White Privilege: A Myth that Needs Revision
By Reed Benson
Are you a racist? Are you suppressing Black people? Is it your fault that Black people cannot get ahead economically and socially? How is it that the vast majority of Caucasians do not hate anyone of any race, but the Liberals of our country are certain that they are nonetheless inherently racist? To understand the tension between the opposing worldviews that enmesh our nation, we must review recent developments.
Beginning in the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s, popular attitudes and public policy began to shift dramatically regarding race relations in the United States. From that point onward, separatism would be viewed as evil. Affirmative action programs to give special aid to non-Whites would be considered appropriate. The full power of government, the media, and academia would be enlisted to help insure equal outcomes for everyone of every race.
Everyone expected that all races, but Blacks in particular, would soon enjoy standards of living and professional attainments equal to Whites. But that did not happen. By the 1980s, it was clear that the long-expected results of 1960s civil rights legislation were not enough. Something else must be wrong. There must be some hidden force that was keeping Black people from rising. What could it be?
Meet the Author of White Privilege
A hitherto obscure White lady professor from Wellesley College came to the rescue in 1988. Peggy Macintosh wrote a short essay entitled "White Privilege and Male Privilege" in which she argued that all White people unknowingly possess a collection of unfair advantages over other races that wait at their disposal, and they unwittingly deploy them when needed. Macintosh called this "White privilege." She stated it is "like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks." Macintosh had the answer! Blacks were not advancing in the United States because White people continued to enjoy hidden advantages that were keeping Blacks suppressed. She argued that even though Whites were no longer using public laws to maintain their lofty perch in society, they unconsciously were acting in a racist manner when they took advantage of "White Privilege." Macintosh contended that virtually all White people in America, despite their attempts to be kind and evenhanded toward Black people, are racist by virtue of their circumstances. They do not know it, but they nonetheless are unjust racists that keep Blacks at the bottom rung of society.
The phrase "White Privilege" and the thrust of Peggy Macintosh's arguments are now legendary among leftists. She is a household name among the folks that rub elbows with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Indeed, she enjoys rock star status and is quoted constantly. Her thoughts have provided the bedrock of liberal thinking across the land when it comes to race relations. When Black Lives Matter march and riot in the streets, claiming that policemen are racist, they are not upset so much about laws and policies. After all, laws are now colorblind in America. They are angry about the "invisible special provisions" that White policeman deploy to favor people who look, talk, dress, and emote like themselves. When former President Obama stated that he wanted to "fundamentally change America," he meant that he wanted to remove the "invisible, weightless knapsack of passports and tools" from White people that make it easy for them to advance themselves, while Blacks remain stuck at the bottom of society for lack of these same "White privileges."
The Invisible, Weightless Knapsack: Alleged White Privilege
Peggy Macintosh's much-lionized article includes a list of fifty items, "tools," that White people unknowingly deploy to their advantage to maintain White privilege. To be quite frank, I believe any rational, objective person will see these "privileges" as trivial, superficial, vague, and shallow, if not downright false. Or, as my thirteen-year-old son would bluntly put it, they are stupid. The fact that leftists tumble over themselves in their eagerness to praise Macintosh and buy her arguments only shows their intellectual bankruptcy. Reviewing all fifty would be a lengthy waste of time, but let's look at a random sample of her so-called White privileges:
According to Macintosh, because I am White . . .
#1. "I can arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time." Rebuttal: so can Black people. They are free to associate with whom they wish. No one compels them to enter places where Whites are abundant. They are free to build up their homes, their neighborhoods, their own institutions. And as far as this being true for all Whites, if you grew up in American cities in the 1960s and 70s, you saw your neighborhood turn dark and had a hard time escaping. Most did eventually, but at significant financial and personal cost. What is the "invisible special provision" for White people here?
#5. "I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed." Rebuttal: in 21st Century America, so can Black people. And, unless they dress like gang members, the storekeepers will be pleased to see them come and make purchases. Of course, If White people dress like thugs, they also might arouse suspicion in the clerk's mind. What Macintosh and Blacks apparently do not understand is that Whites are afraid to shop in many urban areas where local inhabitants, not storeowners, follow and harass White people. What is the "invisible special provision" for White people here?
#9 "If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on White Privilege." Rebuttal: yes, Ms. Macintosh had no trouble in 1988 finding a publisher for her liberal, leftist article. That is even truer for her works in 2017. She seems to think publishing is easy because she is White, while in reality is has always been easy for her because her writings are liberal. How about a White person finding a publisher for an article denouncing White privilege? Most large publishing firms will not touch such a topic. If it were not for self-publishing and the Internet, articles such as the one I am writing now would never be published. What is the "invisible special provision" for White people here?
