Is This White Privilege?

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posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 10:28 PM
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I have been lobbying over this one for a few days, trying to decide if I wanted to even discuss it. After much elaboration, I thought I'd go with it. I've thought of it from several different angles, and personally, this comes across as some blatant white privilege in my opinion.

Currently I live in an apartment building. About two months ago, maybe less, a native woman moved in across the hall with three young children. Very nice lady, kids were very polite, and I enjoyed having them in the building. It can be sketchy at times having someone new move in, because you don't know what you are in for. But within a day or two, I was quite content with my new neighbours. Anyways, over the last week, week and a half, my girlfriend had noticed that they were not around anymore, and their car was nowhere to be seen. Seemed odd, but it is the summer, so we assumed they were simply out of town.

Then a couple days ago, I had noticed some movers from the company that owns the building, coming in and out of their apartment, and taking all of their stuff. The place was full of all their stuff, right down to the dishes in the cupboard. Seemed odd, but I never payed much attention to it.

Apparently there are a few "gossipers" in the building, because a few people made it their business to find out exactly what had happened. Seems that this lady took her children and bolted. Whether they paid rent or not, I have no idea. But I know she left everything behind, and the people who own the building are forced to put her belongings into storage.

That evening when I was coming into the building, there were a few of the tenants out front enjoying a beautiful evening. They were all talking about this lady, who is a native, and how she bolted from the building. Everyone was talking some serious smack about her, and had nothing good to say. This, a lady who got along with everyone while here, was suddenly the brunt of every inappropriate comment known to man. I listened to what they had to say for a few moments, and then grew too frustrated and went into the building.

I did not engage them on this, but I honestly believe that if this were a white woman who had done this, nothing would have been said, or a viable excuse would have been given. But because she is a native, or anything other than white for that matter, all of these people are sitting out front of my building, ridiculing this lady for whatever decision she was forced to make.

Now this isn't too much, but when you look for these slight privileges, it seems to be quite visible from my end of things, at this moment. It can be said that it is people like this, the native lady, who create these negative stereotypes for minorities. But that is a double edge sword that is just as sharp on either side. She can be guilty of creating these stereotypes for making a poor decision, but at the same time, she should not be ridiculed any more for her decision than any white, black, purple, yellow, etc.

So what say ye?

When white people act inappropriately, is it just good people making bad choices? When minorities act inappropriately, is it merely reinforcing these negative expectations that have already been laid out before them?

In the 15 or so months I've lived here, a lot of people have come and gone. Probably isn't the first time that this has even happened. But from what I've seen, this is the first time that we've had someone living in the building, that isn't white. And now, after her climactic departure, she's nothing more than the dirt we scrape from our shoes.

Blatant double standard in my building here, and I'll be sure to keep my head down the next time my lovely neighbours are enjoying another beautiful evening.

[edit on 17-7-2007 by chissler]




posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 10:44 PM
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I dont think it is white priveledge but it does show a degree of racial predjudice which I think we all have regardless of skin color. I find that people in groups talk crap about other folks because it makes them feel better about themselves. It happens everywhere with folks of all races.
You might have just missed discussions of the other white residents who may have bolted got evicted or whatever.

When I was a bit younger tended to look down on homeless folks and it was bad thing on my part until one day I was very close to being homeless myself. Sometimes it takes a fall to make you appreciate your fellow man no matter thier condition.

I cant look down on anyone becuase I dont know thier circumstances and how they got to the point where they are in life.

How you treat others is direct reflection on you, sometimes its a hard internal lesson for people. Today if I have extra money couple of bucks or some change I dont hesistate to give it to the less fortunate.

my 2 cents YMMV



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 11:22 AM
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I agree with DarkStormCrow. It's not white privilege, it's racial prejudice (if that). Here's why I say that...


Originally posted by chissler
Apparently there are a few "gossipers" in the building,
...
Everyone was talking some serious smack about her, and had nothing good to say.


Anyone who bolted mysteriously is going to be the object of gossip. Especially a single mother.



