White Privilege: Another Liberal Distraction

Recently I authored a piece in American Thinker titled "The 'white experience' and me.”  The response was overwhelming and almost all positive.  Two emails spoke about "White Privilege," which wasn't discussed in the article.  The first email requested that I give the subject some thought before responding and not give a 'knee jerk' reaction.  Both emails referenced the article "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh, published in 1988.   I had heard this article was the beginning of the term white privilege but had never read it.  Over the next few days I read, reread and reread the article.  My opinion and my response?  What a load of horse pucky!

Here are a few of my favorites from the list of the “daily effects of white privilege” (not in any particular order) that I am guaranteed, but black people are not:

"I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time."

Who can't? I'm privileged because I can spend time in a predominately white group?  Can't blacks spend time in a predominately black group if they want?

"I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented." 

Sorry, don't see any white privilege there.  Could it be as simple as the fact that black people make up only about 14% of the population?  And, could a white person open the pages of Ebony magazine or turn on BET and see people of their race widely represented?

"When I am told about our national heritage or about ‘civilization,’ I am shown that people of my color made it what it is." 

No, I was taught about contributions made to civilization by many groups, but I don't remember anybody making mention of what race or color they were.  Not one single time.  If I was shown pictures of these people I don't remember thinking "great, another white person, score one for our team."  Aren't two of the three Wise Men depicted as black?

 Now for two of the silliest:

"I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race." 

This is too ridiculous to even comment about.

"I can chose blemish cover or bandages in ‘flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.’ 

Good for her.  I'm so pale those “flesh” color bandages stick out like crazy. Personally, I prefer the ones with smiley faces and other absurd things on them.

 Granted, this article was published in 1988 but to hear the ranting today, one would think nothing has changed.  Although, even in 1988 I would have found this article ridiculous.

At the bottom of the article was this: 

"It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already."

So, not only am I privileged, I'm totally oblivious to the fact.

Three years ago I guest spoke to a senior high school anatomy class at Central High School in Philadelphia.  Central High School is where the best and the brightest of Philadelphia's children go to High School.  When I lived in Philly it was called 'Boys High' and because of my sex I was ineligible to attend.  (No white privilege there.)  Now it's co-ed.  Central exists in an incredibly old run-down building in a poor section of Philadelphia.  It's looked the same since I was a kid and I'm 70.  None of the money poured into the educational system in Philly seems to have made its way to Central in either fixing up the facility or in educational materials.  Textbooks were years old and falling apart.

According to a teacher there, Central's demographics:

- roughly 33% white privileged
- roughly 30% Asian
- about 25% black
- about 12% Hispanic/Latino
About 62 different nationalities are represented at the school. But these demographics do not match the city as a whole.

Because of my limitations, the class was broken down into sections.  The teacher, my friend, Mr. Brian Howland, first asked me questions about my stroke and where, anatomically in my brain the injury was.  He then questioned me about the problems the stroke had caused.  (It was, after all, an anatomy class).  Then he moved on to my nursing career -- why had I chosen nursing, where did I go to school and some general questions about my experience. 

The last portion was question and answer -- and did they have questions!  Not only about my stroke, but about other medical professions and for advice on how to achieve their goals without incurring huge debt.

At the end of the class, without exception, every one of those students came to the front of the room to thank me for sharing my experience and knowledge with them.  There were even hugs and kisses.  Okay, I'm white and that day I was extremely privileged.

So, there's my response.  If your policies are failing, try to shift the blame.  The problems in many inner cities couldn't be the fault of failed policies could they?  Stating that would lose a huge voting liberal voting bloc.  Blame instead every white person in the country, say we are all privileged and then say we should have a conversation about race relations. 

Claire Hawks is a gray-haired granny, an average American, and retired from both her RN and IT positions. She doesn't blog but can be reached at chawks60@comcast.net.