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Old 06-28-2013, 03:05 PM   #1
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Default Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhood

But what about us?

It’s a question of which white folks seem never to tire when discussing subjects like affirmative action, or other diversity initiatives intended to expand opportunity and access for people of color in higher education and the job market.

Whenever these matters are broached, the vast majority of us rush to protest: How dare schools or employers consider race in hiring or admissions. They should be colorblind, we insist, merely admitting or hiring the most qualified! And more to the point, we proclaim, targeting folks of color for opportunities, by definition, means discrimination against us. Such efforts make us the victims, even, on some accounts, treating white people “exactly” like blacks were treated under Jim Crow segregation (1).

So, yes, it remains the case that even when black folks have college degrees they’re nearly twice as likely as comparable whites to be out of work; and Latinos with degrees are about 50 percent more likely than comparable whites to be out of work; and Asian Americans with degrees are about 40 percent more likely than comparable whites to be out of work (2). And yes, even whites who claim to have criminal records are more likely to be hired than equally qualified blacks without records, but still, can anti-white lynchings be far behind?

And yes, blacks and Latinos combined only represent about 13 percent of students at the most selective colleges and universities — the only ones that actually practice any kind of real affirmative action for admissions — and there are twice as many whites admitted to elite schools with less-than-average qualifications as there are people of color so admitted, but still, can any rational person doubt that whites will soon be limited to mere token representation at the nation’s best educational institutions?

That such hand-wringing about so-called reverse discrimination reeks of intellectual mendacity should be obvious by now. Despite years of so-called reverse racism, whites remain atop every indicator of social and economic well-being when compared to the African Americans and Latinos who, it is claimed, are displacing us from our perch: employment data, income, net worth; you name it, and we are the ones in better shape without exception.

Indeed, in some regards the gaps between whites and folks of color have grown in recent years, as with wealth gaps, which have actually tripled since the 1980s, now leaving the typical white family with over 20 times the net worth of the typical black family and 18 times that of the typical Latino family. Even when comparing families of middle-class income and occupational status, whites possess 3-5 times the net worth of middle class blacks, suggesting that even African Americans who have procured good careers and obtained college degrees lag well behind their white counterparts, due in large measure to the inherited disadvantages of past generations, affirmative action efforts notwithstanding.

This is why, despite affirmative action — which may well be eradicated (at least so far as higher ed is concerned) by the Supreme Court within the month — white racial advantage remains a real and persistent phenomena in American life, and one with which fair-minded persons should still be prepared to grapple.

To claim that affirmative action not only disproves white privilege, but indeed suggests its opposite — black and brown privilege — as many have argued to me via email exchanges, is to ignore the entire social context within which affirmative action occurs.
It’s like protesting that sick people are privileged, relative to the healthy, because there are no hospitals for the latter.

It’s like complaining that the poor are privileged, relative to the well-off, because no one sets up soup kitchens to serve the affluent; nor does Habitat for Humanity ever show up to build mansions for the rich.

It’s like insisting that the disabled are privileged because they get bigger bathroom stalls, or because of all those special parking spaces, and that the able-bodied are oppressed because we have to walk a bit further when we go shopping at the mall or for groceries

It’s like complaining that women are privileged and men oppressed because of half-price Ladies Night specials at the local pub, or because of Breast Cancer Awareness wristbands that say “Save the Boobies” — after all, there are no “I love Prostate” wristbands — or because female porn stars and strippers make more than their male counterparts, or because hospitals don’t have paternity wards. Yeah, think about that one for a minute!

It’s like whining about how the LGBT community is privileged and we straight folks oppressed, since, after all, “the gays” have their own parades and bars that cater to their needs. Where’s our parade? Where’s our bar?

It’s like inveighing against the privileges enjoyed by Jews or Muslims, what with that Kosher or Halal certification you can find on grocery items nowadays. Obviously, going out of the way to make sure observant Jews and Muslims know what food is OK for them to eat is nothing less than naked favoritism! After all, where’s the little Jesus cross to let Christians know what food is holy for them?

It’s like rich people, who make millions or even billions (and as such, likely pay a pretty hefty tax bill annually) complaining about how working class folks who earn only $15,000 or so not only don’t pay income taxes, they actually get a refund in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit! As such, it’s obvious that the working poor are the truly advantaged in society! And this is especially true when you think about all the thrift shops and discount stores that are established to serve them, and those check-cashing outlets and pawn shops! An entire infrastructure just for low-income people. Where are our food stamps? Where’s our government cheese?

