14 September 2008

White privilege and the 2008 campaigns

This is scary, frightening, almost funny.

Funny until you realize it has to do with the future of the entire nation and the ignorance and lack of a sense of reality for many people who are not really paying attention to what is going on with the selection of the VP candidate and what is going on with the slamming of the Democratic candidate and the people around him.

Funny until you realize that brown people deal with way more than this on the daily.

Funny until you remember that it is not a game -- that the future of this nation and the relations of this nation and the rest of the world are at stake and will be partially decided in a few weeks. That this future is in the hands of some people who don't want to listen, pay attention, or even blink.

Tim Wise wrote an interesting little article "White Privilege, White Entitlement and the 2008 Election."

Here are some excerpts:
  • White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you. White privilege is… [when] no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.
  • White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."
  • White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.
  • White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.
  • White privilege is when you can call yourself a "fuckin’ redneck," like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their fuckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.
  • White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.
  • White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.
  • And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.


  1. i wrote a paper on this in applied psy. chk this another example

    flesh colored band-aids (whose flesh color)

  2. To this day I don't wear band-aids. I started boycotting them when I was a kid since I couldn't understand why they didn't make them the color of my or my family's flesh.

  3. Wow. Of course most of America will call this liberal whining, but it is so true. It disgusts me when my white friends ask me if racism still exists. As long as there are people on this earth, you will have ignorance like we've seen this election cycle. It's a shame it is still so prevalent in 2008.

  4. You know, the issue of race is the elephant in the room with this campaign, and its on both sides.

    Its a shame that some folks claim that we live in a post racial society. I'm so sick of that term it ain't funny.

    And just to add on: White privilige is being able to be denied a job with the justice system because you identity with the democratic party.

  5. In calling this a post-racial society people are just ignoring and denying the cultures and pasts of people. It's like the people who say they are colour blind -- they don't see colours so they are really just not identifying or recognizing the fact that the person in front of them is different and may have been raised/treated/brought to think different/has different traditions/discriminated against because they are white/black/latino/east asian/central asian/east european etc.

    Ignoring the big elephant is ignoring the people and their thoughts.

    It is also ignoring the people who are set to vote in this election.


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