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Is This White Privilege?

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posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 06:14 PM

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
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"!

What you, and jso, have stated here is so true, yet so underrated. Racism has this stigma that prevents it from being the social norm. Don't dare say a word about a black man or woman, but feel free to bash any individual based on any other detail. The way the "kids" dress, right to how some people speak, we assume so many things on so many people, based on these benign details that should carry no weight.

We should be doing our best to prevent prejudices of all forms, not just stigmatizing the one form of prejudice that we call racism.

As I've stated before on the boards, I currently work in a few small option homes where I support individuals with disabilities. Some people are not aware of this, or when I meet someone new, they too are not aware of it. Before too long, I am hearing the term "retard" being tossed around like it is something new, and then if we see someone that actually has a disability, the prejudices are running in overdrive. It sickens me.

I'm not going to kid anyone and say that I am above any of this. I am just as guilty as anyone else. But what separates me from those that frustrate me, is that I am aware of my prejudices and I am striving to correct these innate tendencies. At least I hope that separates me. Otherwise, I'll gladly bare the hypocrite logo.

So the question is: Why is racism stigmatized, while so many other prejudices are widely acceptable?

Is it that some of the victims of these prejudices do not have a voice? People have begun to stand up for themselves, and no longer be victimized based on the color of skin. Due to this unwillingness to lay down and be a door mat, society has been forced to lay a filthy stigma on this behaviour. Sexism can be included in this as well. Women have stood up and had their voice heard.

Senior citizens? Disabled? etc.

Sometimes they don't have a voice, or they do not have the platform to stand up and have their voice heard. Thus society has not been forced to lay the stigma on this, as they have for others. So individuals, who do not take the minute to piece one and one together, may be under the false impression that a prejudice based on age or mental capacity is far more acceptable than on skin color.

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
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.


I mean this as polite and respectable as possible, but a large portion of my family is completely ignorant. They judge based on economic stature, clothing, appearance, etc., and it drives me up the wall, back down, and then up again. Anyone who might be walking down the road with a dirty shirt, dirty pair of pants, and scruffy face, they must be a bum, alcoholic, or a "skid" who has no worth. I confront them on it every time and say something like, what if he's a single father with four young kids at home, who's just getting off of work, walking home in order to put a warm meal on the table for his children?

They know I'm right and what they said was completely ignorant, and they try to laugh it off rather than excusing themselves. Then we'll have talk about a bunch of nothing until the next inappropriate comment surfaces, and I'm forced to confront it again.

WP may be a constant with prejudices based on race, but there are so many other perks that come with prejudices based on clothing, appearance, economic stature, etc., that are not restricted to the white race. A black man in a suit has more worth than a white man in dirty clothes. Just as a white woman in business attire has more worth than a black woman who looks like she hasn't showered in a few days.

All of these prejudices are baseless and inappropriate, yet occur on a daily basis. Those that think they are "more appropriate" than those based on race, well they need to have a little sit down and open their eyes.

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
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.

Very true and well put.

The stigma that is carried with racism is completely appropriate in my opinion, but all of the other prejudices should not be carrying a get out of jail free card. They should carry a stigma as well. It is inevitable that they will continue to exist, as it is human nature to judge, assume, and compare. But if we can be aware of these prejudices within ourselves, I think it is the first, and biggest step in the right direction.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:15 PM
Thank you for responding to my post, chissler.

Sadly, what I have seen in my life is people who speak out strongly, and with arrogance and superiority, against racism, but will turn around and call someone a fat slob without a second thought. And when I confront them, they claim that the fat person is that way because they're lazy and by their own action...

To me, that line of thought implies that the fat person chooses to be fat, but the black person (or whatever) "can't help it that he's black"... and that's the difference. What? That's supposed to justify this prejudice? Does it really matter if a person puts themselves in a situation or if they're born to it?

I don't think so. I think people need to own their prejudices and not justify them as better or worse depending on the subject of their prejudice.

Originally posted by chissler
Why is racism stigmatized, while so many other prejudices are widely acceptable?