For that matter, one might ask (and some, with no sense of irony do), where’s our White Entertainment Television? Because when one is white one has the luxury of ignoring that the entire cable broadcast spectrum represents whiteness: from Donald Trump to Honey Boo-Boo and everything in between.

Or, as others insist, where’s our National Association for the Advancement of White People? Because likewise, we don’t have to notice how there are several of these, implicitly, throughout the culture: the Fortune 500, the Chamber of Commerce, or your friendly neighborhood police force among the most obvious.

Or, where’s our White History Month? Which is the kind of imbecilic query that could only emanate from the lips of one who has had the luxury of glibly ignoring that we have several, though they go by the tricky names of May, June, July, and so on, and in which months white people’s historical narratives are given quite a bit more than a momentary consideration.

In other words, when whites critique affirmative action, we typically ignore everything that came before such efforts — and which unjustly skewed the historical balance of power and access in our favor — and even that which continues to favor us now, from funding and other advantages in the schools that mostly serve our children, to preferential treatment in the housing market, to ongoing advantages in employment.
For instance, with black and Latino students far more likely than whites to attend concentrated poverty schools, and with the typical black or Latino student attending school with twice as many low income students as the typical white student, and being twice as likely to be taught by the least experienced teachers and half as likely to be taught by the most experienced, it is more than a bit disingenuous to suggest that it’s black and brown kids receiving “preferential treatment” in education.

With companies filling up to half of their new jobs by way of recommendations made by pre-existing employees — a practice that benefits those persons connected to others already in the pipeline, who will disproportionately be white — and with informal, typically white-dominated networks providing the keys to the best jobs in the modern economy, and with research indicating that employers are more likely to hire people they’d like to “hang out with,” than those who are necessarily the most qualified (which will tend to replicate race and class homogeneity), and with blacks significantly underrepresented in management positions, even and especially in work settings that include large numbers of blacks, it stands as uniquely craven to complain about how persons of color are receiving unjust head starts in the labor market. That even middle class blacks, relatively protected by their economic and educational status from overt mistreatment, still suffer disparate rates of job dismissal (even when their performance indicators are comparable to those of whites), lower mobility when compared to similar whites, and regular harassment on the job, makes such arguments all the more repugnant.

With people of color significantly more likely than whites to be steered to subprime mortgage loans — even when their credit scores and incomes are comparable to (or better) than their white counterparts — makes it downright indecent to argue that it’s whites who are getting the shaft and people of color who are reaping the benefits of some iniquitous system of preference.

And yet, that’s what one can hear, over and again, from the very white Americans who regularly bemoan what they call the “victim” mentality of black folks and other “racial minorities.”

As in, “If I were just black, I’d have gotten into Harvard!” Or, “If my buddy John had been named Juan, he’d have gotten that construction contract,” which arguments brazenly ignore that whites still far outnumber blacks at places like Harvard and white owned businesses continue to receive over 90 percent of government contracts (3). Oh, and such idiocy also, and conveniently, ignores one more not-so-minor matter: namely, that if one had been black, or if one’s friend had been Latino, one’s life and that of said friend would have been completely different, and not only on that day that you or he applied to Harvard or for that particular contract, but every day before that.

Which is to say that long before you sent in your college application, you’d have been a black child, born in a country where black children are twice as likely to die in infancy as the white child you actually were.

You’d have been a black teenager, in a country where black teens who are actively seeking jobs have unemployment rates that regularly hover around 40 percent, and are 2.5 times the rates for white teens, like the one you actually were (4).

You’d have been living in a black family, whose parent or parents would have been twice as likely to be out of work and three times as likely to be poor as the white parents you actually grew up with.

And if you had committed a crime as a youth, you’d have been six times as likely to be incarcerated for that crime than your actual white self, even if the crime details and your prior record were no different than they had been in your actual, white world.

In short, claims of white victimhood only make sense if one has so imbibed a mentality of entitlement that one actually believes whites earned all that extra stuff, that we earned our better health, or the relative wealth status we merely inherited from our families (which inherited it from theirs), or preferential treatment from cops. Which is to say, it’s the kind of thing that can only make sense to those lacking the most basic capacity for critical thought, and anything remotely resembling that which we might call, perspective.

Sadly, this is precisely the mentality adopted by several members — and now perhaps the majority — of the Supreme Court: persons who lash out at any effort to balance out opportunities for people of color, as evidence of unlawful and unfair preference, but ignore the persistent and institutionalized advantages of whiteness, referring dismissively to such things as “societal discrimination,” against which they claim to be powerless.

