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Old 07-27-2019, 10:21 PM   #1
tarcone
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White Privilege

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. I remember reading a story (here?) or somewhere about a black guy taking his white subordinate to lunch and privilege was the discussion. The boss had his ID checked for his CC purchase while the white guy didnt and so on and so forth. That was an eye opening story for me. I didnt really understand white privilege until I read this. I wasnt really sure what this was about. Just what comedians talked about and how the liberals bitched about it.

But as I think, What is White Privilege? I cannot tell people how to treat me, so is it my fault I am treated differently? Just like a black man cannot tell a person how to treat him. Is it his fault?

Is it privilege? Is it latent racism? Or is it cultural? Or is it protecting your rac? What is it?

I have never quite understood the whole White Privilege thing. But I have been raised in a pretty white culture. A college town in Iowa where the black folks were mostly athletes. Then a couple rural towns in Missouri where it is 95% white. I did teach at a school North of Chicago for a year where it was 85% latino, 10% black and the rest was the rest.

My wife was the only person in her class that was white and felt like she was being targeted by the admin in her building who was not white. I never felt that way. I felt pretty comfortable. And we had 3rd generation crips and bloods. Plus the Latino crowd.

So if I cannot help how I am treated how can this be considered privilege?

I know I am going to take a ton of shit for this as I am the whipping boy for the liberal crowd here. But I am really curious how it can be privilege if you have no control over how another person treats you?
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:23 PM   #2
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Shit, Im really nervous about posting this. I hope it is taken is the vein of curiosity and not racism. Please be gentle if Im way off base here.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:25 PM   #3
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^ This video explains it much more effectively than my attempts ever could.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:26 PM   #4
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Similar to if you were born into lots of money. Not something you could control but certainly a privilege. Being born American to many would also be considered a privilege that you cant control. Its fair in my opinion.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:29 PM   #5
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Similar to if you were born into lots of money. Not something you could control but certainly a privilege. Being born American to many would also be considered a privilege that you cant control. Its fair in my opinion.

Yup, agree with this.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:35 PM   #6
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FWIW I think it's a valid question and worthy of discussion.

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Privilege - a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group

At no point does that infer that it's an opportunity you seize or that it's something you're responsible for. It can be an inherent advantage you have over others.

The thing about white privilege is I'd say most people don't realize when it happens because they're not aware of what others go through. People feel that their experience is similar to everyone's and those that are sharing a similar experience in life must be doing something wrong.

You (not you as in you but collectively) get pulled over, are polite to the cop, and get away with a warning. You see a black person in the news that was pulled over and things escalated and assume he must have done something wrong or didn't follow the officers directions.

We now see on a regular basis videos of people being harassed in stores and restaurants because since they're not speaking English they must be here illegally. When is the last time a white person, despite the language they speak, was in the same situation?

To sum it up, I think there's a lot of ignorance when it comes to the social, economic, and educational advantages there can be with being white.

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Old 07-27-2019, 10:40 PM   #7
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So is it a cultural thing? I watched the video and get the concept. But when does a person put on there boots and work for privilege? Is the head start that gross that blacks dont have a chance? Or is it their culture that drags them down. In the video it talks about 2 parent households and father figures? Where are the black males? Is it a justice system that is unbalanced? But I think that is more an economic thing as opposed to a race thing.

Isnt America based on making your own way and succeeding because of your hard work? Other races have succeeded in this country despite terrible odds (Japanese for example).

I understand that some races have a leg up. But I assume that is true everywhere. why is it white privilege?
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:54 PM   #8
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Only one group of people were systemically ripped from their homelands for a few centuries to work in servitude - the folks from East Africa. This tended to cripple both East Africa and those millions who were shipped across the Atlantic. 400 years of servitude with no ability to build wealth (and that wealth taken by the dominant group - whites), followed by a 100 or so more years of oppressive behavior dedicated to prevent their success, and you have what, 50 years of somewhat legal rights? That's well behind in building up wealth. And poverty tends to hurt familial strength (look at white Appalachian areas where the opioid epidemic has hit hard). And of course there is continued attempts to deprive African-Americans to get ahead - the War on Drugs was prosecuted in an incredibly biased way (all of the statistics show whites and blacks do drug the same, but blacks are far more likely to be arrested and prosecuted).