Because there is a politicized movement to make it out to appear more damaging than other prejudices. Because people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have made racism a political statement, because they want something from the government, in my opinion.

A Word on Hate Crimes

There are many other prejudices toward which American society has become more sensitive in the past several decades. One prominent example is ageism--prejudice and discrimination against the elderly. Senior citizens, through their lobbying organization, the American Association of Retired Persons, have become a powerful political force, and they have achieved considerable success in having age discrimination prohibited. If crime based upon race discrimination is an especially heinous crime, then many people will no doubt conclude that crime based upon ageism ought also to be a hate crime trigger. The same kind of logic no doubt will lead advocates for the physically and mentally handicapped, undocumented aliens, HIV positive persons, and others to demand special condemnation and extra punishment for criminals who victimize them. Thus, the creation of hate crime laws and jurisprudence will inevitably generate a contentious politics about which prejudices count and which do not. Creating a hate crime jurisprudence forces us to proclaim which prejudices are worse than others, itself an exercise in prejudice.

And I know I mentioned it before, but only in an ideal Utopia are all prejudices going to be non-existent. And as you said, we need to do what we can to be aware of them and be accountable and responsible for our own prejudices. But to try to make racism special in some way is just political, in my opinion.

I have more but I have to go.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:28 PM
From my perspective, you make far to many assumptions about your mysterious native lady and her children. You assume her sudden disappearance was voluntary, you assume she was single because you did't see a man with her and the kids, you assumed she made an inappropriate decision to vacate, etc.

The conversation amongst your neighbors about the lady says much more about them than anything else.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:34 PM

Originally posted by Astronomer70
You assume her sudden disappearance was voluntary,

I do not.

Originally posted by Astronomer70
you assume she was single because you did't see a man with her and the kids,

A rather benign assumption, don't you think?

Originally posted by Astronomer70
you assumed she made an inappropriate decision to vacate, etc.

Again, I do not. I strongly believe there was a legitimate reason behind her departure. I was not the one who made it my business to get to the bottom of it. I'm just the one who should of stepped up and called my neighbours on their ignorance, and I failed to do so.

From my perspective, you've assumed several things of me. Where did I imply that it was an inappropriate reason behind her departure? I'd love to see that. Where did I assume anything negative towards this lady? Any assumption I made, was completely benign and had no bearing on the situation.

Originally posted by Astronomer70
The conversation amongst your neighbors about the lady says much more about them than anything else.

Yes, which is why I authored this thread. While it says something about them in particular, it also says something about the society in which we inhabit.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 08:23 PM
Chissler I don't want to squabble with you over words and phrasings in your posting. If you feel I have maligned you personally in some way, I apologize.

However, when I read the post the impressions I got from it were more or less reflected in my reply. Perhaps being from two different generations, we have different connotations for some of the words and phrases used.

[edit on 23-7-2007 by Astronomer70]

posted on Jul, 24 2007 @ 08:09 AM
Astronomer, I find your post curious and I'd like to say that I'm also of a different generation than the OP and I didn't make any of the assumptions that you did.

The OP didn't imply in any way that the woman's departure was voluntary. In fact, I got the impression that she "had" to leave (for her safety, perhaps?) because she left EVERYTHING behind. Not something one usually (appropriately) does in a voluntary situation.

Secondly, the OP didn't mention that she was single. Not at all. That, again, was your assumption, I believe.

And finally, my impression was that the only thing "inappropriate" about her departure was that it was so fast and without any of her belongings. Normally, when someone moves, they (appropriately) take time to pack and they take their things with them. In this instance, the word "inappropriate" wasn't a value judgment, but a simple observation. As in inappropriate to the situation under normal circumstances or not what's expected.

I'm not trying to be difficult. I just want to put in my perception of the OP's position on the situation. It seemed to me that he was very objective and reported what happened without assumption.


Originally posted by Astronomer70
The conversation amongst your neighbors about the lady says much more about them than anything else.

This, I agree with 100%.

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