I did not engage them on this, but I honestly believe that if this were a white woman who had done this, nothing would have been said, or a viable excuse would have been given.


I'm not so sure of that. As DarkStormCrow said, you may have missed the other gab-fests. People (especially women) are like that. They like to imagine and dramatize situations like this.

White privilege is advantage bestowed on someone because they're white. Not disadvantages because they're not. I know it sounds like the same thing, but it's not, exactly.

If a white woman and this native woman BOTH left under the very same circumstances, and no one spoke negatively about the white woman, but had horrible things to say about the native woman, then the white woman would have been experiencing WP. But in your story, there was no white woman, so white privilege couldn't exist. There has to be a white person gaining an advantage for WP to exist.

I hope that makes sense.

The previous post is just my opinion and makes no claim to be the TRUTH. I play no role in this thread other than a participant on a discussion board with an opinion.



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 11:39 AM
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So whenever someone says something about a non white it is white privilege? I don't get your point I guess, I don't see anything here but conjecture and opinion leading you to your paradigm, not very scientific to say the least.

I don't think it wsa so much white privilege as much as tenets gossiping because they have nothing better to do. The otherposter was correct in my opinin when they stated that gossiping makesthem feel better about their own miserable lives...



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 11:43 AM
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Originally posted by theindependentjournal
I don't see anything here but conjecture and opinion leading you to your paradigm, not very scientific to say the least.


Note that the thread is a QUESTION, not claiming to be scientific or even conclusive. He's asking a question.



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 11:53 AM
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It would seem some form of racism is going on there, though it's kind of hard to tell from what little you've told us...

I would say to know for sure, you'd need to have a white single mother bolt under the same mysterious circumstances...then see what's said. Though I can understand your retisence to enjoy that sort of thing.



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 12:01 PM
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This is just your opinion ... bro ... and the fact that you had personal interaction with this lady and her kids may have provoked those thoughts of you over hearing something that someone else said. Who knows you might have even overheard something wrong and misunderstood it .. Much less if the people would have been talking about a White Lady that did the same thing. Seems to me that the richer and more "White" or what you guys say is more WHITE these days on here the more Publicity you get and the harder it is to live a normal lifestyle ... If anything .. .it shouldm't be white and black or whatever anymore it should be .. Rich and Poor ....



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 12:03 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
When white people act inappropriately, is it just good people making bad choices? When minorities act inappropriately, is it merely reinforcing these negative expectations that have already been laid out before them?

I'd have to say that if you're not sure about 'white privilege' kicking in, then it may not have been an issue. Personally, I'd suggest she may seem to have gotten a rougher ride because she could be tagged by her ethnicity, but whether that was was incidental to the gossip is a tough call, not having witnessed it.

You might be experiencing a little white guilt, given that your neighbours' behaviour made you feel uncomfortable in your own skin...but that's pretty human, too. Well, Canadian, anyway.

[edit on 18-7-2007 by JohnnyCanuck]



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 01:51 PM
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First off, BH hit the nail on the head here by understanding that this thread was posed as a question, and not a statement. The last few days have had me thinking, and when I think, I tend to think out loud on the boards here. This thread being the result of that.

I agree with some of the points being made here, and I see a very fine line.

On one side we have a legitimate bias against minorities, which can ultimately result in a privilege for the white race. But at the same time, we can victimize certain minorities over something very subjective, and something that we would not have looked twice upon had it been a white person. I think there is some merit to that.

Had this been a white person they were talking about, I may not have taken offense to it. But considering this lady was a native, and they were chastising her on that, and that alone, I did take offense. It was as if she had shown her true colors by bolting from the building for whatever reason.

Then again, I could be victimizing her because she is a young, single mother of two young children.

Or, I could be standing up for a person that should not be talked about in this manner.

Like I said, it is a fine line. What is justified, and what is victimizing?

Is white privilege another name for a certain aspect of racism?


