• Judaka
    393

    I'm gunna change my tune here, I suppose you can call white privilege whatever you want. Feminist rhetoric about each and every white advantage, I feel like it has been too complicated to have entered the mainstream yet.
  • fdrake
    2.5k
    Yeah great but it's still not related to the term white privilege.Judaka

    This is lazy. Standpoint theory originated in intersectional approaches to feminism. Specifically, black women face different stuff to white ones. As an epistemology approach it applies whenever identity group differences influences perspective formation. If you'd read even the entire wiki article I'd linked you would see that. It explicitly has race examples.

    If you want to see some of the links between the two here might help. The keyword is 'epistemic privilege'.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    Just read about actress Rosanna Arquette stating that she was "sorry and ashamed of being white and privileged"Teller

    If Rosanna Arquette were really worried about being privileged, she would liquidate her assets and send a large check to the NAACP. Just guessing, but I bet she doesn't do that.

    People generally gain privilege by material means. They accumulate wealth, property, land, etc. and in possessing these assets can exercise power over others. The people who founded this country were privileged people, like privileged people everywhere, because they possessed substantial -- material -- wealth.

    Wealth is inheritable, and through provident planning the CLASS of privileged people maintain the concentration of wealth among their small portion of the population. (Like, children of rich people are married to the children of other rich people.)

    Race has certainly been a factor in the opportunity to accumulate wealth, property, land, and so on. The "white middle class" was selectively favored in the post-WWiI boom by having rich governmentally sponsored benefits designated for them, pretty much exclusively. Those benefits were the GI Education Bill, Veterans Housing Administration, and the much larger Federal Housing Administration programs which paid for education and subsidized the costs of building or acquiring homes. These benefits were generally denied to other other racial groups.

    So, 2 or 3 generations later, there is a substantial portion of the population (maybe 20%) who are substantially better off today because of these programs. Many working class whites received NO benefit from these programs because they lived outside of metropolitan areas, did not have incomes high enough to qualify, did not enroll in college, or lived/worked on farms.

    So, SOME whites are privileged because of their race, but most whites do not posses enough assets of the kind required to exercise any sort of privilege.

    Only if we get down to the details of household goods, cars, clothes, and the like can we make a scale of "poor white privilege". For the most part, poor whites and poor blacks share a lack of privilege.

    Upper or Middle Class Whites and Upper or Middle class people of other races have solid privilege based on wealth. Working class whites and people of other races share the same lack of privileged perqs. Yes, there definitely are many more people with out privilege, white or black, than there are people with privilege.

    START TALKING ABOUT CLASS AND STOP TALKING ABOUT RACE. CLASS IS WHERE THE MONEY IS.
  • Judaka
    393

    Yeah, honestly, instead of going down the rabbit hole of debating pernicious feminist intersectionality theories, I'm going to climb back out before it's too late. White privilege is about the dominance of the white perspective? Sure, go for it.
  • fdrake
    2.5k
    White privilege is about the dominance of the white perspective? Sure, go for it.Judaka

    Not what I said. Ignores the socio-economic dimensions. I responded in a way that highlighted the epistemological angle to take on privilege because that's what you asked about in my post. I even stressed that the two are related in my post, too. No idea where you're getting this from.
  • frank
    3.1k
    START TALK ABOUT CLASS AND STOP TALKING ABOUT RACE. CLASS IS WHERE THE MONEY IS.
    44m
    Bitter Crank

    Yes. It's like this:
  • Judaka
    393

    I wasn't trying to say that you had only talked about your epistemological angle, anyway.
  • alcontali
    474
    Identifying with race and/or nationality are feeble substitutes for identifying with extended family and religion. Of course, for people who do not have an extended family nor a religion, it is understandable that they acquire that kind of mental deficiency. I often do not agree with the Papacy, but I can only endorse his 1937 "With burning concern" admonition to the Germans:

    8. Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.

    But then again, the Papacy conveniently fails to mention how it is the Church itself that had been instrumental in dismantling the extended families in Europe:

    Cousin marriage was once the norm throughout the world, but it became taboo in Europe after a long campaign by the Roman Catholic Church. Theologians like St. Augustine and St. Thomas argued that the practice promoted family loyalties at the expense of universal love and social harmony. Eliminating it was seen as a way to reduce clan warfare and promote loyalty to larger social institutions -- like the church.

    It is not the Church that ultimately turned out to be the big winner in the millennium-long policy of dismantling the clans and the tribes in Europe. It is the State, along with an irrational and unsustainable notion of race, that became the winners.

    Therefore, the year 1937 was a bit late in the game for the Church to decry the consequences of their "own goal", i.e. the inevitable mental illness that the Papacy so aptly describes as: "Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State".
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    Nicely done exercise.

