Playing the Indian Card

Saturday, January 28, 2017

White Male Privilege

Let’s talk about white male privilege. We all know its an awful thing, but there is a question that obviously needs to be asked. Where does it come from? Who, exactly, is privileging white males?

It's not blacks, is it? It’s not people of colour. That seems unlikely. In fact, didn’t blacks vote for Obama, himself black, in unprecedented numbers—93% in 2012, 95% in 2008? Don’t they tend to call other blacks “brothers”? Doesn’t this imply that they are favouring other blacks?

Suppose they really are privileging whites. Then they need to be alerted. There is no need to tell white males to “check your privilege.” Wrong audience.

Is it women who are privileging white males? Like blacks, feminist women who endorse the idea of male privilege, tend to address one another as “sister,” and speak of solidarity. They call women who did not vote for Hillary Clinton “traitors.”

So, is the concept of white male privilege merely a complaint that white males prefer and favour other white males—in the same way blacks are urged to favour other blacks, and women other women?

Granted that this is a bad thing, how can it be only bad if white males do it, but righteous if anyone else does it?

Is it because white males are powerful, and these other groups are not? But that seems tautological: how then did white males become “powerful”? If it was, in turn, because they were “privileged” by someone, who privileged them? And if this prior group had the power to “privilege” someone, where did that come from? Infinite regression? 

But if they once were not powerful, and became so by the systematic privileging of one another, isn't that just what blacks and women are calling on each other to do? 

So why shouldn't the white males do the same?

You might say it is because white men are a majority. Others mentioned are “visible minorities.”

Except they are not. Women are an absolute majority. White males make up about 30% of the US population. If this is the determining factor, the problem to address is female privilege, not white male privilege.

I think it is true that white males have, historically, done well. Science, liberal democracy, material progress, literature, the arts, that sort of thing. But is that “privilege”?

Or envy?

Isn’t the problem the same the issue of Jewish “privilege” in Germany? Why is it that Jews seem to run all the big stores, dominate the banks, the professions and universities, seem so often rich?

They have obviously been privileged. Perhaps by the Nazi government?

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