HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » People don't understand t...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 02:19 AM

People don't understand that "white, male privilege" hurts white males too

In some sense, it benefits white males, but because it's a relic of the old guard and the "good old boys club" it's really about a hierarchy of a small number of the privileged running and benefitting from the work of a very large underclass (which includes working class whites and minorities).

I caution my fellow white males to not be threatened by the concept or discussion of "white privilege", because it's not a threat to white, working class males. In fact, it's not a threat to ANY white males, here's why:

EFFORTS to broaden diversity throughout professions, sectors and all parts of society leave only one deciding factor once equality is achieved --MERIT.

Once equality is achieved or as it is neared, a diverse company, a diverse public sector, a diverse university, can only differentiate among people by judging their abilities and their merit.

And in the interim, all the efforts to help women and minorities achieve equality in pay end up helping lower paid white male workers because when you help those in poverty and in the working class move up, you are helping white males in those groups as well, in fact, the very things that keep minorities and women in the underclass keep many, many white males in that underclass too.

As an aside, back when I was in high school, I was a Reagan-loving white male living in a liberal area and in 1988, it looked like Jesse Jackson just might get nominated for the presidency. Some in my family cautioned that he was "just going to help the blacks". I don't remember if I believed them or not, but I did think he was liberal.

But I remember by the time of the convention and hearing his speech (as a Bush supporter then), hearing him speak that I realized that he was speaking to ALL people, ALL Americans and wanted to improve the lot of ALL those who struggled, minorities AND poor whites. And I remember thinking how his vision was dismissed because whites didn't realize, partly due to racism, that he was speaking to them and that they too, were victims of inequality that also harmed blacks and other minorities.

The language is hard, but I can assure you that the feminists in your lives, the advocates for minority civil rights, the advocates for the poor, want to see an America where ALL people, white, black, male, female, live well, are compensated well and have endless opportunities.

Don't be threatened by the language of privilege. It's about making a better society and you, yes, you white males, will benefit from such a society too.

Do you think JFK, FDR, RFK and folks like them were trying to make the United States worse for themselves? Of course not.

13 replies, 1745 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply People don't understand that "white, male privilege" hurts white males too (Original post)
CreekDog Jan 2013 OP
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #1
oldhippydude Jan 2013 #2
CreekDog Jan 2013 #6
patrice Jan 2013 #3
Number23 Jan 2013 #4
CreekDog Jan 2013 #5
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #7
ReRe Jan 2013 #8
CreekDog Jan 2013 #9
LisaLynne Jan 2013 #10
Chathamization Jan 2013 #11
CreekDog Jan 2013 #12
Chathamization Jan 2013 #13

Response to CreekDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 02:26 AM

1. k&r

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CreekDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 02:29 AM

2. anything that can be used as a wedge is by definition devisive...

it separates us... and we are weaker for it..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to oldhippydude (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 02:58 AM

6. that's what I realized, even before I became a liberal

I just remember listening to Jesse Jackson speak in 1988, realizing that he wasn't just about helping minorities, this was about all of us.

I wasn't even a liberal then, not that it matters when you're 17...but anyway, I remember feeling foolish for thinking that his message was just for minorities or blacks, feeling like I'd been deprived of something that was intended for me, by racism --not necessarily my own, but by those who were framing his message and making it sound like it wasn't for me.

I wasn't a liberal then, so philosophically, didn't understand the logic of the policies he was advocating for, but hearing him speak and understanding what a "wedge" issue was, before the term was really used, was the beginning of my own political maturation and transformation.

Jesse Jackson was never a threat to me, even when I was a Republican, after that moment. I understood how a black, civil rights leader was looking out for me, from that moment on and I think it made me more open to other leaders and other ideas that without that speech, the "I understand" speech, I might not have been.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CreekDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 02:29 AM

3. Yes! The ends, "success", do not justify the means, oppression. There's a PRICE for HOW things are

done, even when you benefit otherwise.

I have known a lot of privileged white males and I cannot tell you that they are a happy lot. What they "won" cost them too much, even if they CAN pay all of their bills.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CreekDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 02:41 AM

4. Wow. Beautifully said.

The language is hard, but I can assure you that the feminists in your lives, the advocates for minority civil rights, the advocates for the poor, want to see an America where ALL people, white, black, male, female, live well, are compensated well and have endless opportunities.

Couldn't agree more. And I think this is why so many white people knee jerk when the topic of white privilege even comes up. There is an immense avalanche of guilt that comes with acknowledging that people have benefited, that people have ALWAYS benefited in this country not because of their gifts, their abilities or their work ethic. But primarily because of their appearance, specifically the color of their skin. And it is still very much happening today.

And if you happen to be a member of the group that has had so much given to them and often at the expense of everyone else, that guilt can often turns into denial. As a black woman, I'm not willing to let certain white people's guilt about white privilege keep the topic hidden which doesn't do any damn thing but preserve the status quo. When we can discuss openly how these things have happened, and how they continue to happen, only then can they even come close to getting fixed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Number23 (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 02:48 AM

5. thank you

there is no way to deal with the unfairness of our society --a great deal of it as the legacy of laws and biases that favored wealthy, white and male within society.

it is better, but it is not gone, and not only that, we still fight it's legacy and those who want to return to it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CreekDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 03:58 AM

7. Agreed. K & R.

Kudos for telling it like it is.....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CreekDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 04:04 AM

8. Bravo!

K&R

I too lived in a place that was wickedly against Jesse Jackson. They were so threatened by his candidacy. I couldn't understand it. I loved him! But in the back of my mind, I knew why. I think they somehow carried the guilt of their ancestors, were ingrained with fear that they had been raised with from birth. All so prejudiced. I sort of felt sorry for them in a way...it just seemed like they were trapped in a time-warp and couldn't grow, couldn't escape it. And I'm absolutely sure that is what has happened since PO won the election in 2008. I hope by now they are beginning to see that they have nothing to fear.
Excellent post.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ReRe (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:33 AM

9. i do think guilt and/or fear of those who society has wronged has a lot of consequences

and none of them good.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CreekDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:50 AM

10. Thank you for this wonderful post.

Thank you for taking the time and sharing your experiences.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CreekDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 12:00 PM

11. I don't disagree, but

the problem is the line is often used to push people to make changes to their thinking that are difficult for them without the person doing the pushing being unwilling to make such difficult personal reflections. So you get things like John Scalzi (successful SciFi writer) lambasting those who can not recognize their straight, white male privilege but unwilling to say that his own success was the result of privileges he had that those he criticized did not (whether that was a supportive family, a college education, an income above a certain level, etc.).

We see a similar problem here with the topics about it. I don't see a lot of people willing to admit that the reason they're not xenophobic reactionaries like a lot of the Tea Partiers is because they've had certain privileges in their lives that have allowed them to have a more open mind and open understanding of the world. Again, if we're asking others to be charitable to their fellow humans in ways that are difficult for them, it behooves us to do the same, lest we become hypocrites.

Again, not directed at your post because I agree with it, but I do think if more of the people demanding compassion showed it themselves we would have much more progress.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Chathamization (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 02:42 PM

12. "you didn't build that" is more apt than it sounded when it was said

in all our lives, we have to admit that the things we have would not be possible but for things other people, often unknown to us and too numerous to know or mention, did for us.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to CreekDog (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 04:49 PM

13. Pretty much

And since most people get defensive when they hear that, I've found that it's often useful to first offer up examples of ways that I've been personally lucky. As you said, letting go of our pride and ego isn't just for the benefit of others. At least in my experience, it makes us much happier individuals.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread