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White Privilege vs. My Father's Life

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posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:11 PM
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White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. Academic perspectives such as critical race theory and whiteness studies use the concept of "white privilege" to analyze how racism and racialized societies affect the lives of white or white-skinned people.

According to Peggy McIntosh, whites in Western societies enjoy advantages that non-whites do not experience, as "an invisible package of unearned assets".[1] White privilege denotes both obvious and less obvious passive advantages that white people may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice. These include cultural affirmations of one's own worth; presumed greater social status; and freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely. The effects can be seen in professional, educational, and personal contexts. The concept of white privilege also implies the right to assume the universality of one's own experiences, marking others as different or exceptional while perceiving oneself as normal.

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My father's parents were born in Ireland and emigrated to the States due to economic discrimination based on their religion, being Catholic. My grandfather was from Belfast and my grandmother was from Cork. They met here in the States, married and quickly had two children. My father was the younger of the two. My grandmother came down with a mental illness which today would probably be diagnosed as postpartum depression. Due to their lack of income and the state of medicine at the time, my grandmother spent the rest of her life in a God-awful state mental asylum. My father never knew her. My grandfather fell into alcoholism and soon abandoned his two sons. My father and his brother went into the foster care system and was moved from home to home for the rest of his childhood. Sometimes he resided with his brother, at others he didn't. He suffered mental and physical abuse at most of the locations he was situated. His main goal in life, he told me, was to get off of welfare.

At 18 he was on his own with only an high school education and few prospects. So he joined the Air Force during the Korean War. After his term of service was up he re-enlisted, this time with the army. While stationed in Germany he was at some sort of storage depo. A forklift fell off the side of ramp and onto my father. He broke nearly every bone in his body including his back and shattering his pelvis. After being hospitalized for nearly a year, he was honorably discharged and eventually went on to become a police officer in Boston.

He married my mother and together they raised 7 children.

My father was not a privileged man and did not come from a privileged class. When his father arrived on these shores the Irish were outsiders and were harshly discriminated against. The country of his birth had been conquered by an invading army, had been occupied for centuries, its forests had been denuded so that the land may produce food for the invading country with the natives being quite similar to the share croppers of post-Civil War South.

During my father's upbringing I would hazard to say that he was never given affirmations of his own worth. In fact the opposite was true on a daily basis. In no way did he have social status. Any social status he achieved in life were due to his inner-fortitude and hard work and had NOTHING whatsoever to do with his race. Etc, etc., etc..

I maybe naive, but I simply fail to see how I, as a white man, have the "freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak" any more freely than anyone else. Anywhere I have ever lived (all in the greater Boston area) have been ethnically and racially diverse. I don't know what I can buy that a person of color can't buy. There's a lot of things I can't buy simply because I don't have the money. I certainly have less freedom to speak. There are words that I routinely hear said on the streets of Boston that I am not allowed to say. I personally know a lawyer who lost her job for using the N word. She was quoting directly what a person had said to her.

I will be told that I have no idea what it is like to be a person of color and I would agree. But how the hell does a person of color know what it is like to be white? I often wonder how people who buy into this theory think an average white person's life is like.

My wife and step-daughter are from Brazil, speak with accents, and have "hispanic" coloring. My wife, in her 30's, entered and completed nursing school and now works at a hospital. My daughter went to a well known university in Boston and now works for an international conglomerate and made more money her first year out of college than I was making in my late 30's.

Sorry, but I think this whole theory is BS and those propounding it are only harming the people they are purporting to support. It is exactly this type of mindset that will make some people think that they are different and cannot succeed. Any affect there is to not feeling affirmed or "normal" is going to be the same for any minority of a population in any circumstance. It is not something that can be overcome.




posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:25 PM
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My relatives weren't privileged, we were all surfs, working hard to make a living. Someone who sits in an office doing easy work and getting paid to shuffle papers and not have to physically abuse their bodies is privileged. Our government workers are almost all privelaged, same with the majority of the people working in healthcare, social work, and as teachers and in offices and sales jobs. The guy who busts his butt doing hard work is not privileged. Most cops are not privileged, they risk their lives often when they go do their job.

The people on the bottom of the totem pole are not privileged either, not till the climb the pole. Many kids are privileged, but they may not stay that way.

I know a some people of other colors who are privileged. White privilege is not even a sensible thing.


