thoughts on the election and white privilege

This summer at KSI we spent a lot of time talking about diversity including a very long and good session on white privilege. I think I’ve been aware of wp but don’t often take the time to see through the reverse lens. I thank my colleague from KSI who posted this on his Facebook page. It really opened my eyes to the inequities being demonstrated and accepted by our society in this election cycle. I’m more convicted now that before that Barack Obama is the right man for the job.

**Please note this does contain some profanity. It’s origination is from SNCC listserv to which I assume my colleague subscribes**

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, 
or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help. 

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters 
of social decay. 

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ 
 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) 
 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 the first
 place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town
 smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island
 of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and 
 don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black 
 Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, 
 means you’re “untested.”

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, 
 pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t
 added until the 1950s–while believing that reading accused 
 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.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make
 people immediately scared of you. 

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member 
 an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the
 Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and 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 make fun of community 
 organizers and
 the work they do–like, among other things, fight for the right 
 of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end
 to child labor–and people think you’re being pithy and tough, 
 but if
 you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month
 governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she 
took in college–you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist. 

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 fire people who didn’t support your
 political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being
 a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in
 Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose
 pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely 
 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
 churchgoing 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 
 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 being able to claim your experience as a POW 
has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being
 black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a light” burden. 

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. 
 increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, its just too
 vague and ill defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, 
, which is very concrete and certain. White privilege is, in short, the problem.

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