• creativesoul
    7.3k
    Ignorance of white privilege does not make one racist.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Willful ignorance.creativesoul

    Mine or someone else's?
  • creativesoul
    7.3k
    My fault for not offering enough context...

    ...ignorance of or indifference to history infuriates me.T Clark

    Willful ignorance?
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Ignorance of white privilege does not make one racist.creativesoul

    If you're writing about the things I've said, I never called anyone racist. I never do. I don't find racism to be a useful concept. It also sets off a bunch of emotional and defensive responses that obscure the discussion. I try to accept the good will of people in these types of discussions to the extent I can.
  • deletedmemberwy
    1.1k
    In what matter have I misappropriated his beliefs? Quite sure he advocated for actual equality for all, which is the same mission I have. Not playing the victim card, but rather value people as people instead of skin or DNA.
  • creativesoul
    7.3k
    If you're writing about the things I've said, I never called anyone racist.T Clark

    Indeed. I agree. You did not.

    I was writing about what you said. I was not offering a report of what you said.

    I don't find racism to be a useful concept. It also sets off a bunch of emotional and defensive responses that obscure the discussion. I try to accept the good will of people in these types of discussions to the extent I can.T Clark

    Sounds good as long as we talk about the devaluation of another based upon race alone.

    Hard to get a good handle upon white privilege without discussing it's roots.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    In what matter have I misappropriated his beliefs? Quite sure he advocated for actual equality for all, which is the same mission I have. Not playing the victim card, but rather value people as people instead of skin or DNA.Waya

    I'm not an expert on King and what he believed, but I'll take him at his word - equality was, and is, a dream. You know - "I have a dream." A dream for the future, not a reality for 1963 or 2019.
  • creativesoul
    7.3k
    Taking another at their word requires understanding what they mean. He talked about the devaluation of another based upon their race or their color of skin. We all know that that is wrong on so many levels.
  • deletedmemberwy
    1.1k
    Dreams are concepts that need to be worked for if one wishes to achieve it. And I intend to do what I can to work towards that dream. How does one work towards a dream such as Martin Luther King's? By practicing it in one's own life. In other words, practice what you preach.
  • creativesoul
    7.3k


    Indeed. Some renditions of King are empty of all meaningful content.
  • creativesoul
    7.3k
    It had to be a dream, because it was not actually happening. It ought be.
  • creativesoul
    7.3k


    But it is such an important topic.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Dreams are concepts that need to be worked for if one wishes to achieve it. And I intend to do what I can to work towards that dream. How does one work towards a dream such as Martin Luther King's? By practicing it in one's own life. In other words, practice what you preach.Waya

    Let's leave it at that for now. I think we've painted ourselves into a corner. Next time we pick this up maybe we'll be able to carry it further.
  • I like sushi
    1.9k
    The very fact that you think he meant to infer I was referring to individual episodes of any country’s particular history (slavery, police brutality, etc.,.) and to portray my words in such a light does reinforce my point.

    I’m ignorant of history to some degree (who isn’t!). I’m not inclined to view the entirety of human pre/history as focused on one particular nation within one particular century. It was clear enough that I was talking in broad terms so it is not my fault that other’s take on a relatively skewed perspective alongside what I actually said and what I was referring to.

    My point about everyone dying was playing off the psychological view I referred to earlier in that post - human’s being creatures that tend to view themselves as important and, contrarily, also as insignificant and wanting to work for something important. My reply was specifically to the person I replied to and in that light I was framing the broader human enigma of general prejudice as being part of our regard toward our sense of responsibility and our fear of facing up to our unknown influence on others and influences that steer us this way or that.

    Differences in phenotypes are not significant other than being part and parcel of the human proclivity toward visual stimuli.

    I won’t use the term in the OP. I can talk about it, but I refuse to use it because I find it inappropriate and distasteful; as I do various other terms. I generally try to remember to use parenthesis when talking about ‘race’ too in the hope other’s will do the same rather than confuse it with race (as defined by science).