Such is the face of white privilege in the twenty-first century: a systematized reality so normalized and taken for granted by the majority of whites, that any deviation from its totalizing script becomes cause for alarm in the eyes of millions.

That such a weak, hypersensitive and over-indulged group as this should wield such power would be funny were it not so dangerous.

http://www.timwise.org/2013/05/whine...te-victimhood/
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhoo

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Old 06-28-2013, 03:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhoo

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Got any well reasoned responses to any of the salient points? Happy to debate them.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhoo

Not everyone agrees with your opinion so save your lectures and get over it.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhoo

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Got any well reasoned responses to any of the salient points? Happy to debate them.
You googled "White Victimhood" and posted the first result.

Everyone is subject to victimhood. I'm not saying anymore because that's my opinion and I have a feeling you won't respect it. That's fine by me.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhoo

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You googled "White Victimhood" and posted the first result.

Everyone is subject to victimhood. I'm not saying anymore because that's my opinion and I have a feeling you won't respect it. That's fine by me.
I've read him before. And considered his points. I do have that head start. Read, consider, check sources, debate. I'm here.

Don't refuse to read it as a knee jerk reaction, please.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhoo

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Got any well reasoned responses to any of the salient points? Happy to debate them.
The fact that the author of the article you cite describes himself as an "antiracist essayist" and then proceeds to wrap up his observations with a drive-by categorization of whites as a "weak, hypersensitive and overindulged group" indicates there might be at least one more racist out there than he recognizes

As has been stated in the gay marriage thread, times change - race was tied a lot more to class when the last batch of civil rights law were passed during the Johnson Administration than it is now. Walk me through how Barack Obama's two daughters would be entitled to preferential treatment in admission to a university or hiring over "weak, hypersensitive and overindulged" whites - he sure doesn't

He was asked whether his own daughters should someday receive preferences in college admissions. His response was unexpected: "I think that my daughters should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged." He added, "I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed."

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...s_of_gray.html

The issue is economic class, not race - as Emily Bazelon states:

Let’s talk about how college admissions work on the ground. At many selective schools, what happens is not meritocratic; it’s also not pretty. Kids get a leg up based on who their parents are or how much money they have—celebrity status and gobs of wealth are tickets. And kids who are black or Hispanic and also affluent, also get a boost. Their parents, like white upper-middle-class parents, can afford to give their kids SAT tutors and enriching summers abroad. This is the kind of affirmative action admissions that infuriated the conservative justices at oral argument. “What if they’re in the top 1 percent,” Justice Samuel Alito said of wealthy black and Hispanic kids who could potentially benefit from UT Austin’s affirmative action plan. “Do they deserve a leg up over a white applicant who is absolutely average?” (Income wise, he means.)

Meanwhile, high performing, low-income students, both white and minority, are still neither applying to selective colleges nor attending in the numbers they should....

Private universities, and most public ones, too, will keep doing what they’re doing. But a parallel universe is taking shape in the 10 states that have banned affirmative action. And in these states, the gist is that affirmative action is now about class rather than race, yet for the most part, sizeable numbers of black and Hispanic students are still being admitted. So are poor white kids. It’s not a simple or clear picture. At a few of the top schools affected—Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Michigan—the rates of minority enrollment are lower than they used to be. But overall, the numbers look better than I expected when I started researching this. And in three states, some schools have gotten rid of legacy admissions. They’re still doing fine. Justice Ginsburg was critical of admissions policies that encourage racial diversity even though they’re ostensibly race-neutral. But these programs could be the future. And maybe, in the end, they’re a tool for greater fairness than what we have now.


http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...ecruiting.html

As another commentator notes:

Don't be surprised to hear the word resegregation thrown around by the chattering classes.

However, any hue and cry over the impending dismantling will come from people unaware of how almost opaquely coded our discussions of racial preferences have become. When we peel away the buzzwords, rhetoric, and accreted meanings and view the issue plain, it is the standard defenses of these preferences that are racist. Whatever else you might hear in the coming days, the Supreme Court judges — all of them except dissenter Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, who recused herself — are continuing the civil-rights revolution, not turning it back....

In 1960, about half of black Americans lived below the poverty line. Few were being educated with college in mind.

Black people deserved a leg up, so much so that there was a moral case for changing the rules. But only for a time.

Because racial preferences can be as toxic as they can be beneficial. Affirmative action should be applied like chemotherapy — as quickly and narrowly as possible, because of the damage it does amid the healing.

Inevitably, whites — especially ones living far-from-comfortable lives in this vastly unequal nation — come to chafe at racial preferences. Inevitably, blacks chafe at always being suspected of being let in through the back door. Inevitably, the system quietly creates a sense that tip-top scholarly performance is something separate from the essence of being black or Latino.