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
If a white woman and this native woman BOTH left under the very same circumstances, and no one spoke negatively about the white woman, but had horrible things to say about the native woman, then the white woman would have been experiencing WP


Unless the tenants of my building have some serious short-term memory, that is the case. A lady who lived above me for almost a year moved out a few months ago rather unexpectedly, and in a real hurry. Nobody said much of anything, and nobody made it their business to pick through what had happened. The day they were moving, I was on the couch with a miserable head ache, and the banging upstairs was driving me insane. So I did what any sane person would do, I took a broom and started to bang on the ceiling. Basically to tell them to shut up up there. A few minutes later, it was still going, and I had noticed a moving truck outside with people going back and forth at an eerily fast pace.

From what I had seen, not much was said. But on this instance, the gossip whores are everywhere, doing everything they can to make this lady's business, their business.

It can be said that maybe I missed these individuals, who need to find a better way of occupying their time, talking of this lady as they had the native. But who knows.

Again, anyone reading or posting in this thread, approach this as if your answering a question, and not refuting a statement.




[edit on 18-7-2007 by chissler]



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 02:00 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
They were all talking about this lady, who is a native, and how she bolted from the building. Everyone was talking some serious smack about her, and had nothing good to say.


Were they talking about her heritage? Did they attribute anything to the fact that she was a native? Did they say things like, "You know how they are"...

If not, it's impossible to tell what their motive was. You'd probably get a lot more accurate answer if you were to ask some of the gossipers their thoughts. It's possible that some were down on her heritage and it's possible others had no thought of it. It's difficult for us to tell. But I don't think I'd see it as WP or even racism without more info.

It's something to think about: If she had been white and they had been gossiping, would you wonder if it was because she was white? Are you overly sensitive to possible racial issues?





[edit on 18-7-2007 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 02:23 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Did they say things like, "You know how they are"...


Indeed.

It was quite clear that her being native was taking the brunt of what they had to say. From my end of things, it was as if they had this discussion when she first moved in, and what I had walked in on was the, "I Told You So" conversation. Like I said previously, it was as if she had shown her "true colors" and proved everyone right.

They came to these conclusions on her when she first moved in. What did they have to base it on? Seems to me that her being native was the only thing they could base it on. There are several single mothers in the building, and one of the ladies that was doing the gossiping is a single mother. So I highly doubt that they came to these conclusions based on her children. Be a little hypocritical to judge someone on something that she is herself.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
But I don't think I'd see it as WP or even racism without more info.


I can say with 100% certainty that it was blatant racism. My intent here is to discuss if this racism is an indication of white privilege. I've watched a white woman, who is a single mother, move out under very quirky circumstances, and nobody said a word. But now this lady moves out, and suddenly everyone has an opinion.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Are you overly sensitive to possible racial issues?


You get me BH, and I like that.

I won't hide that I am sensitive to racial issues, among many things. If I see young children being mistreated, I take serious offense. Senior citizens, same thing. Animals, I don't take too well to animal cruelty. And I guess the same can be said for victims of racism. I just don't understand how someone could think like that, or put them self on a pedestal based on something so benign.

And this is why I took a few days to think about this, before eventually posting it. I was trying to decide if I was being overly sensitive.

What say you?

Do you think overly sensitive is the same as patronizing?



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 02:40 PM
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You may be many things, Chissler. Patronizing? I certainly don't think so.

It may have been racism, but I don't see how White Priviledge fits in here, if there even is such a thing in this day and age. Racism surely, but White Priviledge, not so much. Things may have been said about the white woman moving out under strange circumstances that you simply aren't privey to. Possible?

I have a question for you though. What is your definition of White Priviledge? I think I know how you define it, but if you would?



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 02:59 PM
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I don't think this is a white privilege issue at all. Where I live (and I'm in a building of 12 apartments in a huge development) anyone who moves out under mysterious circumstances is "talked" about. If they're a piece of white trash that has loud late night parties, followed by screaming girl/guy arguments in the parking lot, then they will be talked about and looked down upon as scum in my building. I am white and I just had a piece of white trash evicted underneath me for playing his rap music constantly at all hours and running a party pad 24/7, with no care about his neighbors at all. He was told repeatedly to turn the noise down.......our building is happy he's gone.