    ‘Prejudices’ are carried by everyone - meaning some people have irrational dislikes due to personal experiences that they’ve never addressed in a rational manner (or skewed because of over-rationalization). It is just part of survival and it has helped us get to where we are. The puzzle is how to cope with such things in complex societies. In most cases people are generally not inclined to address all their flaws and instead focus on their positive attributes instead. How to safely address our innate flaws and work with them is the responsibility of everyone - and a responsibility we tend to avoid due to its self-destructive nature.

    I understand perfectly well that there is a debate in the US, and in other countries too, about how certain demographics have been maltreated in the past and whose children’s children’s children have suffered as a repercussion.

    It is a privilege to talk about these topics with people all over the globe at the tap of a few keys without fear of being censored/imprisoned. That is not to suggest for a second that there are not problems ... to imply I would say such is self-righteous brought on by emotional reactions, induced by political agenda or just plain old ‘being a human’ and muddling through the day-to-day problems of saying stuff and being perceived as saying something different.

    To be clear, I’m quite happy to talk about how to attempt to right certain wrongs. I won’t use the term in the title of the OP though - I imagine, due to past form, most people will just be outraged than offer up any particularly reasonable course of action to deal with possible options. Drama is just more fun though and given that internet culture is flooded with ‘click bait’ journalistic pieces I’m only really inclined to listen for so long as there are numerous phrases that just get repeated over and over without the person uttering them offering up views in manner that isn’t openly biased and is decided closed of from any attempt by others who offer opposing positions simply to explore the subject.

    To address teh OP directly. Feeling ashamed of anything is to be applauded. This means you’re facing up to something that makes you uncomfortable. On the other hand I find it, in equal measures, to be rotten to the core to insist that other people should be ashamed - that is only going to cause deep-seated hatreds to surface uncontrollably. Simply expressing views about things allows others to pay attention to what is being said and maybe come to question their own positions and possible feel shame/pride or whatever the issues that arise are.

    I think all of the above is ‘common sense’ and I’m not suggesting, hinting or implying anyone in particular as ‘guilty’ of any misdemeanor anymore than I am myself ... well, in honesty that is not completely true. I have impressions that I cannot displace and I’m sure others have impressions of me that they cannot displace.

    Motivation is a difficult thing. It’s so much easier to just blame circumstances - oddly enough, in my personal experience, I find those on the bottom rung of the societal ladder tend to complain about very little indeed.

    Funny, I met a guy who’d just been to visit the US for the first time. He said he was “shocked by how many homeless people there were.” He had this mental impression that didn’t match reality as he was from a country that isn’t as “developed” (Vietnam).

    I judge myself, and necessarily judge others by my own views/standards - what else can I do other than remain open to my own ignorance and understand my perspective is always small no matter how broadly I extend it.
  • ssu
    1.9k
    And there's definitely a privilege to being part of the dominant sub-culture within a nation and that's still being male, white, straight, no tattoos etc.Benkei
    Being rich and especially being educated makes people privileged compared to others in our present society. Of course, it ought not to be any surprise that societies that try to be meritocracies, the outcome can be (and usually still is) deeply divided between those who are privileged (rich, educated, that are professionals) and those who are not. Would you have your job without higher education? I wouldn't if had not finished the gymnasium. And obviously wouldn't have two academic jobs without a Masters degree.

    Yet one should notice that there is a huge difference between being in Netherlands or Finland compared to the US here and it's the issue of race, of being 'white'. In the US 73% are considered white. If we would divide the population in similar terms, about 84-85% of Netherlands and 98-99% of Finland would be 'white'. That's because the largest ethnic minority in both European nations are other Europeans, which are considered in the US 'white'. Add to that the problematic history.

    Yet I would argue that the racial debate in the media is copied likely in the Netherlands as it is done here in Finland from the US. This happens because the media is quite global. It becomes then a bit strange especially here in a country where 98% - 99% are white and the state has no colonial history whatsoever to hear arguments that are straight from the US discourse.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Yet I would argue that the racial debate in the media is copied likely in the Netherlands as it is done here in Finland from the US. This happens because the media is quite global. It becomes then a bit strange especially here in a country where 98% - 99% are white and the state has no colonial history whatsoever to hear arguments that are straight from the US discourse.ssu