    I grew up in a small (white) rural county; my family was poor, but not desperately. Seven children. Three of the seven who went to college did so on scholarships (this was in the 1950s, 60s) or worked and studied at the same time. These were educational boom times. There was more money available for college student aid back then, and tuition was low.

    Even though I attended a run-of-the-mill state college, the degree (and the experience of college) granted enduring advantages. There were enough blacks in Minnesota in the '50s and '60s to produce a fair representation in MN college enrollment, had it been possible for more blacks to find a way to attend. (About 15% of white men attended / completed college in the 1960s; black men attended and completed college at around 7% (these are national figures). There weren't many (less than 7%) blacks -- or any minorities -- at the state college. This situation has changed since the 1960s. More minority students of all backgrounds are attending colleges now, but probably still at a lower rate than whites.

    The opportunity to obtain the advantages of completing college degrees links back at least to one generation, maybe back to two or three. My parents admired and respected learning, even though they had not attended college.

    Opportunity compounds, and because of the degree, I was able to obtain professional employment. Being professionally employed (good experiences, interesting work, references, etc.) lays the groundwork for the next professional job, or graduate school. And graduate school opens up more opportunities.

    "White Privilege" is a recently coined and is an empty concept if applied to ordinary -- most -- white people. Wealth Privilege strikes me as much more convincing. Money talks. "White trash" are trash because they are poor, and have been poor for a few generations, and have had as few opportunities as poor blacks. Whiteness doesn't help them at all.


    tumblr_pw09dajtbz1y3q9d8o1_540.png
  • Coben
    770
    You can see that in attitudes towards police, differences in religious practice, attitudes towards education and communication styles. But all these differences in perspective; of how people form opinions and what opinions they form; make more sense upon the background of social context.fdrake
    I certainly agree with the epistemological argument. IOW I agree that what it argues is the case. I don't agree that it's what people mean or at least I didn't. I thought it was the sociological they mean, though I suppose this could be the trickle down meaning.

    like the wikipedia opening...
    White privilege (or white skin privilege) is the societal privilege that in some countries benefits white people over non-white people, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.
    I thought common usage at least was focusing on the advantages of being white. Of course it is an advantage to trust certain institutions - if that trust is rational - but that hasn't seemed like the focus, at all, of people's use of the term.

    I also agree with much of what you describe in the sociological argument,and this is part of what I think is used to create shame when the term is used. Often it is not used this way. It is used simply to point out the advantages, often not thought about, of being white. But often it seems to be used as a shaming, a j'accuse on the individual level.
  • fdrake
    2.5k
    But often it seems to be used as a shaming, a j'accuse on the individual level.Coben

    Think this is more to do with a wounded reaction to the term's use rather than anything to do with the systemic properties of privilege. Though, the wounded reaction's prevalence is something worthy of analysis in itself.
  • Coben
    770
    Think this is more to do with a wounded reaction to the term's use rather than anything to do with the systemic properties of privilege.fdrake
    I don't think that's true. A lot of the current political ideas on the Left now, I worked with back in the 80s in one of the subcultures where these were the norm. This included gay and lesbian rights, transperson's rights and existence, ideas like white priviledge, heteorsexual priviledge, male priviledge, etc. It was my job, as in responsibility as part of a salaried position, to look into situations where problems arose around these issues and also to develop communication around the issues from the institution. The policies were focused on practical consequences and then also what constitutes racism or sexism or heterosexism in interactions. I was in regular meetings, where specific instances were brought up, discussions of policy took place and more exploratory, what to we all think type discussions also. The idea of priviledge was often used as an accusation and as a self-accusation. IOW people not in the advantaged category and people in the advantaged category would both, often, use the idea of priviledge as an accusation or aspersion. The latter group against themselves. Now those who used it against themselves were obviously on the lefty, progressive side of things. IOW if white, they realized a lot of the things you said in your penultimate post. But they definitely were adding in a kind of original sin aspect. And a lot of the aimed uses of 'priviledge' by disadvantaged category people were meant as damning - to varying degrees - accusations.

    Not surprising of course and I know from my own categories how I can react to others who have advantages over me. Human stuff. But there nonetheless and problematic. You can't expect people to be perfect with concepts, especially if they've had a shit time. On the other hand it still pays to point out the problem. Can this pointing out become it's own problem? absolutely. One could really see this aspect when people with different kinds of priviledge got into it, though this was a small phenomenon. And the shaming and countershaming would start flying. The white lesbian and the straight black man each trying to see who is on higher ground. who gets to be less ashamed.