#25 "If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race." Rebuttal: regarding police picking on Blacks, that has not been true for at least the last half-century. Indeed, in 2017, policemen are frightened to stop a Black person for fear of accusations of racial profiling that will destroy their career. If anything, police officers stop a Black person only if circumstances absolutely compel them to do so. Thus, Blacks routinely get away with rowdy and unlawful behavior that a White person would not. And as far as IRS audits go, it is now well known that the agency has targeted conservative groups routinely, which invariably tend to be overwhelmingly White in composition. This hidden tactic was revealed in 2013 when Lois Lerner, the Acting Director of Exempt Organizations, was scolded before Congress for the agency's anti-Conservative, anti-White corruption. What is the "invisible special provision" for White people here?
#44 "I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race." Rebuttal: what a hoot this claim is! Regarding institutions, can anyone name one public college or university in the United States that is designed to cater only to White people? No. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Blacks are welcome, perhaps even preferred, in every college in America. Are there any designed to cater exclusively to Blacks? Yes, many! Howard University, Spelman College, Hampton University, Tuskegee University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Bowie State University, Albany State University, to name just a few. Are there academic courses at any universities in the United States that are only about Black people? Absolutely, yes! Black Studies are not only single courses, but are entire degree programs! But there are no parallel courses in White Studies or degrees that can be earned in White Studies.
It would be a true waste of time and paper to rebut the other forty-five limp, tepid claims of White privilege that Ms. Macintosh makes. Believe me, the rest are no better than the five cited here; look them up for yourself and you will likely agree. What is sad is that leftist liberal minds think these are valid and sensible arguments! They lap them up like a hungry cat goes for a can of tuna fish!
Black Privilege on Display
Let us now turn things around. Today in America, it has become more than obvious to any objective observer that rather than White people having advantages, it is minority races that have the advantages, especially Blacks. These special provisions are not invisible; they are open, blatant, and as plain to see as the noonday sun. Let us consider just a few of the privileges that Blacks enjoy in 2017 America.
1. Blacks can conduct racist assaults on Whites and count on civil rights activists and the liberal media to ignore their criminal deeds. When Neighborhood Watch guard George Zimmerman killed the Black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2013, America watched and was intentionally misinformed. The media chose to ignore the fact that Zimmerman was of Peruvian descent and called him a "White Hispanic," emphasizing whatever White ancestry he might have had despite his obvious swarthy skin tones and his Black great-grandfather. In the next two months, at least fourteen known attacks occurred on Whites for the stated purpose of avenging the fallen Black youth. "This is for Trayvon! Kill that White man!" shouted six Black assailants who mauled a 78 year-old White man in East Toledo. In Baltimore, a group Blacks beat and robbed a White man, stripped him naked, then posted a video of the assault online with the caption, "me an my boys helped get justice fore trayvon [sic]." Neither of these cases resulted in hate crime prosecution, despite their explicit and undeniable racial motivation. Many more examples of this kind of criminal privilege can be cited, going back as far as the Los Angeles O.J. Simpson trial and more recently the absurdity of the Ferguson, Missouri riots.
If you are Black, possibly guilty, and a White person is involved, the media will actively volunteer advocate for the Black. There are five times as many Black-on-White attacks as the reverse. Taking into account that there are about five times as many Whites as Blacks in the United States (197 to 38 million), that means Blacks commit interracial violence at twenty-five times the rate of Whites. The liberal, mainstream media loathes transmitting this fact to their viewing audiences. However, police know this fact, which is why "stop and frisk" policies allowing officers the discretion to profile troublesome looking young Black males actually works. Sadly, that is why the leftist liberals of our nation hate this policy: it reveals facts they want buried.
Inevitably, racial bias in favor of Blacks over Whites does not stop with the admissions process. Once admitted, it is imperative that Blacks remain in school and eventually graduate, poor grades notwithstanding. The pressure on professors to "level the playing field" and reduce Black flunk-out rates compels them to use lower standards as compared to their White and Asian peers. Late sociologist David Riesman labeled this practice "affirmative grading." One disgruntled professor at a California state university was bold enough to state: "We are just lying to these Black students when we give them their degrees."
Of course, there are also enormous financial incentives, benefits, and scholarships available to Blacks only. In 2011, Yale University announced it would provide free tuition to Black public high school graduates with a GPA of 3.00. No White student with a GPA of 3.00 need even bother applying for admission, let alone receive free tuition. At Penn State University, Blacks are paid a $580 cash bonus if they maintain a C average, hardly a stellar performance.
Another example, a bit more prosaic, illustrates this institutional problem of what many call reverse discrimination. In 2009, the New Haven, Connecticut Fire Department gave an examination to all employees upon which promotions would be based. After the results came back and no Blacks scored well enough to qualify for advancement, the results were entirely thrown out. The pressure on the department to promote Blacks and the politically correct climate of our nation provided sufficient basis for this bias against Whites to occur.
