Is This White Privilege?

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posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 08:02 AM
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Originally posted by Sys_Config
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.

Bingo! In today's world, it's not unusual to not know your neighbor very well, even though they may live in the same small building as you for years. Couple that with other dysfunctional interaction traits, and this is what you get. I don't see WP or racism in this situation.




posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 08:52 AM
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I don't see this as white privilege but definitely there is racism involved. Mostly though I see it as plain old fashioned ignorance and stupidity. My big concern at the moment is the safety of this lady and her kids. Whatever caused her to bolt like that must have been serious. Is there any way to check and make sure she's okay?

I don't blame you for not wanting to interact with your neighbors as a result of their behaviors subsequent to this; but perhaps your example might change their behaviors.

People tend to talk smack about others to build themselves up and feel better.



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 09:34 AM
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Originally posted by chissler

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.



Seems to be you are talking about GOSSIP ... ... Not White Predominance ....



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 12:40 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
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...




I'm sure he hasn't been around every single second when people gossip about others, so he couldn't possibly even know that.

[edit on 123131p://410712 by mnmcandiez]



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 12:59 PM
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Here is a link to an authoritative discussion of White Privilege. It defines the term, and also gives vivid examples that should help clarify what White Privilege is. This article was originally published in the Peace and Freedom newsletter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom about 6 years ago:


ted.coe.wayne.edu...

Peggy McIntosh is a university professor who is a leading writer on the topic of White Privilege.



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 01:06 PM
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From your link Uphill, I noticed something interesting:



Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women's studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, "having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?"


I'm a woman and I have never in my life wanted men to "give up" some of their power. I wanted to be treated equally. They don't have to give anything up for that to happen. Maybe this is part of the problem of WP. If white people are expected to give something up, that's not going to happen.

I think women need to claim and demand equal treatment, not ask men to give it up for them.



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 04:27 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
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.

So, let me get this right, you're saying that the general human decency white people show to one another, even in the absence of any people of color, could be considered an aspect of white privilege? Hmmm... that had occurred to me, but I don't have enough 'data points'.

This reminds me of the Jena 6 debacle. Briefly, if you haven't heard of it, a series of escalating racial incidents at a small-town high school led to the arrests of 6 young black people. How did it start? A black student sat under the "white tree" -yes, that's what it's called- and, the next day, there were three nooses hung on the tree, in the school colors. The principle (white) wanted to expel the students who put them there (white), but the school superintendent (also white) overruled him, characterizing the nooses as 'a youthful stunt,' not the death threat that they have always been. The students were only suspended for three days, the injustice of which led to the increasing racial tensions and, eventually, the arrests of those black kids. In this case, white privilege kept the original offenders from being punished appropriately.

Is that kinda what you mean, chissler? (Sorry about the segway, my brain requires examples to pick up a trend)

btw, Uphill's link reminded me that Peggy McIntosh would probably see the situation in your building as an example of WP


3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors... will be neutral or pleasant to me.


edit to add: like gallopinghordes, I'm also a little concerned about your former neighbor. Please let us know if you hear anything.

[edit on 19-7-2007 by HarlemHottie]



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 09:28 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
I don't see WP or racism in this situation.


I'm sorry jso, but have you even read this thread?

How can you say you don't see racism? WP, sure.. I can completely see why someone would speak against it. I'm not saying there is for sure, I'm merely thinking out loud and trying to understand the concept. But I can assure you, without a doubt, that there is plenty of racism involved here.

Chastising an individual based on her being a native is not racism? How?

Deus, you call this gossiping. Yes, it is gossiping. But because it is gossiping, it can not be racism?

What do I see here?

Members flat out denying racial tendencies of some people.

I understand that none of you have witnessed this scenario that I have attempted to elaborate on, and that is a major hurdle here. But when I reread this thread, and I have several times, I can not possibly fathom how someone could say there is no racism here. No WP? Sure. No racism? I'd suggest rereading again.

When an individual says something like "Typical Indian", that is not racist? Keeping in mind the details of this scenario, I don't see how someone could possibly say it is not racist.



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 10:42 PM
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Harlem Hottie's recounting of the recent situation of the Jena 6 is a searing reminder of the depth and scope of racist dynamics.

I therefore want to summarize for you all what I learned from a recent graduate school course I took, which studied nonprofit services to diverse ethnic groups, where even in an online course we students got seriously embroiled, and in some cases verbally attacked on course discussion boards, over different points of view.

