Wednesday, April 15, 2009

White Privilege

After reading the article for tomorrow I have a few comments and questions for everyone.

(1) In response to privilege 10, can she really be pretty sure that her voice will be heard in a room filled with people, all of whom are a different race than she?
-Does it not seem likely that in the ghetto (latino, black, asian) she might find trouble trying to address a group?
(2) She implies in privilege 12 that minorities music, food, and hair cutting places are less available in mainstream America; is this really the case?
-What race is she talking about that is not represented in this category? And how does food which fit a cultural tradition link directly to one's race (i.e. it seems like she is presupposing something here.)
(3) Privilege 15 states that she does not need to worry about physical harm towards her child, as a result of systematic racism.
-While John Smith may not have to worry about racial profiling from the cops, he might have to worry about the prejudices bred from those racial profilings. For instance, could her son not end up dead as a backlash of his father's systematic racial underpinnings (especially if he was a law enforcement officer)? Should her child not be aware of systematic racism, his inherent involvement in it, and the possible repercussions?
(4) This is my favorite. In privilege 35 she says that when hired into an affirmative action workplace she does not have to worry about a co-worker suspecting that she got the job because of race.
-Doesn't this seem to presuppose that affirmative action undermines the value of a minorities accomplishment? And does it mean that a white person securing a job in an affirmative action based workplace is more valuable than in a non-affirmative action based workplace? Is she looked at in college or in a non-affirmative action based workplace as having been handed that space partly because of her race?

This last question is interesting because this seems to be similar but different. She may get into college or secure that job because she was privileged to do so from birth (because she had money and a good home). The accomplishment could be diminished but not because of her race and rather because of where she came into this world, which is more characteristic of whiteness but not inherent to it's intrinsic properties. Blackness on the other hand has negative intrinsic properties from birth, aside from probable socio-economic problems, they will be followed around the store more often than whites regardless of status. They will still be the exception, and this seems to be where the real racial problem lies.

Some of the privileges that seem to be afforded to white students at Rhodes.

1. I do not have to try hard to find someone of my own race inside the gates of Rhodes. (the opposite may be true outside the bubble)
2. I am not questioned at the guard shack because of my skin color.
3. I will not be the only person of my race in any class I take at Rhodes.
4. My professor will probably be the same race as me.
5. The majority of the administration is of my same race.
6. My success in college will not represent the success or any advancement of my race.
8. I need not worry about being on the front page of the website because of my race, nor if I ended up there would I ever have to worry about people thinking I got there solely because of my race.
9. I do not have to worry that my acceptance into this college was based on my race.
10. I will forever bear the burden of white privilege, the guilt that comes with it, and shame for all of the things that my ancestors generations have done. I am privileged/indoctrinated to feel that guilt and shame, yet relieved of any responsibility for eradicating an entire race (yes the indians). I have the privilege of picking which oppression to feel most guilty about.
11. I am also constrained to not walk in parts of Memphis, which I must say doesn't seem equally true for minorities. While a black man, dressed in non-rich/white clothes, walking in a rich white neighborhood might be stopped, questioned, and even detained, the rich white man might want to fully explore the possible consequences of walking around the mound at night. This also seems to be a privilege of a white person as well though; we are privileged to live in areas with less crime. How would the two be treated when walking into an east Texas trailer park?


1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure that both the rich white man and the black man would have their fair share of confrontations in the east Texas trailer park.


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