All the Japanese people you see today aren't descended from the ones who were interned. Quite a few came over afterwards, taking some of the wealth from their homelands.
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Old 07-27-2019, 11:00 PM   #9
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Great point... While Rockefeller, JP Morgan, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie were building up wealth African Americans were being oppressed. And many people still alive today are still trying to hold minorities down. A white male will always have opportunity to be successful.
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Old 07-27-2019, 11:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tarcone View Post
So is it a cultural thing? I watched the video and get the concept. But when does a person put on there boots and work for privilege? Is the head start that gross that blacks dont have a chance? Or is it their culture that drags them down. In the video it talks about 2 parent households and father figures? Where are the black males? Is it a justice system that is unbalanced? But I think that is more an economic thing as opposed to a race thing.

Wealth is the symptom. Not the problem. It's an education and opportunity thing that trickles into a wealth thing.



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America based on making your own way and succeeding because of your hard work?

Wealth, education, and opportunity in the US is largely based on your parents and grandparents doing well. There are opportunities that can arise for others, but luck plays a much larger role in success in those situations than hard work. My grandmother was one of the hardest working people I've known and she struggled financially the last 30 years of her life because my grandfather died in a car accident and left her as an uneducated housewife.


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Other races have succeeded in this country despite terrible odds (Japanese for example).

ISiddiqui pretty much covered this.


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Originally Posted by tarcone View Post
I understand that some races have a leg up. But I assume that is true everywhere. why is it white privilege?

Look at the definition above. If you have a leg up just by being born then you have some form of privilege.
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Old 07-27-2019, 11:12 PM   #11
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^ This video explains it much more effectively than my attempts ever could.

Awesome video. Thanks for sharing that.
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Old 07-27-2019, 11:13 PM   #12
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Key Events in Black Higher Education : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Read through the link above and think of the hurdles and legal fights that have had to take place over the past 200+ years just to legally be allowed into certain colleges and certain programs.


Quote:
1948: The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Sipuel v. University of Oklahoma that Ada Sipuel be admitted to the law school at the University of Oklahoma. The ruling states that blacks have the right to a legal education of the same quality as whites.

Harvard was founded in 1636. I'd say most of the top universities in the US were founded by the mid 1800s. It wasn't until the mid-1900s that the Supreme Court even gave blacks the right to a higher education in law. That's not to say black people weren't attending colleges, but white people made sure the options were attend a black college or we're going to make it as difficult as possible for you.

White families that have been in the US have had multiple hundreds of years of educational and opportunity advantages and despite court rulings the playing field still isn't level in 2019. Even if the Supreme Court ruling in 1948 magically leveled the playing field it's still such a massive head start that isn't going to disappear in 3 or so generations.

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Old 07-27-2019, 11:17 PM   #13
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But when does a person put on there boots and work for privilege?

Never. That's the whole definition of privilege. Privilege is an advantage granted only to a particular individual or group.

Purely anecdotal example: I remember when I first joined the IT workforce in the late '90s and it was kind of like discovering buried treasure because there was this treasure trove of casual, high paying jobs that didn't necessarily require a college degree that was entirely hidden to me until I was essentially invited into that world. I bring that up because I imagine that the world is seen through similar (but much much more profound) blinders by a lot of poor black kids, because to a great degree your surroundings and support structure define and restrict opportunity, regardless of how hard you work.

How many poor kids in crumbling public schools even know what a pharmaceutical sales representative or an estate lawyer or a pathologist or a business analyst are? Folks who start out born in those upper-class (or even middle-class) circles gain a significant privilege by simply knowing such careers exist and how one goes about getting them.
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Old 07-27-2019, 11:36 PM   #14
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So is it a cultural thing? I watched the video and get the concept. But when does a person put on there boots and work for privilege? Is the head start that gross that blacks dont have a chance? Or is it their culture that drags them down. In the video it talks about 2 parent households and father figures? Where are the black males? Is it a justice system that is unbalanced? But I think that is more an economic thing as opposed to a race thing.

There is white privilege and per the other posts, you are fortunate to be born into it. Specific to your example with African Americans, I don't think its "head start", some minorities are doing quite well vs whites. Less two parent households, role models, educational & economic opportunities etc. all contribute, don't think there is one root cause.

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Isnt America based on making your own way and succeeding because of your hard work? Other races have succeeded in this country despite terrible odds (Japanese for example).

It is about making your own way and succeeding because of hard work (and some luck). I'm an immigrant myself and have lived in numerous 3rd world countries.

If you are a minority in the US, you have tons more opportunities than as a minority in most other countries.

If you are a US citizen, you have many more opportunities than citizens of most other countries.

Toss in Europe of 750M, toss in Canada and some other more western countries (e.g. Japan, HK), add back in US and let's just say 1.5B out of 7.5B are the fortunate few. There are 6B that would love to have the same opportunities the US and western countries have. The US is by far the #1 country people of the world want to immigrate to.

