I understand entirely why white people don’t believe white privilege exists. As usual, when the term ‘white people’ is used it does not apply to ‘all’ white people. Several actually do acknowledge this reality, while many others refuse to. But I fully understand. I want to dive into a few of those reasons – but will lead off with the big one. White people do not want to believe in white privilege because it invalidates their success. It invalidates their hard work – as many actually DO work hard to get what they’ve received in life.
As I say ‘received’ in life, many white people would prefer … ‘earned’ in life.
However was it earned merely through hard work?
While in a brief conversation on twitter, about Dr. Oz this topic came up. Apparently during this coronavirus covid19 moment we are living through, working to survive, Dr. Oz is giving ‘advice’ on Fox News. Dr. Oz, has been proven over the years to be a person who simply ‘plays a doctor’ on television. He’s not a real doctor, and most of the advice he gives is not official. Yet – people are still turning to him. In fact this very question was posed by a white guy; and I answered by saying ‘white privilege goes a long way’.
Naturally, what tends to happen is white people reject this notion. The person responded with yea that ‘could‘ be it. Then they went on to mention Michael Jackson’s doctor; having killed only one person, and losing his license immediately. I had to respond and ‘add’ that this doctor Also went to prison. Yet, to him the ‘real’ reason people still listen to Dr. Oz, is that he’s positioned as an expert by television media. Many people still trust what’s on tv.
It was a sensible argument. However, the ‘could be’ remark, totally dismissed white privilege as the ‘real reason’.
Again I entirely understand this.
For a white person to ‘agree’ to this means that any success they have in life ‘could also be’ a result of being white. Instead, they want to believe the hard work they put in, the early hours and late nights are the real reason they are winning. The reality is we do live in a society with ‘gatekeepers’, who mostly are white. Several white people actually do put in a lot of hard work to get where they are. However, a black person can put in early hours and late nights, and still ‘not’ get the rewards that a white person gets. Not to oversimplify things here – or say a black person won’t get ‘rewarded for hard work’ – several do! The same system does not allow those black people the ‘leeway’ to make the amount of mistakes a white person can make – and still hold onto that position.
This is an unfortunate aspect of our society.
Many whites are more privileged than blacks. It’s statistical facts. This privilege exists! Centuries of history goes into explaining it too.
We can examine wealth gaps and average income charts – it’s all there in … black and white. White people have advantages from birth, while many blacks spend most of their lives overcoming the disadvantages…. of being black in a white society. Such as overcoming poverty, and environments filled with ignorance. That ignorance fostered by a system that creates inequality everywhere, especially in the educational departments. For many black people are still, in 2020 getting the ‘bottom’ and the ‘left overs’, the ‘hand me downs’, just as our ancestors did during slavery (when it came to food).
Mentally, I can imagine how it must feel to be white.
To wake up every day and be told by everyone around you that black people are just lazy, and filled with excuses. You’ve worked hard and so have your parents, grandparents too. Many, are flat our lied to about their own history – having no discussions of the slaves that were owned. Rarely do they sit around holding discussions about how they come from people, who oppressed others to get ahead. Lies passed down like heirlooms; through so many mediums to back up what they are ‘told’.
This includes, Presidents Day, Independence Day, and several holidays which celebrate the ‘founding fathers of America’. We as a nation continue to ‘honor’ white men, and white women, as great people – when actually they were evil beasts! How can any of us reason that General Robert E. Lee was a good person? Yet, we see this with several schools in the south, that carry his name. Confederate monuments still standing – sending a message to whites, especially those in the south, that their ‘heritage’ is something grand, and worthy of honoring. When it’s absolutely not.
We often speak of how silly it would be for Jews to honor Nazis, and yet, we do that very thing in America. As Nazi’s drew most of their racist ideology and inspiration, from the American KKK. (birthed by confederates)
In other words, the ‘backstory’ that most white people come to learn about themselves, is not filled with truth.
This makes ‘truth‘ difficult for many white people to accept. Like with anything really – again, we are now facing a global pandemic and people in general, from all races and all walks of life are in complete denial. This denial is costing lives – as many are having difficulty grasping that we do need to stay home, stay away from others – that this is bigger than the flu – and is something like nothing we’ve seen ‘before’ (a common misconception..)
When you consider these factors – it’s understandable why white people don’t believe white privilege exists. If a lie is fed to you (or me) as truth, the truth can seem like a lie.
Queue the entire Matrix Trilogy …
In the first one, Morpheus says to Neo … “we never free a mind once it reaches a certain age. The mind has trouble letting go.”
Before this, Neo said … ” I Can’t go back, can I?” – only for Morpheus to respond with “no, but if you could, would you really want to?”
Let’s explain why this matters. Similar to what Morphues says in the clip here, ‘as long as the Matrix exist, the human race will never be free’ — white privilege IS the matrix. It is the very ‘system of control’ that spells out most of our lives. It’s a ‘version of truth’ that is … not absolute. It’s relative truth … Truth is the human race comes in many shades, and colors; We are all the same – but white privilege seeks to set ‘some of us’ above others. This … by default .. enslaves all of us in the human race.
We will never be free as long as this system of doing things exists.
So while I understand why white people don’t believe white privilege exists, the sooner we wake white people up to this reality, the better chance we all have – including white people – to be free. Truly free. There is so much we all could accomplish if we were more loving towards one another. What stops us, is the hate, built upon the lies, that we are all different. That some people just work harder than others. Ours is a system that says ‘some’ people are more deserving of opportunity than others.
The Olympics this year will be postponed, however it’s important to note that Ryan Lochte, who destroyed property at the last Olympics in Brazil, qualified for the swim team again. Speaking to the unlimited ‘chances’ that white people get regardless of how often they mess up. Had Ryan been a black man, Brazil may have locked him up to this day. He could definitely forget about going ‘back’ to another Olympic games.
Similar to ‘fights’ in the NHL vs. the NBA – how ‘perceptions’ are entirely different. The sport predominately filled with white athletes, allows fighting – it’s part of the game; emotions are allowed. Yet in the NBA, a sport that is predominantly black, these emotions are taxed, with technical fouls and expensive fines. Even in the NFL, we have seen how much the Quarterbacks are protected more than other positions. This too, happens because ‘most’ starting quarterbacks, are still, mostly white.
These built in ‘systems upon systems’, including perceptions and belief systems all help to ‘mask’ what many of us know is there.
Yet, if you are white, why would you really want equality? Who wouldn’t want an advantage in life? No rich person, born into wealth would choose instead to be born into poverty. Still, by not acknowledging the realities of inequality, we have built a society that was NOT PREPARED for a Pandemic. Our system of inequality is being exposed like never before right now …
White privilege exists and yet, if we won’t recognize the downfall of this system, our entire system will fall down.
- Read a Previous Discussion on White Privilege and White people’s Beliefs about it
- Dick Gregory tackles the “Black on black Crime” false narrative – another system of control
… closing out with a quote & a couple clips from one of my favorite films, Cloud Atlas.
“Our lives are not our own; from womb to tomb we are bound to others. Past and Present. Through each crime and every kindness we birth our future… “