Most of the students were of Caucasian EuroAmerican ethnicities, including me. 2 or 3 of those white folks ultimately could find no common ground with either students of color or white students who sided with students of color on opinions about ... whatever. So the course discussion board got pretty disrupted and stymied by these few naysayers. The course instructor tried to post some comments that focused people in a more positive direction, but of course those suggestions went nowhere with the folks who wanted to continue the verbal arguments.

At that point, I took it on myself to enter a recommendation on the discussion board that any student could agree or disagree with any position, however when stating a controversial opinion, students must also add one or more references from the required course readings, or equivalent authoritative sources, to back up their positions.

The result was that several classmates posted comments agreeing with my suggestion, and the former "fighters" kept silent for once. The next day, the course instructor sent me a private email saying Thank You!!

Fortunately, that was about 2 weeks before the end of the course, so we wrapped up the semester without much more in the way of fireworks.

What I learned from that experience was that groundrules are not only golden in these situations, they are essential ... if you don't have explicit groundrules in a discussion about ethnicity then "don't go there".



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 11:06 PM
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Well, it's not just non-whites who are victims of the stereotypes...I've known a lot of non-white people myself (yeah, I admit that I'm a whitey) & judging by talks I've had, pretty much every other grouping contains people who have strong, negative stereotypes against whites too.

It's not a question of who you are anymore, it's a question of how many people fall into the mindset of stereotyping others in the first place.

Every time I hear people stereotyping/profiling others (or even catch myself doing it), I just remember for myself, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against my neighbors."

[edit on 19-7-2007 by MidnightDStroyer]



posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 08:34 AM
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Originally posted by Uphill
What I learned from that experience was that groundrules are not only golden in these situations, they are essential ... if you don't have explicit groundrules in a discussion about ethnicity then "don't go there".


I thought your story was interesting. And I think it's indicative of the divisive nature of people today and the strong adherence to "sports team mentality" that I see so much in discussions, politics and just general life. It's almost like it's more important that a person stay on the "right" team, than agree or disagree with the wrong person. It's very sad and weak.

And sadly, I agree that ground rules are needed to have a productive racial discussion because of the sensitivities and perceived power imbalance.


Originally posted by MidnightDStroyer
Well, it's not just non-whites who are victims of the stereotypes...[] pretty much every other grouping contains people who have strong, negative stereotypes against whites too.


I think the major difference (as I understand from racial discussions that I've had) is that white people are perceived to hold "the power". And the illusion is that stereotypes against them don't hurt nearly as much because they still hold "the power" and stereotypes are just words, thoughts or attitudes. Sticks and stones, you know?

On the other hand, I think non-whites feel that a stereotype against them is more than just words, thoughts or attitudes, because the the stereotype has "the power" to really hurt them in their lives, be it harsher legal treatment, not getting a job or not being welcome in a neighborhood.

In other words, so a white person is the subject of gossip. So what? What harm is it really going to do? None. Because they are white and perceived to be in a power position in society by non-white people. But to a native American, who isn't perceived to be in the position of power, the words thoughts and attitudes of a white gossip-fest are seen to cement the stereotype and do real harm to the race because the power that white people are perceived to hold.

My feeling on this is that it's BS. Sure some white people hold power, but some people hold power regardless their skin color or even station in life and some white people have no power at all. Separating people as powerful or not (or to label them as ANYTHING) because of the color of their skin is ALWAYS racist and just a cop-out, in my opinion.



posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 12:45 PM
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Here are some additional (book) resources on this topic:

Teaching community -- a pedagogy of hope. Author: bell hooks (2003) (This can be viewed on Amazon online via Internet Explorer.)

White privilege -- essential readings on the other side of racism. Editor: Paula S. Rothenberg (2002)

As the previously quoted university professor Peggy McIntosh discusses, one of the greatest burdens carried by people of color in societies dominated by white privilege is invisibility (if you are other than white, you become to a great extent invisible to most white people most of the time). A different burden for people of color online is "assumed whiteness", where participants in online forums are often assumed to be white until they identify themselves as otherwise.

I confess to being an optimist. Like our forum moderator, I fondly remember John Lennon, whose song "Imagine" ends:

" ... and the world will live as one."

[edit on 7/20/2007 by Uphill]



posted on Jul, 21 2007 @ 12:28 AM
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Originally posted by chissler

Originally posted by jsobecky
I don't see WP or racism in this situation.


I'm sorry jso, but have you even read this thread?

How can you say you don't see racism?

< snip >

When an individual says something like "Typical Indian", that is not racist? Keeping in mind the details of this scenario, I don't see how someone could possibly say it is not racist.

