specific ethnicities, Asians’ median household income was 74,245, compared to whites’ $59,698.
In addition, while today Jewish people are a very successful mainstream ethnicity (median household income $97,500), massive waves of impoverished Jewish immigrants have overcome strong antisemitism to succeed despite the hardships.
Note: “Median household income” means that half of the group has a higher income than the number given.
In fact, white privilege is greatly exaggerated if it exists at all. Racial discrimination in education, housing, and hiring is illegal (with exceptions for some discrimination which is to blacks’ advantage.) So any time anti-black discrimination is discovered and proven, there are legal remedies.
And even if a minority with a grievance can’t afford a lawyer, there are many options available. Many lawyers are willing to work pro bono for civil rights cases. The ACLU is a very powerful and very well-funded civil rights organization. There are 73 Democrats for every 27 Republicans in the legal profession (and Democrats tend to buy into black victimhood). Since the social sciences are dominated by leftists, the social science research establishment is on-the-ready to prove anti-black discrimination any chance they get, and the leftist media (by which I am including what is often called the “mainstream media”) is slanted towards black victimhood as well. The threat of a public accusation of racism, even if unwarranted, is enough to motivate companies to make an effort to hire more blacks. Wealthy black organizations such as Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push are always looking for more employers to extort because of allegedly not hiring enough blacks.
(Note: Even though SJW’s are taking up the cause of all “people of color”, and other types of alleged privilege as well, blacks are the only ones who have historically experienced such egregious treatment as slavery and Jim Crow laws, so they are the ones who tend to get the most focus by the SJWs. For this reason, I will also be emphasizing the alleged “white privilege” in relation to blacks more than other types of alleged privilege.)
In addition, there are many white people who have faced discrimination against them in education and hiring.
Many colleges require higher SAT scores from whites than they require from non-Asian minorities; in effect, blacks get 230 bonus points and Hispanics get 185. (Asians are penalized 50 points, so they are discriminated against a little more than whites are, because they get higher SAT scores on average than white students do.)
In employment, you may have seen articles about businesses that are trying to recruit minorities to increase their “diversity”. Logically, if these companies are trying to hire someone “of color”, they are probably discriminating against white applicants. (Discrimination on the basis of race may be illegal, however, and for sure it doesn’t sound good, so they won’t be advertising this fact.)
Now, SJWs will likely tell you that this discrimination against whites is only an effort to level the playing field. Maybe so, but it is still discrimination against whites. So blacks and Hispanics cannot say they are the only ones discriminated against.
In sum, even though there is still some discrimination against blacks, it is inaccurate to allege that “white privilege” accounts for the income gap between whites and blacks, because:
- The fall and subsequent rise of problems facing blacks does not correlate with the steady decrease of racism.
- White privilege can’t be an insurmountable barrier since three non-white ethnic groups have surpassed whites’ income.
- Discrimination is illegal, and when it is identified there are legal remedies.
- While some illegal discrimination against minorities remains, there is also some discrimination against whites in favor of blacks and Hispanics.
For much more information disproving the idea that white racism causes black underachievement, see our six-part series.
It is a valid complaint, however, that inner city schools are often poor quality, and many minorities go to these schools. Although this is a big subject, suffice it to say, almost all of these inner cities are managed by Democrats, so if you’re going to be mad at someone for these problems, please address your concerns to these Democrats.
Now, back to the over-arching theme of privilege. Another problem with the SJW model is the assumption that ALL whites have privilege and ALL blacks are oppressed; that ALL men have male privilege and ALL women are oppressed; etc. In reality, some individuals do have an easier life than others, but there are individual whites who have more difficult circumstances than many individual blacks. There are individual women who have it easier than individual men; etc.
“Privilege” is the language of status and envy, which creates a whole new set of problems. It does not benefit us to envy those who have it easier than we do.
We Americans have a history of compassion for those who are less fortunate, regardless of their race, gender, or other attributes. We can continue having this compassion in a common-sense way, without resorting to a “privilege” model.
Now that you understand the SJ version of “identity” and “privilege”, it’s very important to learn about the “implicit bias” fraud that has been used to induce racial guilt in many students! Don’t let them fool you, click the bottom right link now!