    In my contributions to this thread, I've tried to make it clear that my opinions apply only to the US. I have made no judgments about anywhere else.
  • 180 Proof
    585
    Fault me for being an (American) old school anarcho-lefty, but, imho, "white privilege" is secondary to, or derivative of, manifest Class Privilege (i.e. hierarchical domination structures via systems of exploitation, regulatory semiotic schema & paramilitary policing). The only reason I can see for a white person being "ashamed" of "white privilege" is because s/he isn't using it to expose, subvert or sabotage Class Privilege and thereby becomes/remains complicit in the (passive, conformal) perpetuation of "white privilege" ... just as 'nonwhite persons' too can be complicit in perpetuating, even ramifying, nonwhite under-priviledge by failing or refusing to subvert & sabotage - whenever possible and however as covertly as necessary - Class Privilege.

    I can't see how one judges oneself Just when one is not actively, in word & deed, Anti-Injustice. (e.g. Rosanna Arquette?)
  • Pfhorrest
    940
    If I may make an observation without reading the entire thread first:

    Any system that helps people in proportion to their disadvantages without regard to demographic grouping like race etc will automatically provide more support to demographic groups that are statistically more disadvantaged exactly in proportion to the degree that that group is thus overrepresented among the disadvantaged and only for such time as they continue to be thus overrepresented.

    So if we institute a race-agnostic policy to help all poor people, and black people are disproportionately poor, such a policy will automatically provide disproportionate help to black people, but only until such time as they are no longer disproportionately poor. We don’t have to do “reverse discrimination” to make up for past discrimination, because just helping everyone in need will automatically work out to that in effect.
  • 180 Proof
    585


    I assume you've heard the statement

    When you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

    or, at least, that you understand the sentiment. Many (will) feel "reverse discrimination" who have enjoyed the (legacy) privilege of discriminating with impunity against disadvantaged classes, or minorites of one kind or another, whenever "discrimination" is either explicitly prohibited or implicitly obviated (or threatened) by 'aggressively redistributive' policies (e.g. Rawls, Sen). The 'welfare state' & its attendant policies has always only been a reformist prophylactic (more quarter than) half-measure ... a political-economic 'gradualism' that's mostly only delayed a critical reckoning and exacerbated the metastases of Class Privilege (Piketty, Varoufakis, Wolff). If history, sociology, behavioral economics, etc braided together is an incisive guide, then (sooner rather than later) more radical measures (will) have to be taken than simply recycling more of the 'middle-class' same old same old e.g. "raise the minimum wage", "paid family leave", "free childcare", "free college", "free healthcare" ... "universal basic income", etc.
  • TheMadFool
    4.6k
    Just read about actress Rosanna Arquette stating that she was "sorry and ashamed of being white and privileged"
    So, would she have preferred to have been born non white and underprivileged? If she grew up healthy would she be ashamed that she was not a sick child?
    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. My parents paid for a good education for my brother and me. Is this shameful? Should I have left school carrying a huge debt from student loans?
    So now in 2019 I'm supposed to be ashamed and disgusted of my upbringing and education?
    I think not!
    Teller

    I don't know. It seems impossible for a person to choose his/her race or the circumstances s/he is born into. Shame involves some degree of responsibility which is impossible without choice.

    That said I think one should be aware of how your parents got where they are. Did it involve immoral practices? Did it hurt anyone? These are possible questions that led Rosanna to make such a statement. I think it was noble of her to acknowledge that her ancestors may have been involved in some form of systematic exploitation of people.
  • Hanover
    5.1k
    I assume you've heard the statement

    When you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

    or, at least, that you understand the sentiment.
    180 Proof

    Perhaps, but programs intended to equalize might actually be unfair and do nothing but exchange the people being oppressed, irrespective of whether some unfairly privileged people object to their being treated equally.

