"White Privilege"

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"White Privilege"

Post by Aelred on Thu May 01, 2014 5:46 am

I'd like to get your thoughts on white privilege, a topic that seems to be the new fashionable idea amongst the left (well the cosmopolitan left at least) these days. Do you believe white privilege actually exists? What are your thoughts on people advocating the idea?

Me personally, I don't buy into it and I never have. I believe the whole idea of white privilege is rather classist. For example, it basically says that a black, upper class female can silence the white working-class male and tell him to "check his privilege" simply because he is white, despite the fact the black woman has had more life privileges. It ignores the person behind the skin color; we are once again defined by our race not the merit of our arguments, actions or positions. To me it's just another attempt by the establishment at pitting sections of the working-class against each other.
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Re: "White Privilege"

Post by Celtiberian on Thu May 01, 2014 3:13 pm

White privilege exists, but in a far more limited sense than the cosmopolitan left believes. Proponents of this concept often argue that contemporary capitalism is characterized by "structural racism," which is a sociological model which posits that the racial achievement gap is the result of minority groups being systematically excluded from empowering domains in order for the social hierarchy to remain firmly dominated by Caucasians. Thus, even if individual whites refrain from overt displays of racism, they are nevertheless benefiting from a social structure rooted in white supremacy. The socialists who adhere to this puerile nonsense additionally believe that capitalism fundamentally requires racism, because race hatred is allegedly an obstacle to the formation of class consciousness.

(Walter Benn Michaels addresses the myriad ways the structural racism hypothesis is flawed in The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Diversity and Ignore Inequality (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007), so we needn't delve into that here.)

The instances when Caucasians benefit by virtue of their race alone is in competitive contexts, when race is utilized as a heuristic by managers and landlords. So, for example, white individuals sometimes receive jobs and housing over more qualified black applicants because employers and rentiers often cannot investigate the background of each applicant thoroughly enough to arrive at truly meritocratic decisions, and therefore use race as a barometer of consideration. And since black people have a higher incarceration rate and, on average, shirk more on the job, individual blacks who don't behave in such a manner still suffer discrimination as consequence. Note, however, that this process isn't consistently beneficial to Caucasians, for there are plenty of cases of Asians benefiting over Caucasians due to having a reputation of greater docility and a superior work ethic.

As for the racial achievement gap, the history of slavery and Jim Crow placed African Americans in a position of competitive disadvantage due to the poorer environments they develop(ed) in.

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Re: "White Privilege"

Post by cogarian888 on Tue May 06, 2014 8:28 pm

I've rarely seen a coherent proposal as to what actually constitutes White Privilege. A lot of it is unfalsifiable nonsense, and based on the idea that the fact that Whites hold more power is prima facie evidence that there must be some underlying discrimination happening, because they never consider the possibility that the races differ in traits relevant to gaining power in a Capitalist society.

The fact that Asians by and large can succeed (in fact, on several measures, they beat out Whites!) in White societies is evidence that there is little discrimination on the basis of race which is holding back non-Whites. In fact, Capitalism is best served by race blindness, since this advances capital accumulation. The races just aren't equal in their ability to facilitate capital accumulation, thus Whites and Asians occupy a higher social position than non-Whites. It follows that, if "anti-racists" want to actually make the races socially equal, they need to abolish Capitalism and the idea of "merit." This is something I support.

Since the races differ in fundamental traits like intelligence, the race which builds a society will always be in some way "privileged" in the context of its own society and culture. To the extent that White Privilege exists in the West, it is due to the fact that the society is built for people of European decent. People who have traits similar to Europeans, such as the Japanese, can succeed in these societies, but they have their own set of problems. This is why, I believe, it is necessary that each race has a homeland in which the system is geared towards their own traits, ideals, etc. Interaction is inevitable, and probably a good thing, but that doesn't mean that all societies should be turned into heterogeneous ones; in fact, the only way to preserve diversity is by having homogeneous societies alongside heterogeneous societies.

Capitalism reduces people to interchangable objects, and therefore has a complete disregard for the differences between people, and in the pursuit of capital accumulation promotes a monoculture of consumption. See Bryan Caplan's arguments for open borders: it will double world GDP, so let's ignore all of its social and cultural effects because those don't even matter! Hell, I don't even like it when people have strong social bonds!

Capitalism has taken on an explicitly "anti-racist" character to advance capital accumulation, while it has had a racist character in the past to justify colonialism and divide workers. Capital accumulation comes first, everything else comes second. The idea that the Capitalist system is "systemically racist" today is nonsense. If anything, it's systemically "anti-racist."
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Re: "White Privilege"

Post by Scarlet-Left on Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:24 pm

Privilege theory, to me, feels like a personal attack upon the white working class. It is almost always coupled with soft-left liberal politics, which further contributes to my assessment of it as such. Policies like affirmative action, a logical consequence of privilege theory, only affect the lives of working class whites, who suffer the same levels of deprivation as their black counterparts.

Essentially, taken to its logical end-point, it seeks to racially diversify the bourgeois and racially homogenise the proletariat (as a white class). It just seems, inherently, racist. It seeks to suppress white ethnic identity but galvanise the expression of non-white identities. If you've seen any of these white privilege conferences; it's a lot of middle-class white academics, guilty about their economic advantages but too contemptuous of the white working class to advocate socialism, preaching something akin to an anti-American conspiracy ideology.

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Re: "White Privilege"

Post by Social Corporatist on Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:31 pm

The only privilege that exists is class privilege... "White people" is an American designation for some western Europeans, which later expanded to include everyone of European descent. There's no way that this is an actual thing on a nation-wide scale.

It's the equivalent of a neo-Nazi blaming "the Jews" for political crises, or a radical feminist blaming Patriarchy / Men for all female problems.
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Re: "White Privilege"

Post by Scarlet-Left on Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:31 pm

Social Corporatist wrote:It's the equivalent of a neo-Nazi blaming "the Jews" for political crises, or a radical feminist blaming Patriarchy / Men for all female problems.

This is a really good summation. Privilege theory is actually an ultra-racist ideology when you get right down to it; its agenda is to stir up race hatred amongst ethnic minorities. This is clear by the fact that it continues to depict the American government (which fought a civil war to end race-based slavery, forced the racial integration of schools at gunpoint and now explicitly discriminates in favour of ethnic minorities in education) as racist.

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