    I am not in the front lines any more, so I readily admit my impressions are hardly scientific. but it seems to me 'white priviledge' is still used, often, and with regularity, to include a shaming. And not jsut a shaming about, say, the ignorance of a white person about the advantages they have had, but a shaming for being white. Or someone else for being a man, per se.
  • fdrake
    2.5k
    I am not in the front lines any more, so I readily admit my impressions are hardly scientific. but it seems to me 'white priviledge' is still used, often, and with regularity, to include a shaming. And not jsut a shaming about, say, the ignorance of a white person about the advantages they have had, but a shaming for being white. Or someone else for being a man, per se.Coben

    I've heard that similar things happen in communities with a safe space policy. Sometimes it is easier to have a simplified narrative; for therapeutic or rhetorical purposes, but I think the accusations really should be evaluated based on the context and validity. If someone is rebuking someone else (performatively) with an accusation/branding of privilege, it might be rooted a well grounded belief (though not necessarily true) based on past experience even if it's wrong.
  • alcontali
    474
    "White Privilege" is a recently coined and is an empty concept if applied to ordinary -- most -- white people. Wealth Privilege strikes me as much more convincing. Money talks. "White trash" are trash because they are poor, and have been poor for a few generations, and have had as few opportunities as poor blacks. Whiteness doesn't help them at all.Bitter Crank

    Well, the fact "Whiteness doesn't help them at all" is probably what they experience as being "unfair". I guess that we already know what they really want:

    The National Party's election platform stressed that apartheid would preserve a market for white employment in which nonwhites could not compete.

    As soon as people identify strongly with race, then race politics can never be far away. Still, the concept of "race" has always been nebulous, because it is not just about skin colour.

    The European Jews were also white, but that did not make a difference in the 40ies, in German race politics. Polish and Russians are technically also white, but somehow still deserved the label of "Untermensch", i.e. subhumans, while the Japanese didn't. They were considered honorary white.

    So, there clearly were nonwhite whites and white nonwhites. Of course, all of that did not make racial politics any more rational ...
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    Yup.

    People like me are the best, and unfortunately that means people like you are a bit crap. My pride insults you - get used to it.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    START TALKING ABOUT CLASS AND STOP TALKING ABOUT RACE. CLASS IS WHERE THE MONEY IS.Bitter Crank

    Although, as I said elsewhere in this thread, I do think that money does probably make the biggest difference, it bothers me to ignore race. Black people face unique discrimination in our society. Not having to face that is a privilege.
  • T Clark
    4.1k


    In many ways, you and I are very similar. I often start out to write something only to find you have already done so. On the other hand, I envy you your historical, social, and political awareness.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    Identifying with race and/or nationality are feeble substitutes for identifying with extended family and religion.alcontali

    Maybe, but I don't think that applies to black people, Hispanics, and other unpopular minorities. White American society defined black people as black starting 400 years ago. During most of that period, they were slaves and their humanity was considered worthless. I think questioning their co-option of that identity as a weapon and sign of strength misses the point.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    As soon as people identify strongly with race, then race politics can never be far away. Still, the concept of "race" has always been nebulous, because it is not just about skin colour.alcontali

    To some extent, in the US it's the other way around. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Republican Party started an effective and self-aware program to use race to move southern white people away from the Democratic Party. That program continues today and continues to warp our politics. One major effect is the climate of distrust and resentment that sometimes seems to be the defining characteristic of American politics.
  • alcontali
    474
    Maybe, but I don't think that applies to black people, Hispanics, and other unpopular minorities. White American society defined black people as black starting 400 years ago.T Clark

    African-Americans were not in the driver's seat in that respect. They did not choose to identify according to race. That decision was clearly made for them.

    Concerning other minorities, it really depends whom we are talking about.

    For example, Jews may have other things to identify to than race. The very term "Jew" does not denote any particular race. In fact, you probably have Jews in every race on the planet. To what extent, race is a defining characteristic for them, is not clear. If your mother is Jewish, then you are too; especially, if you also subscribe to Judaism. Race does not seem to be the major factor there.

    Africans are also different from African-Americans in that respect.

