Monday, December 15, 2014

What IS "White Privilege?"

Ask define "White Privilege."   What I get every time is an amorphic, rambling commentary that, when deciphered (if that is possible...sometimes it is not) basically says, It's YOUR fault."  The definition of "it" changes with each person, and so does the exact nature of the word, "fault."  But there is no factual or statistical support for any definition or for the conclusion.  And I cannot find the origin of the term.  It sprung out of nowhere, apparently, made of whole cloth and seems designed to emotionally carry the argument without resorting to anything logic or proof.

Some of the ramblings are quite entertaining and would be humorous, were it not for the totally serious intent of the person attempting to make the argument.  One person said it could be determined simply by the shade of a persons complexion; the lighter the skin pigment, the more acceptable the person regardless of intelligence, ability, education or experience.

They became quite agitated when I inquired as to whether this scale of "whiteness" was absolute, or comparative.  They didn't understand the question.  I explained that I wanted to know if you just put all people next to each other and then oriented them by skin pigment from light to dark...or the reverse, it didn't matter to me...or if each race had its own scale.  If each race than had its own scale, then you would first have to line up all those qualifying as "white" and create a ranking from 1 to 100.  Then do the same for all African-Americans, all Spanish Origin, all Middle Easterners and all Orientals...and perhaps you would need to have sub-groups.  All of these would have a grade of "Whiteness" on an identical 1 to 100 scale. questions was..."which method of comparison was applicable?"  No answer.

How can one not only understand "White Privilege", much less adjust for it to eliminate its effect, if you cannot define or measure it?

The suspicion starts to develop that the whole concept of "White Privilege" has nothing to do with dealing with and eliminating it so much as using it as a way to avoid responsibility and consequences.  That comes from the lack of definition and the identity and background of those holding high the concept.  And I don't see a lot of occurrences that even come close to being laid at the foot of any loose definition of "White Privilege."  Behavior and attitude seem to be at the base of most of today's disturbing events: insulting law enforcement officers, attacking those who give lawful orders, interfering with others' peaceful enjoyment of public surroundings, business success, political success, just to name a few.

On the basis of skin pigmentation, Mr. Obama should never have been elected President.  Millionaire entrepreneurs are African-Americans that are quite dark in complexion...surely that cannot happen if "White Privilege" is real.  People of "color" routinely break the law and demonstrate in a manner that interferes with other citizens' quiet enjoyment of public areas...but very few are arrested and almost never is one of them actually punished for their law-breaking.  Surely that would not be so if "White Privilege" was real.  People of "color" routinely accuse, without proof, lighter skinned people of being racist and suffer no consequences from such false accusations, yet those of lighter pigment often lose their employment if they accidentally utter words that can be seen as racist only with tortured application of logic;  surely that would not be so if "white privilege" were real.

Meanwhile there are people of various hues walking around with tattoos that insult various segments of humanity, speak derogatorily of themselves and others, dress in cloths that leave ample room for diapers, and strut as if they were trying out for the role of a rooster in a 4th grade play, cannot read, speak, add or subtract without a machine and blame "white privilege" for the fact they cannot get a job...or if they can, that it only pays minimum wage and is part time.  There seems to be a certain failure to communicate here...and I tend to think it is because this group has no interest at all in listening.

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