I see a bunch of old hens clucking away. Today it's the natives. Tomorrow it will be the blacks, or the orientals, or whomever happens to leave without throwing a goodbye party.

It's not racism, it's just ignorance. Those people are too stupid to be racists.

Real racists would have burned her out before she got her boxes unpacked. Or made her life a living hell while she was there. I didn't see any of that.

Sorry to say this, but many people take every slight, real or perceived, and try to label it as racism.



posted on Jul, 21 2007 @ 08:21 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Sorry to say this, but many people take every slight, real or perceived, and try to label it as racism.


And I'm sorry to say this (not really) but I really do see jsobecky's point here. People are going to pick on things about other people that are different and gossip about them... If she had been an older woman who dated younger men they would have honed in on that. If she had been young and flirty with big boobs, or quiet and mysterious, or fat or gay or a punk rocker they would have gossiped about her because of that.

It's because she was different.

It's just that when that difference is RACE, it has a label and it's perceived as WORSE than all those other prejudices. It's not worse, in my opinion. Who would be all upset if the gossip had been because she was an older woman who dated young men? Would we be crying "Ageism!!!
It must be stopped! It isn't fair! Age privilege"!

No. There would be no thread about it.

The only way those people wouldn't have openly gossiped about her is if she were just like them, and I'll bet even if she were white and what they considered "normal", there would still be a few conversations and negative speculations about her sudden departure, because some people's lives are so boring that they thrive on gossip. And they'll find something to gossip about. Anyone who would sit on the front porch and talk about someone like that is just ignorant. It doesn't matter what the difference is.

So, I see what jsobecky means. You know, we're never going to eradicate every ounce of prejudice (racial or otherwise). That would amount to thought control. If people are expected to NEVER have a racially prejudiced thought and never share it with someone, then it's only fair to expect that they NEVER have a negative thought about someone because they are gay or fat or a "cougar" or rich or poor or handicapped or promiscuous or old or big-boobed or... different in any way.

When people use the phrase "Real racism", as in "You should be more concerned about real racism", they mean something that can actually hurt a person. Something that matters in the scheme of things.

And I understand this point! Some people would have us all think that common racial prejudice is in a class of its own, more destructive than any other prejudice or -ism. But I don't think it is. Don't get me wrong, I don't approve of it one bit and I step on it and squash it whenever I see it. (I would have had something to say to those people. I wouldn't have just walked away, I would have shamed the hell out of them.) But racial gossip is not worse that people talking down about someone because they're fat or ugly or for any other reason. It's just gossip! It's just stupid! It doesn't matter what flavor the stupidity is. It doesn't perpetrate negative stereotypes any more than talking about a gay or fat or old person does.

In that context, it's not special. It's not good, but it's really only a bunch of old hens clucking away...

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.


[edit on 21-7-2007 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Jul, 21 2007 @ 03:16 PM
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Just because you mention someones race when talking about them doesn't make the statement racist at all. Its like calling someone fat, or ugly.. does that you make you a fatist?

It doesn't mean you think bad about the whole peoples, hate, discriminate or anything.. it means you just talk a lot of gossip.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 10:12 AM
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At the start of this thread, Chissler described the scenario in his apartment building where a family of color had unsuccessfully attempted to move into that previously (apparently) all-white building. He then asked for our opinions of whether "white privilege" was a factor in subsequent tenant negative discussions about this episode outside their building.

Based on my studies on developing non-profit services for different ethnic (or different ethnolinguistic) groups, here are my suggestions so far:

1. In the 2 courses I took on this topic, we mostly worked online, but did have some in-person meetings. During each in-person class, as a white person myself, I was surprised when several apparently white students disclosed either their mixed ethnic heritage, or community problems arising from their having married a person of color, or issues related to their adoption of a child of color. So I learned to stop assuming that just because a person looks white, that's all of their story about their issues of ethnicity. One of my musician friends recently joked about being sure to wear his PFW shoes to a music gig; I asked, "What's PFW?", and he answered "Passing For White". (It turns out he is of mixed ethnicity, with a very light-colored skin.)

Thus the appearance of an all-white building may or may not be the reality.

2. I have only made one ultra-brief visit to Chissler's country (Canada), so I can't offer any personal observations there. The U.S., however, was born racist, and to this day matters of ethnicity are often discussed only with those we trust. "Justice for all?" ...that's a good question. Here is a link to a university program on ethnicity associated with Peggy McIntosh, who I cited earlier in this thread - it includes a photo of Peggy:

www.wcwonline.org...