    I won't commit to the belief that the privileged are incapable of knowing what is fair or not due to their fear of losing their privilege, which means I must accept their complaints of oppression as I would any other. To ignore those complaints would assume the privileged are intellectually or morally inferior and that they cannot judge actual oppression versus true equality.
  • Echarmion
    995
    So if we institute a race-agnostic policy to help all poor people, and black people are disproportionately poor, such a policy will automatically provide disproportionate help to black people, but only until such time as they are no longer disproportionately poor. We don’t have to do “reverse discrimination” to make up for past discrimination, because just helping everyone in need will automatically work out to that in effect.Pfhorrest

    While this is true, the specific problem that affects many minorities is that they, on average, lack inherited wealth. They had much less time, relative to the majority, to accumulate assets. This is difficult to equalise.
  • Hanover
    5.1k
    While this is true, the specific problem that affects many minorities is that they, on average, lack inherited wealth. They had much less time, relative to the majority, to accumulate assets. This is difficult to equalise.Echarmion

    This also presumes that the success of most non-minorities (white people) is tied to inherited wealth. I just think that's false, especially among the middle and working class.

    The argument that whites have inherited a system built to their advantage is a better one, only because it's more difficult to respond to because the claim is more nebulous. The real question isn't whether American society has a sordid history of racism (as it surely does), but it's to what extent is that history the real impediment to success today. I'd submit that race is not the critical limitation in today's society and that opportunity and success can and does fall to minorities without heroic efforts, although perhaps with some special effort. I don't discount the special efforts needed as irrelevant and not something that ought be eliminated, but they also shouldn't be exaggerated and suggested that all struggles or failures are owed to it.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    The argument that whites have inherited a system built to their advantage is a better one, only because it's more difficult to respond to because the claim is more nebulous. The real question isn't whether American society has a sordid history of racism (as it surely does), but it's to what extent is that history the real impediment to success today. I'd submit that race is not the critical limitation in today's society and that opportunity and success can and does fall to minorities without heroic efforts, although perhaps with some special effort. I don't discount the special efforts needed as irrelevant and not something that ought be eliminated, but they also shouldn't be exaggerated and suggested that all struggles or failures are owed to it.Hanover

    What we'd need to do is look at specific cases of success or a lack of it and figure out what the exact assets or problems are. If we're going to claim that racism was a problem for specifics in the lack of success example, we'd need to be able to pinpoint just how something is racist, and not make claims that are broad/abstract platitudes.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    "Privilege" has to do with ethics and if there is no objective morality then Is "privilege" a subjective term?

    In China there's Chinese privilege. In African counties there's black privilege. In Middle Eastern countries theres Arabic and Muslim privilege.

    Whatever happened to the idea of not shaming people for something they have no control over where or how they were born as? Hypocrites.

    The suicide rate of white males in the U.S. is higher than those of minorities, except Native Americans. What is white privilege and how is it a privilege if you aren't aware of it? Does this mean that everyone that has been making arguments for anti-realism has suddenly had a change of heart when it comes to politics? Anti-realists arent sure of the chair that you're sitting on exists but are positive that white privilege, even though you aren't aware of it, exists.

    This what happens when you don't integrate all of your philosophical ideas into a consistent whole.

    It seems to me that there is a "good parenting" privilege, where if you were raised by two loving, selfless parents you end up better off than those that don't when you're an adult.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    "Privilege" has to do with ethicsHarry Hindu

    Privilege doesn't have to do with ethics. Privilege has to do with advantages that someone has--the idea is that it makes it easier for them to get and keep a job, earn more money in that job, rent and buy real estate, deal with the police, etc.

    "That this group has privileges that that group doesn't have is wrong" would be an ethical stance.
  • uncanni
    338
    It seems to me that there is a "good parenting" privilege, where if you were raised by two loving, selfless parents you end up better off than those that don't when you're an adult.Harry Hindu

    Hear, hear! And those who are fortunate enough to have good parenting seem to be more able to rise above less-than-ideal circumstances because they were brought up to believe that they could achieve anything. I teach quite a few students who come from the underclass (rural and inner city poverty) and it's pretty easy to tell what kind of parenting they've had.
  • NOS4A2
    2k


    Privileges are given, bestowed, passed from one person to another. We are not born with them. That's the main issue with “white privilege”: the act of bestowing “privilege” on another is a result of the bestower, not the one receiving the privileges. So not only do they leave out the privilege-giver, but blame the receiver for being given them.

    “White privilege” is white supremacy repurposed for the modern day. It’s the assumption that whites are somehow better off because of their skin color.
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