So bottom line - yes, definitely white privilege and also definitely US privilege. As an immigrant and having seen how the poorer parts of the world lives, there are so many opportunities to pull oneself up and achieve the American dream. Many American don't see or appreciate this.

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Old 07-28-2019, 12:23 AM   #15
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Imagine if an American state had a law written explicitly banning anyone from your family from owning land or settling in that state and they wrote that into their state's bill of rights when the state was founded 150 years ago. They tried to kick a few members of your family out a couple times and it never quite stuck, but they kept the law on the books anyways. The state eventually gave in to pressure and repealed the laws outlawing your family in 1926, and about 15 years ago in 2002 a majority of the residents of the state finally voted to take the language outlawing your family out of the state's constitution....though 1/3 of the state did vote to keep the language in there (or at least didn't vote to remove it). Would you feel safe in such a place? Would you think you had an equal chance to succeed if you worked as hard as your neighbor?

If that sounds absurd to you, that's white privilege, and also one of many historical examples why the hurdles for black Americans don't always fully translate to other races or minorities within American society.

Oregon black exclusion laws - Wikipedia
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:52 AM   #16
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Am I the only one here that believes government for decades has kept black people dependent on them so government has more power?
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Old 07-28-2019, 06:42 AM   #17
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Not for me. Too much to believe there was a plan/cabal through the different administrations and/or nothing has come up worthy of scandal/investigation.
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:44 AM   #18
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Am I the only one here that believes government for decades has kept black people dependent on them so government has more power?

Um... what?!
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:30 AM   #19
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Great thread so far. Thanks.

I keep thinking about this. Al Sharpton made a comment, I am paraphrasing, that his race was building empires and pyramids while whites were living in caves. And he is pretty much right. And there was slavery and a class system and I imagine privilege.

This was true throughout history, Be it China or Rome or the Huns or the Persians. There was a ruling class and a working class and a poor class that was isolated and held down.

These cultures were usually more technologically advanced as well, see the Romans. I recently read where a couple hundred years after the Roman empire fell and the Germanic tribes were running around and they thought the aquaducts were made by giants.

Anyway, fast forward to more recent history and whites are now the ruling class, and dominate the world. And there is a definite class system.

What happened to these other empires in history? They collapsed and some other culture rose up and took their place or the empire fractured into many different states.

Is this what it will take to end this privilege? Will a collapse of the USA and Europe be the only way this privilege ends? Can there be any other way?

We talk about equality, but arent we really talking about equity? And is that achievable in our society today where the 1% own 50% or more of the wealth?
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Old 07-28-2019, 01:38 PM   #20
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Anyway, fast forward to more recent history and whites are now the ruling class, and dominate the world. And there is a definite class system.
I think you're overthinking things a bit here. What's going on in the USA politically and intraculturally can't be one on one applied to the other 96% of the world.

Don't get me wrong, oppression of groups of people happens everywhere, in every country, region or even city, town or village. Everywhere elitist cliques try to maintaining their privileges, some not even understanding why or how they were acquired, but it's not all based on racial or even the same black and white racial differences.
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Old 07-28-2019, 03:30 PM   #21
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I'm glad to see you asking about this tarcone. I think the most important thing is this step that you're taking: trying to figure out what it is. Becoming aware of the ways in which the history, culture, political systems, etc in this country have given an advantage to white folks is an eye-opening experience.

I grew up in Seattle, a very white town that is often thought of as very liberal. It is in a lot of ways, but it (like many northern parts of the country) has had plenty of issues of racism, both overt and covert - this isn't a problem confined to the south. I had no idea until recently the redlining that was present in this city up until quite recently. If you think about how wealth can accumulate over generations in a family, property ownership is usually the biggest (by far) driver of that wealth. Not allowing, or putting up severe barriers to home ownership to minorities has had a massive financial impact on generations of minorities.

And that's just one aspect of white privilege. Here's a good primer for us white folks on trying to understand what it can be like in this country for minorities:

My White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege. I Decided to Be Honest by Lori Lakin Hutcherson — YES! Magazine

As for what to do about it? Becoming aware of your privilege is likely to make you much more sympathetic to what minorities are saying when they talk about their experiences in this country, and perhaps lead you to change your views on certain policies and how you vote. It may lead you to be more aware of your behavior and re-assess if you are viewing things through an unfair lens.

The goal isn't to tear down white folks. It's to try to build a more fair society where everyone enjoys the same level of trust, opportunity and benefit of the doubt.