For a matter of decades, all of these drawbacks were a minor consideration compared with the awesome progress that racial preferences afforded black America.

But 40 years is enough. There is now a solid black middle class; three in four black people are not poor. Plus, much of what keeps black and Latino students’ grades and test scores down is poor schooling. And the sad fact is that it is only when racial preferences are threatened or discontinued that states and universities start the real work of helping less-fortunate students of color qualify for selective universities, as happened in California after preferences were banned in 1996.

Many, however, insist that racial preferences should have no expiration date, or at least not one most of us will live to see. Ironically, their arguments for this are cold-blooded insults to black America.

Racial preferences began as a response to black poverty. But today they mainly benefit the black middle class — and anyone who implies that to be black is to be poor is called a racist.....

That's why it is right not to do away altogether with the framework of affirmative action — but rather to direct preference on the basis of class.

As the Century Foundation’s Richard Kahlenberg and others have shown (pdf), a properly applied class-based preference regime would also benefit students of color and, specifically, the ones growing up with severe disadvantages — as opposed to the middle-class blacks and Latinos that universities prefer to admit today because they are less expensive.

After almost 50 years of race-based preferences, with the underclass becoming an increasingly cross-racial group, it is logical, fair, and progressive that affirmative action now address inequality rather than skin color.

The Supreme Court is, this time at least, doing its job. Those unable to see that are letting bias and habit blind them to the contours of history and what movement forward really is.


http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer...d-on-race.html

The idea that a person who is white should grin and bear being the subject of discrimination in perpetuity for the collective good is no more justified than any other racial classification that under constitutional law is subject to strict scrutiny


"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhoo

Booker T. Washington had some interesting things to say about the kind of mentality that is posted in your article...

He warned of such people within the black community in his 1911 book My Larger Education. He described them as “problem profiteers”:

“There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” (p. 118)

A story told me by a coloured man in South Carolina will illustrate how people sometimes get into situations where they do not like to part with their grievances. In a certain community there was a coloured doctor of the old school, who knew little about modern ideas of medicine, but who in some way had gained the confidence of the people and had made considerable money by his own peculiar methods of treatment. In this community there was an old lady who happened to be pretty well provided with this world’s goods and who thought that she had a cancer. For twenty years she had enjoyed the luxury of having this old doctor treat her for that cancer. As the old doctor became — thanks to the cancer and to other practice — pretty well-to-do, he decided to send one of his boys to a medical college. After graduating from the medical school, the young man returned home, and his father took a vacation. During this time the old lady who was afflicted with the “cancer” called in the young man, who treated her; within a few weeks the cancer (or what was supposed to be the cancer) disappeared, and the old lady declared herself well.

When the father of the boy returned and found the patient on her feet and perfectly well, he was outraged. He called the young man before him and said: “My son, I find that you have cured that cancer case of mine. Now, son, let me tell you something. I educated you on that cancer. I put you through high school, through college, and finally through the medical school on that cancer. And now you, with your new ideas of practicing medicine, have come here and cured that cancer. Let me tell you, son, you have started all wrong. How do you expect to make a living practicing medicine in that way?”

I am afraid that there is a certain class of race problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.


If the patient gets well, an entire industry of victimhood will get cancer and die. This would be the best thing for the black community. Until blacks throw off the shroud of victimhood, they will be at the mercy of “doctors” who treat a cancer that does not exist but that they are paying for.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhoo

I can see how this topic and the special labels can bother whites. the classification are so broad. SCM, you, as a white person who truly in your heart does not believe that any color is better than any other gets lumped into every criticism about a perpetual white power structure. As an individual, you aren't holding anyone back. And the last thing some unemployed white person wants to hear is how much easier he has it to get a job. And I can also see Dan's point but that's really a problem with the marketing. This isn't simple. How do you ensure a truly equal society when society is merely a collection of faulty people? It's messy. But you don't do it by shying away from the conversation.


Look at the history example. History in this country is told from the white european perspective, and more so the english perspective. This cannot be disputed.

In science we branch out to Greeks and Romans. But who knows why most of the stars with names have Arabic names? We don't learn that in this country.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Whine Merchants: Privilege, Inequality and the Persistent Myth of White Victimhoo

I know I didn't explain the marketing line. BET would be better off changing their name but remaining the same. Black History month doesn't bother me. It's about things that don't make the cut in history class. We don't need a month to talk about pilgrims or Thomas Jefferson. Well maybe Jefferson in the secular , enlightenment founder history month.
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