    For example, someone will be considered a member of a Somali clan, regardless of his race, simply, because his father is part of that clan. Someone could have a very different skin colour from the typical Somali, because of his mother, but I somehow suspect that it doesn't matter much to the clan, or to the person himself. I am sure that you have relatively light-skin Somalis who still totally identify with the same clan, just as their parents do.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    African-Americans were not in the driver's seat in that respect. They did not choose to identify according to race. That decision was clearly made for them.alcontali

    I think the same is true for other minorities in America - Irish, Hispanic, Italian, Jewish. It seems to me the difference is that those other minorities will fairly quickly join the mainstream. Maybe that will happen eventually for black people, but it hasn't happened in 400 years and there is still a long way to go.
  • alcontali
    474
    I think the same is true for other minorities in America - Irish, Hispanic, Italian, Jewish. It seems to me the difference is that those other minorities will fairly quickly join the mainstream. Maybe that will happen eventually for black people, but it hasn't happened in 400 years and there is still a long way to go.T Clark

    I doubt that African-Americans want "assimilation". Well, not sure. Maybe they do. Maybe they don't.

    The Jews certainly don't want it. They must like their own clan and their own Rabbinical take on Second-Temple Judaism, because otherwise they would have dropped these things a long time ago already. The fact that they are still around after almost 2000 years, points to the idea that they probably do not even want to assimilate, even when offered the opportunity, which wasn't always the case either.

    Concerning African-Americans, they would only be preserving a skin colour, which is a flimsy concept anyway. So, that would be a long-term losing proposition anyway. If you want to preserve your difference to the mainstream, you will need something more "conceptual" too. They don't have their own religion. So, I don't believe that they can do it.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    I doubt that African-Americans want "assimilation". Well, not sure. Maybe they do. Maybe they don't.alcontali

    The Jews certainly don't want it. They must like their own clan and their own Rabbinical take on Second-Temple Judaism, because otherwise they would have dropped these things a long time ago already. The fact that they are still around after almost 2000 years, points to the idea that they probably do not even want to assimilate, even when offered the opportunity, which wasn't always the case either.alcontali

    It's not a matter of what they want or don't want. Many ethnic groups maintain cultural and traditional attachments to their ethnic heritage, but still fit in. In my limited experience, although Italians, Irish, and Jews maintain a sense of national identify, it is just one among others. Most consider themselves Americans and citizens of their cities and towns. They consider ethnic and religious loyalties lower down the list. In my middle class Massachusetts town, many of positions of community leadership are taken by people of Italian extraction. It's not that they have forgotten that, but they are members of our community first.
  • Hanover
    4.9k
    The Jews certainly don't want it.alcontali

    Assimilation is not a homogenation process. Germans can celebrate Oktoberfest and still be fully American.

    I would acknowledge that some groups do fight assimilation entirely and remain largely insular, like perhaps some ultra-orthodox Jews and the Amish.
  • alcontali
    474
    In my limited experience, although Italians, Irish, and Jews maintain a sense of national identify, it is just one among others.T Clark

    Italians and Irish may want to preserve their attachment to Catholic religion, but marrying any Catholic spouse would do, who would not even need to be Italian or Irish. Furthermore, attachment to Catholic religion is generally not even that strong any more nowadays. So, they will trivially consider any Christian, non-Catholic spouse for that matter, if they even bother with that, because I can see them picking a spouse amongst other religions and even amongst atheists. So, I can see them assimilating and their unique differences disappearing altogether. That won't be the case for the Jews, which is actually not a national identity, but a tribal+religious one. Otherwise, it would already have happened, and it clearly didn't. Nationalities are flimsy. They don't last, and therefore, they do not mean much. On the long run, it is a waste of time to identify with that.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    That won't be the case for the Jews, which is actually not a national identity, but a tribal+religious one. Otherwise, it would already have happened, and it clearly didn't.alcontali

    In my experience that isn't true. It's certainly true that many Jews maintain a close relationship with their traditions, probably to a greater extent than many other ethnic groups. But for most I've met, although they may still go to Temple, many marry outside their religion; live, work, go to school, and have close friends among non-Jews; and consider themselves Americans and local community members.
  • NOS4A2
    581
    To make “privilege” a property of a certain race is nonsensical , not to mention racist. Privilege and it’s opposites applies only to individuals, not races.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    To make “privilege” a property of a certain race is nonsensical , not to mention racist. Privilege and it’s opposites applies only to individuals, not races.NOS4A2

    It is neither nonsensical nor racist. It's what it is. White people, in general, on average, have more money than black people, in general, on average.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k
    For myself, I am proud that I had loving parents, grandparents and grew up in a stable home with both a mom and dad present.Teller

    I don't think "proud" is the right word to use, maybe grateful might be more suitable?
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    I don't think "proud" is the right word to use, maybe grateful might be more suitable?Mr Phil O'Sophy

    Who are you to tell @Teller what he feels or should feel or what is suitable for him to feel.

    Also, as you can see below, he acknowledged his gratitude.

    Perhaps I should have used the word "grateful" instead of "proud". For not one minute have I regarded myself of having deserved any advantages I may have had.Teller
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