The Privilege of Checking White Privilege

If you’ve been white lately, you have likely been confronted with the idea that to be a good person, you must cultivate a guilt complex over the privileged status your race enjoys.

It isn’t that you are doing, or even quite thinking, anything racist. Rather, your existential state of Living While White constitutes a form of racism in itself. Your understanding will serve as a tool … for something. But be careful about asking just what that something is, because that will mean you “just don’t get it.”

To be sure, there is, indeed, a distinct White Privilege. Being white does offer a freedom not easily available to others. You can underperform without it being ascribed to your race. And when you excel, no one wonders whether Affirmative Action had anything to do it. Authority figures are likely to be your color, and no one associates people of your color with a propensity to violence. No one expects you to represent your race in a class discussion or anywhere else.

These are the basics of White Privilege, disseminated in key campus texts such as Peggy McIntosh’s foundational “Unpacking the Invisible Backpack” [PDF] from 1988. It’s become a meme of Blue America’s mental software, recently focused by the murders of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

But “White Privilege” is more than just a term these days. For example, some of New York City’s elite private schools are giving White Privilege lessons to their student bodies, teaching them, for example, that when affluent white students talk about their expensive vacations this could be hurtful to students of color from humbler circumstances.

The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service kicked off its community meetings in Ferguson with White Privilege teachings. There are college courses, and even a yearly conference. White Privilege is suddenly a hot topic and cottage industries have sprung up around it.

However, one can thoroughly understand how racism works and still ask just what this laser focus on “White Privilege” is meant to achieve.

“This is messy work, but these conversations are necessary,” says Sandra Chapman, director of diversity and community at Little Red School House in New York City. Okay—but why? Note that the answer cannot be, “So that whites will understand that they are the privileged … etc.” That makes as much sense as saying “Because!” So I’m going to dare to ask a simple question: What exactly are we trying to achieve with this particular lesson?

I assume, for example, that the idea is not to teach white people that White Privilege means that black people are the only group of people in human history who cannot deal with obstacles and challenges. If the idea is that black people cannot solve their problems short of white people developing an exquisite sensitivity to how privileged they are, then we in the black community are being designated as disabled poster children…

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  • cmh

    nothing pisses me off more than this bullshit left over from pre civil war days

  • Alain

    Only a mentally disturbed, in fact very disturbed, person would feel guilty about his or her race/skin colour what ever it is. The Left insist on classifying people by their skin colour which is blatant racism, and I have no tolerance for that. One cannot change basic skin colour, but one can change one’s behaviour which is why we should judge others by their behaviour. All this is pure cultural marxist claptrap and those pushing it need to be outed and publicly ridiculed.

  • Hard Little Machine

    We laugh and call them stupid but this is seriously the same problem they have with Jews. It’s not what Israel does it’s that Jews exist at all.

  • Uncle_Waspy

    Heh….the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    I loved that line about the school that discouraged white privileged students from talking about their expensive vacations because it’s humiliating to poor non-white students. What about the poor white students? Nah! No such thing! All whites are filthy rich racists……and they sit around spacious drawing rooms in their mansions and say things like “Brrrr! It’s chilly in here!” as they throw bundles of hundred dollar bills into the fireplace…all the while dreaming up new and creative ways to oppress the brothers.

    • jayme

      The area I live if in population 12,000 one side of the community you have the social slums full of blacks and the left say look how hard it is for them while in another part you have the working poor mostly white they get little to no help yet the left does not care.

    • Frau Katze

      I noticed that too. I never went on expensive vacations as a child ( or as an adult either).

  • kkruger71

    I don’t see where the “why” of this need much examination, it’s simply another way for these people to dismiss any good points raised by whites against their policies and ignore the harmful effects they might have against the larger white community that can’t afford to escape them.

  • I have a dream that one day we will all live in a nation where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    • Exile1981

      Thanks OJ; I think I hear the hum of MLK spinning in his grave.

  • Icebow

    White privilege: beautiful as the British Empire.
    By the way, laser light can be focused, but is essentially unfocused.

  • Exile1981

    As a white i have the privilege of paying taxes to support dead beats who are unwilling to work a day in their life.

  • Surele Surele

    and the question remains: did O. get the job because of white privilege or affirmative action?

    • Observer

      Or because of irrational “white guilt”?

      • Freedom

        Or
        simple morons who thought Hope and Change was more important than real qualifications
        for the job