(and yes, not all white folks are created equal - some experience more privilege than others; what folks are talking about with white privilege is more about the macro than the micro)
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Old 07-28-2019, 04:12 PM   #22
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Not for me. Too much to believe there was a plan/cabal through the different administrations and/or nothing has come up worthy of scandal/investigation.

So you think Senate and House has done great job in area. I don't, think they've done the opposite. I guess there is nothing to talk about.
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:04 PM   #23
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So you think Senate and House has done great job in area. I don't, think they've done the opposite. I guess there is nothing to talk about.

There is a difference between ineffective and intentional. And the effectiveness can definitely be argued.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:04 AM   #24
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I still contend that wealth is the greatest privilege you can have in this country. A slacker born to a rich family is going to succeed in this world far more than a hard worker from a dirt poor family regardless of race.

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It is about making your own way and succeeding because of hard work (and some luck). I'm an immigrant myself and have lived in numerous 3rd world countries.

This is nonsense. Intergenerational economic mobility in this country is fairly low compared to the rest of the developed world. If you are born poor, you are unlikely to ever reach the upper income brackets.

Education is still one of the main determinations of success in this country. If you grow up wealthy, you have access to better schools and safer neighborhoods. Parents can afford private tutors and classes for excelling in standardized tests. Legacy admissions are still important with good schools. And if the kid fucks up all those opportunities, just pay off people at the school to get them in.

Now if you defy those odds and get into a great school on your own from a poor neighborhood, good luck paying for it. To get an advanced degree you'll likely need to rack up $150k - $200k in loans (if you can even get them). At say 7% interest, you'll be paying up to $14,000 a year in just interest on those student loans. Good luck buying a home or getting a business loan to put that degree to good use.

And the topper on the school loan part is you can't file it away in bankruptcy. You see the wealthy people loaning the money don't want that. If you're rich and your business completely bombs over and over, you can do it. So even if you work hard, get into a top school, and graduate with honors, you're going to be $200k (plus 7% interest) in the hole compared to your wealthy competitors.

Race does play a role. Hispanics and blacks earn 20% less than whites with advanced degrees. Asians for all the credit they receive earn 5% less with similar degrees.

America isn't a meritocracy. The President of the United States would be working at a used car lot on the sex offender registry if he wasn't born to a wealthy businessman. His kids flipping burgers. Hard work matters to an extent, but not as much as having rich parents pave the way for you.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:05 AM   #25
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Isnt America based on making your own way and succeeding because of your hard work?

No

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarcone View Post
Other races have succeeded in this country despite terrible odds (Japanese for example).

First, Asians face much less racial discrimination in this country.

But the statistic of them earning more is a bit misleading. Many Asians who have come over are coming from countries that are striving. And the Asians who we allow in often come with advanced skills and degrees already. It's the point of the H1-B visa program. So when you're importing hundreds of thousands of programmers who make good money, their median income is going to rise.

The fact we have to import skilled workers is also a sign of what failures we are at investing in our own citizens.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:15 AM   #26
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Similar to if you were born into lots of money. Not something you could control but certainly a privilege. Being born American to many would also be considered a privilege that you cant control. Its fair in my opinion.

Yeah, you can extend this out to so many things. Being a male, I have the privilege of not being sexually harassed at work like many attractive women do. I had the privilege of growing up with two parents who didn't abuse me (mentally or physically).

But I think to answer tarcone's original post, it's just understanding in life where you may have had an advantage over others. That doesn't make you a bad person, you can't control it. But you can show empathy for those and understand it's harder to make it in certain situations.
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:36 AM   #27
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You don't have to feel bad/guilty about it. But an awareness of it helps you have empathy for others without that advantage.
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:27 AM   #28
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You don't have to feel bad/guilty about it. But an awareness of it helps you have empathy for others without that advantage.

Now this one is interesting. And again, I can only control how I feel, but it seems to me that this is the goal of this white privilege thing (for lack of a better word this early). I feel like Im supposed to feel bad or guilty because of my lot in life.
Empathy and awareness is one thing, but that doesnt seem to be the goal of those with the loudest voices.
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:49 AM   #29
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In general, tend to ignore those with the loudest voices :-)
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Old 07-29-2019, 08:39 AM   #30
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In general, tend to ignore those with the loudest voices :-)

Especially on the interwebs.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:38 PM   #31
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Now this one is interesting. And again, I can only control how I feel, but it seems to me that this is the goal of this white privilege thing (for lack of a better word this early). I feel like Im supposed to feel bad or guilty because of my lot in life.
Empathy and awareness is one thing, but that doesnt seem to be the goal of those with the loudest voices.

