The pernicious idea of white privilege

An elite school in New York City has a diversity program that teaches white children, as young as six, about their inherent racism rooted in inordinate “privilege.”  They are told this stems from their European heritage and is a corruption of their moral worth.  The Diversity Program seeks to rectify the distortions imposed by “whiteness” about what is “good,” “normal,” and “American.”

Privilege is an interesting word, given how it has been used in the past.  The forerunner of the German Workers Party, the Thule Society, used it to delegitimize the success and influence of Jews post-World War 1 Germany.  It argued that Jewish privilege blocked the poorer German working class.

Being Jewish, or now being white, was and is being offered as a mark of advantage and immunity.  If that word is allowed to take hold again, the American conversation about racism and equal opportunity will forever change.

In the 20th-century United States, laws that were attentive to race amended the goal of equality of opportunity.  Affirmative action, even acknowledging the debate it fosters, bestows advantage for being a minority – i.e., to be selected by using race not as a neutral factor, but as a positive weight on the balance.  It affirms one race but does not openly undermine another.

It has been reported that children at the Banks School come home distraught at having been told they were “bad people.”  This works both ways, for black children will also come to believe that whites are “born bad” and pave the way for negative opinions and acts that will feel justified.

Long before the concentration camps, "privilege" allowed Jewish academics to be fired, Jewish apartments to be confiscated, and Jewish shops to be boycotted, and all replaced by non-Jews.  With one social shift in belief, the unjust becomes just, and social conscience goes to sleep.

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