4. Blacks can expect the media to forego close scrutiny of their personal lives to protect their public image. Black-skin privilege allowed Barack Obama to rise to the Presidency. What White political novice, lacking notable legislative achievement, professional accomplishment, or business performance could have achieved this high office? Indeed, having spent his career on the radical fringes of politics and associating with unrepentant former terrorists from the 1970s, there is no other explanation for Obama's meteoric rise in 2008 and the media love affair that continues to this very day.
Other examples abound, however. Consider the Black rapper Jay-Z. As a juvenile he shot his brother; as an adult he dealt cocaine and stabbed a rival business executive. Yet, he is a media darling and a friend of many politicians, including former-President Obama.
And then there is the long and sordid career of Jesse Jackson. This two-time presidential candidate enjoyed the strong support of the Democratic Party and remains a household name in America. But his dark side was entirely squelched by the media. During his first presidential campaign, he referred to Jews as "Hymies" and New York as "Hymietown." What White politician in the last one hundred years could have survived that politically incorrect comment? Jesse Jackson had sex with a subordinate, sexually harassed numerous other employees, and fathered at least one child outside his marriage. Yet American universities have awarded him more than forty honorary doctorates, and President Clinton gave him the Medal of Freedom, the highest award a civilian can receive. Even Clinton suffered enormous political damage for his own sex scandal, barely surviving impeachment. But Jesse Jackson's political career moved forward without a hiccup—thanks to a friendly press that smothered his indiscretions.
that's American politics pure and simple. Obama's message didn't mean [expletive] to me. When it comes down to it, Whites wouldn't have elected a nigger. Because what's a nigger? A nigger is scary. Obama ain't scary at all . . . I hope Obama gets scary in the next four years, 'cuz he ain't gotta worry about getting re-elected." If a White actor uttered such racially encumbered opinions, his career would crumble instantly. Yet no one scolded Jackson. His Hollywood career has continued its high-flying trajectory without a ripple: he even retained job as spokesman for Apple's popular iPhone.
Long time Dallas politician John Wiley Price, a Black man, has a big mouth. Known for his profanity laced tirades, he pushed the envelope further in 2011. Speaking to a largely White audience, he shouted, "You are all White! Go to [expletive]!" Yet, his sensitivities against Black people went so far as to insist that a colleague's passing comment on the astronomical phenomenon of a "black hole" was a racist slur. The White person was soon hounded into an apology. Price went on to add "devil's food cake" and "black sheep of the family" to the lexicon of words White people cannot utter. Price remains a political icon of the city of Dallas, although he is presently under investigation for financial corruption.
An abundance of other Blacks could be cited for trafficking in this privilege: Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Rapper David Banner, etc.
Why White Liberals Push the White Privilege Myth
It might seem intuitive to someone suffering from political naïveté that all White people would like to see the demise of the myth of White Privilege. But that is not the case. Caucasians by the boatload, oodles of them with the whitest of skin, are deeply committed to the perpetuation of this falsehood. Do not forget the primary progenitor of this fallacy was a White lady, Peggy Macintosh. Why? What motivates White liberals to lend their intellectual energy to that which is harmful to themselves and their kinfolk?
One underlying reason is guilt. After half a century of American history being presented with a slant toward making all White people suspect of evil deeds against Black slaves, American Indians, Chinese immigrants, Mexicans, and everybody who wasn't a WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant), many White liberals have a loathing of their own identity that can be purged only through the penance of suffering. Liberals see collective political discrimination of Whites as the means to cleanse our consciences of the alleged wicked deeds of our great-grandparents. We must suffer!
A second reason goes to the heart of the liberal mind. Their philosophical worldview—essentially a Marxist idea—is that moral values are not the primary factor in determining one's success or failure in life. Liberals do not believe that self-control, restraining one's impulses, hard work, diligent study, and honest behavior will make a better life for the individual. They believe that poverty, racism, and class warfare will keep Black people down, no matter how much they improve their own personal moral values and conduct. Liberals believe as a philosophical axiom that personal responsibility cannot improve the circumstances of Blacks. "White racism" or "class warfare" will keep them poor forever unless these are eliminated!
The third reason is purely political and somewhat crass at that. The Democratic Party is mostly comprised of a fragile coalition of three major aggrieved interest groups: feminist women, sexual deviants, and Black people. To get the votes of minority races, especially Blacks, they must maintain the fiction that the Black race is still oppressed and only the Democratic Party can save them. The myth of White privilege is the key to Black loyalty toward the Democratic Party.
Unwilling to acknowledge that God, sin, and personal accountability before one's Creator plays any role in life, liberals are crippled to help themselves, Black people, or anyone for that matter. Until America has a spiritual revival and returns to the God of the Bible and His commandments, the curse of racial tension will only intensify.