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Member since: Thu Jul 24, 2008, 04:59 PM
Number of posts: 5,018

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Not at all...

class privilege trumps all in many cases. Many white males get very little privilege from being white or male depending on location etc. etc.

Class privilege pervades everywhere and has the most real, tangible, and very noticeable privileges.

Saying that being a white male...

is like playing T-ball and insures you'll get on base. That's not true in all situations.

It seems to ignore all the other privileges out there, of which there are many, that can have even greater impacts on a persons life than their race and gender.

I agree with the point that being a white male, all other things being equal, will generally be the race/gender combo to get you the most advantages.

But how much advantage each individual derives from such privileges vary widely, and certainly don't alone insure that you'll do well.
Many white males are disadvantaged in other ways, and telling them they are privileged in this way seems the least effective means of getting them to see their privilege. And not acknowledging that white males can have less privilege in other ways is a great way to not get them to become allies.

The thing is, many white males aren't part of the privileged class. And the sooner they see that, the better. The sooner they understand how privilege works against them, the sooner they'll be willing to admit the privileges they do have afforded to them.

As a white male...

I can tell you it makes some valid points, and some invalid points.

Hardly tackles it perfectly. Seems to do more harm than good really.

It's more complicated than that...

Not all white males are part of the privileged class. There are quite a few minorities and females that are much more part of the privileged class than white males.

And it's incredibly insulting when someone else tells a person how they should feel about their life as a white male. Their feelings take precedence over your assumptions. You assuming their life is sweet only because they are white and a male is pretty staggeringly insulting and ignores the incredibly huge amount of other factors that go into making "life sweet".

No doubt, all other things being equal, being white and male has the most advantages in most situations. Then again, let's drop white males out of it, but leave all other categories in. You'll find that being a white female helps in a lot of ways as well. Or being Asian. Indeed, all classifications have privileges of sorts, some much more than others obviously, and in different ways.

White males who aren't part of the privileged class see it clearly. The issue is that many are brainwashed by the right to blame these disadvantages on the others demanding equality of opportunity. But don't deny them the fact that they are at a disadvantage. They are. Get them to understand what is going on, that's the hard part. And unfortunately, your sort of rhetoric tends to do the opposite.

You ignore so many other factors besides race/gender, like class, that it makes your broad generalizations unconvincing and your assumptions insulting.

My problem with this kind of analysis...

is how overly simplified and broad it usually is, and how it alienates a lot of potential allies.

White males, as a whole, have the most privilege of any racial/sex combo in the US. But that's quite a specific claim. Not to mention, on an individual level, how much that privilege helps a person varies extraordinarily.

For many white males, their privileges they recieve from being white and male are outweighed by many disadvantages of class.

I'm all for making people understand the privileges they have in life. Very few people aknowledge them. But everyone has privileges, and to focus on just "white males" not only alienates such from considering their privileges when they can see many things working against them, but also ignores the many other types of privilege which are incredibly, if not much more relevant and powerful nowadays.

I see far more posts about white male privilege than class privilege, and class privilege has an incredible amount of power in the US, much more so than race or sex does anymore, on a general level.

For example, for the author to say that being a white male automatically makes it like "T-ball" is a staggeringly ignorant quote. The amount of privilege he has to say that is astounding. It's just a different sort of privilege he is unknowingly invoking, and in an article that's supposed to be about privilege at that. This type of argumentation is the worst sort.

The thing is, the article makes relevant points about privilege and especially the right's attitude, it just also makes several horrible points and does so in the worst possible way. If you want to convince white males on the right that people have privileges and to examine them, this is not the way to do it.

It can be a choice...

and it doesn't help when you have political ideologies that promote fear and paranoia as part of their worldview. It makes people much more likely to be fearful and perceive others as potential threats. The whole obsession that many conservatives have with being able to carry guns anywhere, anytime reflects this mindset of fear.

Obviously, if a person is raised to fear and hate black people, how much "choice" they have will be a little more up for grabs I suppose, which is sad in its own way. And society creates perceptions of others in ways individuals cannot control. But if you can at least educate people, you'll give them a chance to make the right choice and confront their prejudices.

There's a reason FDR said the greatest thing we have to fear is fear itself. It can lead to a lot of human misery. And really, living in fear is no way to live. I feel sorry for people, in a way, that have that sort of worldview.

The sad part is...

that the perception of young black males as the "other" continues as long as they continue to be locked up and arrested in disproportionate numbers and shown through numerous other mediums to be dangerous. Nevermind the circumstances that cause this to be the present reality is largely beyond their control. It's a vicious cycle.