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posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:31 PM
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Well, if this 'white privilege' does exist, I have never seen it. I am a white male in my late thirties who is going on 2 1/2 yrs of unemployment (steadily looking for a job) while my wife supports the family. Everywhere I turn someone less qualified is getting the jobs I am interviewing for and they are usually minorities of one sort or another. When I inquire further, I am almost exclusively told that I was passed over because I am overqualified (I had two employers tell me that they did not select me because I am a veteran and that would make their company look bad). So no, I don't believe in this 'white privilege' BS one iota.


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posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:33 PM
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In a few hundred years, we can take it all back. We'll have suffered the same persecution that well off modern privileged coloured people think they have suffered.

My old man drove buses in the UK and trucks here before becoming a night watchman.
My old mum was a cleaner.

But at least they did their jobs with pride. Any one who looks to history and demands that I am to blame for the sins of the past, can kiss my grits.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:35 PM
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can kiss my grits.



Nice old school reference.


+11 more 
posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:39 PM
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a reply to: TobyFlenderson

White privilege is just another fake liberal narrative.


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posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:42 PM
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a reply to: TobyFlenderson

White privilege was used as a way for the Liberal Coastal Elite to pit minorities against working class and poor whites according to a professor I know(Keep in mind he works at a Liberal University in California). This professor who is not a Trump supporter and laughs at conspiracy theories, told me if he openly stated his views, he will lose his job.
edit on 5/10/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:43 PM
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The idea of white privilege is for idiots who want to blame their problems on someone other than themselves. It's a joke.

Even most black people know that.

There are real socio-economic issues but the color of your skin has little to do with it.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:46 PM
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a reply to: Metallicus

I agree it is a fake narrative. It is a radical idea that is becoming normalized through our higher education system. I hope it never gets into the liberal mainstream mindset. I am a bit eclectic in my political views and can be quite liberal in some of them. To me this idea deserves to be challenged. Unfortunately, in today's political climate one runs the risk of being labelled a racist to talk against such ideas.

In my short time on ATS I've concluded that the majority of posters are of a conservative bent. In that respect this could be considered preaching to the choir. My hope is that the truly openminded people who disagree with my OP will engage in conversation about this subject.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:47 PM
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a reply to: starwarsisreal

If he's a professor then he has tenure. He may lose his liberal reputation but not his job. He's a coward.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:48 PM
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White privilege exists but it is not as big of a deal as most of these SJWs make it out to be. I'm a black male and when I think of white privilege it is really just not constantly having to worry about if you are being discriminated against because of your race.

While the younger generation may not necessarily have experienced it, I am in my mid 40s and most certainly have felt the tinge of discrimination. However, it is nothing like what my parents who grew up during segregation experienced.

It is really hard to explain it as a white person (no matter your class) really cannot relate to what it feels like to be a minority under a microscope both overtly and even subliminally when it comes to the black experience in America.

While I think a lot of this stuff is vastly over stated these days, I don't think it can also be outright dismissed.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:55 PM
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a reply to: TobyFlenderson

I don't think he is tenured.

Even if he is tenured, they will find other ways to make his life harder.

In fact I have another professor who is not tenured told me if he was caught talking about the dangers of Radical Islam to his students he will lose his job as well.

There are some liberals like me who believe in open dialogue with White Conservatives.

Some of us are disgusted by our fellow liberals attacking white conservatives even though we don't agree with a lot of conservative values.

I am a non white American btw in case your wondering. My views are shared by other minorities who felt like attacking White Conservatives will only make race relations worse.
edit on 5/10/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:57 PM
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the whole white privilege thing is a bit nonsense in the scope the sjw's try to portray.

There is however majority benefits, and cultural benefits.
For instance, If I was chinese in China, I wouldn't have to search around to find a chinese cast on a show on television. This would be more familiar to me and my situation/family, so that is a benefit I would have without really considering it.

America is a white majority nation, therefore more representation is here based on that demographic. I get this bit.

Another benefit of being white in America is that we have always been at the very least, free. Black folk are sort of new to the whole freedom thing (relatively speaking) so there is less money in the community for now. This in turn means many generations lived poor. poor people tend to do crime to make ends meet and try to get out of their situation, and that in turn keeps a cycle of poverty and crime. This of course is the target for law enforcement (you go where crime is happening..its your job) and so more profiling will come off black and hispanic looking simply due to probability.
In saying that...
Asians are a extreme minority in the country but they come from a different culture, less crime, less poverty, more focus on being legit. They have it easier than white people overall..so if we are going with a pyramid of priveliege, Asians stand on top.

But yeah, in any country on earth, there are benefits of being the majority simply as a normal outcome of representation.

As far as inherent easier lifestyle..that isn't really the case as nothing comes free. Hell, it would have been far easier for me to simply sling drugs back in my school days and skip the college experience, but my "culture" is about the long term risk/return consideration. drug dealers typically end up dead or in prison..degree holders typically end up self supporting and a decent lifestyle. This is what needs to be taught in black and hispanic communities moreso than crime for cash.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:59 PM
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originally posted by: TobyFlenderson
In my short time on ATS I've concluded that the majority of posters are of a conservative bent. In that respect this could be considered preaching to the choir. My hope is that the truly openminded people who disagree with my OP will engage in conversation about this subject.

I don't really have a conservative leaning overall. I am a sort of slightly left of center type and answered in what I deem is a fair and considering way. (check above this post).
Have at it and let me know if you disagree



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:59 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

That is a balanced perspective I would be willing to examine.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 12:02 AM
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originally posted by: Edumakated
I'm a black male and when I think of white privilege it is really just not constantly having to worry about if you are being discriminated against because of your race.


As a white dude, its my main focus for part 2 of life to move over to Asia (preferrably Japan) for a extended time. I know I will generally be discriminated against (negatively and positively), and am fine with that because I know I will be an extreme minority there. The experience and culture however is worth it (except for their work ethic..thats the only thing giving me pause). But yeah, if I go and focus strictly on the negative discrimination, that can surely paint my experience and view..or I can listen to your point of view and see it as just a byproduct and mostly brush it away so it doesn't own my views.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 12:03 AM
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a reply to: Edumakated

First, I appreciate your response and candor. Also, I tend toward the Socratic method based on my education. If you don't wish to respond to my inquiries, feel free to tell me to bugger off.

You wrote: "It is really hard to explain it as a white person (no matter your class) really cannot relate to what it feels like to be a minority under a microscope both overtly and even subliminally when it comes to the black experience in America."

Can you give me some examples of this "being under the microscope"? Other than overt racism, ie, being called racial slurs, how have you been discriminated against? If I can't understand what it is like to be black, how can you understand what it is to be white?

Lastly, I would agree that African Americans have a unique place in American society. Does it offend you that other minorities are lumped into racial issues with you as they do not have the same historical basis as you?

I would submit to you, however, that to assume all white's have similar experiences to each other is not at all accurate. I am Catholic and grew up in a predominantly Jewish town. We Christians had a much different experience growing up than did the Jewish around us.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 12:06 AM
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originally posted by: Edumakated
While the younger generation may not necessarily have experienced it, I am in my mid 40s and most certainly have felt the tinge of discrimination. However, it is nothing like what my parents who grew up during segregation experienced.


Wanted to address this bit specifically.

I personally feel there is far more discrimination now than there was in the 90s. there is a severe divide (from both sides), and the script is flipping in the most awkward of ways, with segregation now being pushed, by black people (safe spaces for minorities, black only dorms, etc) and the endless chatting about how the different colors experience things differently, even discussions like this...

It feels a far more race oriented society today than mid-late 90s imo..perhaps it was just brushed under the rug back then and now with the internet, everything is being blown up from instant community experiences being shared..but the result of what is going on is looking like a regression to the 80s tbh...in my eyes anyhow.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 12:07 AM
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At least you have a name for it in the USA,over here its just " pakeha are racist,the lot if them". I'm first gen new zealander,but I can't be helped into a house by the govt,on no deposit, I can't get a grant from the govt,I don't see any white only schools,I get a ticket when pulled over for having no license, I'm not offered the same courses if I was incarcerated, but I'm most likely classed as privileged.... I hope my kids get more than I did.lol.



posted on May, 11 2017 @ 12:08 AM
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originally posted by: starwarsisreal
a reply to: TobyFlenderson


There are some liberals like me who believe in open dialogue with White Conservatives.

Some of us are disgusted by our fellow liberals attacking white conservatives even though we don't agree with a lot of conservative values.

I am a non white American btw in case your wondering. My views are shared by other minorities who felt like attacking White Conservatives will only make race relations worse.


I agree with you completely that a dialogue is necessary if we are to ever close the divide. I'm afraid that too many people on both sides are making too much money and/or press to properly engage in such a discourse.

Also, not all conservatives are white. Not all white liberals are free of racial bias.




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