I agree with this 100%

The goal should be to bring people up that need opportunity, not to drag people down.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:59 AM   #32
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I agree with this 100%

The goal should be to bring people up that need opportunity, not to drag people down.

Or more to the point, help change the institutions that deny people opportunity.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:33 AM   #33
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I agree with this 100%

The goal should be to bring people up that need opportunity, not to drag people down.


I believe the quote is something along the lines of "I'm fighting for what I need, not for what you'll let me have."

If there's a limited amount, and the group in control of the resources is the target, there's bound to be resentment from that group at the perception of something being taken away.

It's easy to feel like that perspective is dragging people down, but I think if you try and see it the other way, it's about trying to lift people up.
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Old 08-10-2019, 10:46 AM   #34
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Reminded me of this thread.

Rosanna Arquette: 'I'm sorry I was born white and privileged'
Quote:
Actress Rosanna Arquette is taking heat for apologizing about being “born white and privileged.”

The “Desperately Seeking Susan” actress made her Twitter account private after she posted Wednesday that she felt “so much shame” because of her privilege, The Wrap reported.

“I’m sorry I was born white and privileged,” she wrote. “It disgusts me. And I feel so much shame.”

Arquette, 59, claimed her tweet led to an avalanche of “threatening and cruel” responses — and now she’s had to lock her Twitter account due to the harassment.
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:04 AM   #35
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It's an exceptionally odd thing to say, regardless of your political bent. It smacks of searching for publicity, or just deciding, like our current dear leader, that sometimes you just want the spotlight on you.
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Old 08-10-2019, 12:10 PM   #36
BYU 14
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Join Date: Jun 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PilotMan View Post
It's an exceptionally odd thing to say, regardless of your political bent. It smacks of searching for publicity, or just deciding, like our current dear leader, that sometimes you just want the spotlight on you.

Agree, it's a stupid take. Instead of playing the reverse victim role, STFU and use the privilege you have to make a positive difference, not just make it about your "white guilt"
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Old 08-10-2019, 03:06 PM   #37
Radii
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Join Date: Jul 2001
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Originally Posted by tarcone View Post
Now this one is interesting. And again, I can only control how I feel, but it seems to me that this is the goal of this white privilege thing (for lack of a better word this early). I feel like Im supposed to feel bad or guilty because of my lot in life.
Empathy and awareness is one thing, but that doesnt seem to be the goal of those with the loudest voices.


On this board at least, I'm sometimes a loud voice. I know I'm really far left at this point and can get very... "passionate" about some things. That said, guilt doesn't serve a purpose here, but understanding and awareness do. None of us here who have had this privilege our entire lives need to feel terrible for that. Making the effort to listen and learn about the experiences and struggles of those who have disadvantages - without feeling the need to go with a "not all white people" or "not all men" response that minimizes their experiences. Teaching your kids to value people for whoever they are, discouraging behavior - even if it seems harmless in a moment - that would make a woman/person of color/LGBTQ individual uncomfortable.

The short of it is that if we listen a little more, make an active effort to understand the experiences of folks who didn't get the same head start we do, we'll find a whole lot of empathy that can just make existence a little bit better for everyone. Anything past that is gravy, but man that's a great start.
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:42 AM   #38
GrantDawg
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Covington, Ga.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radii View Post
On this board at least, I'm sometimes a loud voice. I know I'm really far left at this point and can get very... "passionate" about some things. That said, guilt doesn't serve a purpose here, but understanding and awareness do. None of us here who have had this privilege our entire lives need to feel terrible for that. Making the effort to listen and learn about the experiences and struggles of those who have disadvantages - without feeling the need to go with a "not all white people" or "not all men" response that minimizes their experiences. Teaching your kids to value people for whoever they are, discouraging behavior - even if it seems harmless in a moment - that would make a woman/person of color/LGBTQ individual uncomfortable.

The short of it is that if we listen a little more, make an active effort to understand the experiences of folks who didn't get the same head start we do, we'll find a whole lot of empathy that can just make existence a little bit better for everyone. Anything past that is gravy, but man that's a great start.


Well put. I was listening to a podcast the other day that was an interview with a former mayor of somewhere. This lady was focused what do about your "whiteness." The poor interviewer talked about being white like a disease that she feels great shame for. That is just too far. It is like there is only white supremacy and white shame, nothing but extremes. Recognizing white privileged doesn't equal self-flagellation. As Radii said, it is being empathetic, and recognizing a need for social and systematic change.

Last edited by GrantDawg : 08-11-2019 at 07:43 AM.
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