Here is a link to McIntosh's list of examples of the Invisibility of White Privilege:

www.mdcbowen.org...

3. The fact that Chissler noticed and expressed concern about the behavior of fellow tenants who denigrated (at length) a family of color is a key turning point. Few of us are as articulate as Peggy McIntosh about what white privilege (WP) is, but all white people can stop at some point to wonder about possible exclusionary behavior in white groups, as Chissler did. When you do that, it's like what Obi-Wan Kenobi said to Luke Skywalker, "You've taken the first step into a larger universe."

4. So what should the response be to perceived exclusionary behavior by whites against people of color? Great question. I have a friend whose presence often has an almost-magical healing quality on those around her. I think of her as a peacemaker. So I studied her verbal interactions with people who expressed problems. She usually didn't say that much in these circumstances. When she did speak, it would be either to ask a pertinent question about the topic, or if she offered a comment, it was always one that would put some aspect of the situation in a positive light. Occasionally she would also offer some brief factual information in answer to a previously voiced question from others. Notice that this role calls for a lot of self-repression of comments which occur to all of us, but fit none of the above categories! ...In a group setting, that relative silence also saves everyone's time, which people notice and are also grateful for.

So I ask Chissler to consider not totally avoiding the neighbors.

5. Was the apartment building scenario a case of WP? I'd say the possibility has to be kept in mind. With that experience in mind, wait for further situations to unfold to shed further light on Chissler's question. There will be more.

In a perfect world, any ATS discussion of WP would include self-identification of ethnicity by each person when they start posting their comments. Please.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 10:16 AM
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Looks like I had more of an influence in this forum than I thought.

Glad I've helped you think about these kind of things, Chissler, regardless of our previous differences.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 10:29 AM
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Originally posted by Uphill
At the start of this thread, Chissler described the scenario in his apartment building where a family of color had unsuccessfully attempted to move into that previously (apparently) all-white building.


Uh, no. They moved in just fine. They lived there for two months...



In a perfect world, any ATS discussion of WP would include self-identification of ethnicity by each person when they start posting their comments. Please.


Why?



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 11:14 AM
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Yes, thank you, I just re-read the original description about the family that moved out in a hurry: "Two months ... maybe less" was the actual time they lived in the building.

Why did I ask each poster to self-disclose their ethnicity when beginning their comments on a thread about WP? Those who have researched and written about WP (McIntosh is just 1 example) have demonstrated the power of our unconscious assumptions (which each person has) on the conclusions that each person eventually reaches. Just the title of the last McIntosh link I added (The Invisibility of White Privilege) emphasizes how important it is to look at all patterns in thinking in order to enter that type or level of learning experience. In my previous ATS post on this thread, I brought up the "assumed whiteness" of much interaction on the Internet. Again, "in a perfect world" the ATS folk who comment on WP would feel comfortable to reflect on their own ethnicity because it really does provide equality of conversation on this topic. For me, the learning about WP was not about maintaining my comfort level, it was about how the world looks from the perspective of each different person.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 01:38 PM
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Originally posted by Uphill
2. I have only made one ultra-brief visit to Chissler's country (Canada), so I can't offer any personal observations there. The U.S., however, was born racist, and to this day matters of ethnicity are often discussed only with those we trust.


Nobody is "born" racist. I've yet to ever hear of a child that has left the womb with an innate hatred of any particular population. Racism is a learned behaviour, it always has been and it always will be. It is something we are taught, and it is something that can be defeated.



Originally posted by Uphill
So I ask Chissler to consider not totally avoiding the neighbors.


I understand that it is the way I've presented this, but it is not the case. When I had walked into the conversation that sparked this thread, I did exit quickly with some serious disgust. But I am not avoiding my neighbours, or avoiding this blatant behaviour. I'm just not going "looking" for it. I've been out of town for the last little while, since this incident, and have yet to run into anyone. So there is nothing new to report. However, if someone should bring this to my attention again, I certainly won't be walking away from it. I'm kicking myself in the ass for it right now, because I wish I had of put some of them in their place for the garbage they were spreading.


Originally posted by Uphill
In a perfect world, any ATS discussion of WP would include self-identification of ethnicity by each person when they start posting their comments. Please.


I don't think it is necessary, but I think it would draw the lines and give an indication to what color sees what. I have no reason to hide the fact that I am white, and I have come to the conclusion that I receive preferential treatment based on my skin color.


Originally posted by truthseeka
Glad I've helped you think about these kind of things, Chissler, regardless of our previous differences.


The end certainly justify the means.





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