I think the perception of young black males is slowly changing, very slowly though. Until many of the gaps between young black males and the rest of society are lessened more and eventually eliminated, negative perceptions will remain.

What's sad is that these gaps haven't closed much at all since the Civil Rights Movement, and in some cases have only grown. History, continued segregation, the War on Drugs, concentrated poverty, etc. have all been working against any gaps being closed, and keep the negative perceptions present, and continue the vicious cycle. It angers me that we haven't been able to get the political will together to address these issues, and what scares me about Republicans is that their policies will only exacerbate these issues, as they live in their fantasy land where "everyone has an equal opportunity" and "anyone can make it in America". With that kind of delusional thinking, it's no wonder many Republicans have very low opinions of young black males.

I wasn't drawing an equivalence...

just explaining the underlying issue of why people prejudge and make decisions based on prejudice.

No "race" has "the problem"...

it's more of a human issue. While your daughter ran into no trouble, quite a few white people have run into trouble in black neighborhoods, or they have heard stories from those that have, or they most certainly have seen nightly news reports/crime shows that all tend to effect how they perceive the world and pre-judge those that live in it. And the statistics don't help either. I go to a college that e-mails reports of crime that happen on campus. The campus is in an urban environment. I've gotten around 20 e-mails so far this year about muggings of students around the campus, and in every single case, the suspects were described as young black males. Gotta wonder how that effects people's perceptions when they're walking to their cars late at night.

I have gotten some trouble for being white in a black neighborhood, but it was few and far between. I have had friends get mugged in a black neighborhood. Now, this is the point where some people will take one of two different approaches to it. One is to overreact to these sorts of things and become very fearful and paranoid and quickly prejudge regardless of context. The other is to understand the context of the situation and learn from it and move on. It's very human for people to categorize danger, and doing it based on not just skin color, but age, dress style, location, time of day, etc. is second nature to everyone, whatever race (or sex) they are.

When I'm walking down the street at night, and some woman is walking alone towards me, I understand that she will likely be apprehensive of me, given the context of the situation.

Of course, this kind of pre-judging comes at a cost, that being that people can indeed be wrong when they pre-judge. Depending on the situation, and the amount of prejudice used without any sort of context, the cost can be very high indeed, as was the case in Florida. And of course, there is a larger societal cost of prejudice, as history bears out as well.

The issue with categorization and prejudice becomes acute when logic is thrown out the window in favor of fear and paranoia. Obviously, experiencing threatening situations directly can make a person throw logic out the window, and this happens. Many times, though, societal percptions aren't shaped by personal experiences but rather by larger societal narratives (provided by media) that in some ways are much worse than personal experience. I have gotten in trouble for being white in a black neighborhood. Once. I've also walked through black neighborhoods many times with no trouble, and even friendly hellos and smiles. I have other experiences to counter that one. Other people who have little to no experience with other communities at all can only rely on what they see in the news. And what they see is usually awfully one sided.

Even worse are those politically inclined to an inherently more fearful and paranoid ideology, one that thrives on it actually, and has radio shows that spout it every day. That makes people draw clear distinctions much quicker and much more radically without context. It's an easy, even attractive mindset, because it allows for quick, clear answers to most situations, even if it means little or no accuracy in how a situation is assessed.

I agree...

and so you can imagine for people who have never experienced much prejudice or bigotry towards them, it can be very hard to see or understand their own prejudices. To them, they are simply basing their beliefs on logic. And they are. It's just poor logic. But there are many types of prejudice, and where it may be easier for someone who experiences racial bigotry to understand racial prejudice in themselves more readily and its bad effects, the same may not transfer to bigotry based on religion or sexual orientation.

That is part of the reason people accused of racism will bring up what Zimmerman's parents did. They'll say they themselves are a minority and therefore cannot be racist, which is simply based on a misunderstanding of definitions and some poor logic, or that they have friends of the same race and therefore cannot be racist. It's a logical idea to a degree, if racism is indeed what was going on.

Truth be told, there was probably more at play in Zimmerman's mind than just "black". How old the teen was and the fact that he was a male played a role as well most likely. They are all sorts of prejudice, some are just not thought of as often as others. And it's quite possible that Zimmerman has black friends but is prejudiced towards blacks he doesn't know given the right circumstances. Which is why the whole "but I have friends" defense is seen as disingenuous.
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