I have Mexicans that live across the hall from me (the number of tenants rotates in their apartment). Everytime you turn around they have eviction notices taped to their mailbox for not paying rent (yet they have enough money to party all the time). The notice has their monthly payment printed out on it clear as day. And guess what? I've lived here 12 years and they've only been here 3 and they are paying less than me. There are 3 of them and only one of me. They live across the hall. Why am I paying higher rent? Where's my white privilege? The rental office won't discuss it.

[edit on 18-7-2007 by rocknroll]



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 04:50 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
It was quite clear that her being native was taking the brunt of what they had to say.


Oh, See, I didn't know that from your first post. Definitely racial prejudice.



My intent here is to discuss if this racism is an indication of white privilege.


I say no. There was no "privilege" given. This was just plain old ignorant prejudice, in my opinion.



You get me BH, and I like that.


Takes one to know one.
I'm very sensitive to it as well. Check out this post if you have time:
Without Prejudice



Do you think overly sensitive is the same as patronizing?


It can be, but not in your case. No. You're just a kind, sensitive, caring person who wants everyone to be as happy as they can be. You hate it when people hurt. That's clear.



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 04:59 PM
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Chissler,

I have to agree with the other members here that, while this isn't exactly a example of white privilege, the fact that they didn't speak so poorly about the white woman who moved out would be an example.

What your neighbors were doing, both before and after the Native woman moved out, would be considered an example of racial prejudice, I think, but then again, people of color have these same conversations amongst ourselves ("Was that racist?" "I don't know, a little, maybe...") because it's always difficult to know what motivates people. Sometimes you can eliminate other factors, sometimes everything's all jumbled up, like earlier in the thread, when people asked if the cause for all the gossip was her 'single mother-hood'. You were able to eliminate that possibility because one of the gossips was a single mom. It's not always that easy.

IMO, your anecdote illustrates quite vividly why people of color tend to cluster in certain neighborhoods... I mean, normal neighborly issues and/or disputes are enough of a hassle, without the addition of racial prejudice. It's so much easier to avoid it altogether. Of course, everybody's not as petty as your neighbors, but, in today's economy, it costs too much to move into a new building, or neighborhood, just to test the waters.



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 07:16 PM
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This is where it gets tricky for me. Obviously with a subject of this sort, blanket statements do nothing. So each situation is it's own, and what came before it really has no relevance in my opinion.

However, the white woman moved out without being chastised. A native woman moved out, under very similar circumstances, and was immediately chastised.

Was this white woman not given preferential treatment, obviously indirectly, based on her skin color?

If a tree falls down in the woods and no one is around to hear it- does it make a sound? Yes!

Just because this white woman was not around to understand the preferential treatment she was awarded, it still exists.



Thoughts?

[edit on 18-7-2007 by chissler]



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 08:05 PM
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Well, WP is actually just the other side of the coin of racial prejudice. It's really the same thing.

Two equally-qualified people go in for a job. A white guy and a native. The white person is chose for no other reason than that he's white. He has experienced white privilege and the native has experienced racial prejudice. It's the same thing, depending on the perspective from which you are examining (or experiencing) the situation.

So, since there was no white person in your first post, there was no WP. Now, at another time, if this has happened to someone white and they weren't gossiped about, in the overall scheme of things, they experienced WP.



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 09:10 PM
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I don't see racism in this.what happened crosses every color line..when you don't know and people try to fill in the blanks with the reasonable or the unreasonable.Its happened ever since the stone age when Alley Oop went around the corner for a pack of cigarettes and never came back.



posted on Jul, 18 2007 @ 11:48 PM
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How do you get white privilege in this?
People would have talked bad about her if she was white, black, Asian, or native. I guess whites can't say anything bad about non-whites or its racist, get real.



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 06:59 AM
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mnmcandiez, The OP has said that white women have left in similar circumstances and not been the subject of gossip.

He's trying to understand what WP is. He's exploring his thoughts on the subject...





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