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View Diary: An Open Letter to all the White Antiracist Activists (239 comments)

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  •  Talking about white privilege (92+ / 0-)

    is not white bashing from my perspective.

    It is the truth. The question is what do we do with that truth? I do not have an answer. I try however to examine my unconscious or accidental racism and internally challenge myself. I am pretty sure I fail on a regular basis.

    •  I think part of the (14+ / 0-)

      negative reaction stems from a common thread I see in many issues.  

      Ever notice how when some group is getting something the "have nots" tend to want to take it away.  And those "have nots" are typically conservative. For example, much ado has gone on in my area regarding several things around teacher compensation.  The conservatives (of which there are quite a few) think the teachers are greatly overpaid, should not have better health insurance than them and should not have pensions.  A main driver of this is because those people don't have those things themselves.  Or in a number of the cases they do have it but feel that they somehow earn the goodies whereas the teachers do not.  

      I've stated a number of times re: pensions - well we should all have pensions - they have been shown to be more cost effective and better for people in the long run.  But this doesn't put a dent in the "if I don't have it no one should."  

      So perhaps, if that is a prevalent mentality, I would think that if anyone mentions that this kind of person possesses an advantage that others do not, that person would immediately assume that folks want to take it away from them.  The idea that others should be afforded the same things that some of us take for granted does not cross their minds.  Only that you want to take something away rather than also give it to others.

      I don't know if that makes sense.  But it just seems to me that it might play a part in the overall mentality.

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 07:12:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're so right on this, Newfie. I see that (8+ / 0-)

        attitude a lot in newspaper comments whenever the teachers' contract comes up for renewal. People write things like "Why should they get X raise. In the real world, in this economy, taxpayers aren't getting raises." They never stop to think that they're asking the wrong questions. They should be questioning why they aren't getting better benefits and regular wage increases. They're enablers of the rich and greedy who view unions as evil while bemoaning how underpaid/overworked they are, never realizing that it's because they bought into the bs, anti-union meme sometime over the last 30 years.

        And don't dare point that out to them -- the vitriol is astounding.

      •  IMO you're correct as far as you go but (5+ / 0-)

        your analysis misses the crucial factor(s).

        Lower-SES people of whatever color or ethnicity are largely undereducated but most assuredly not stupid. They're "canny"--their brain power is focused on getting the necessities of life & then if possible getting a little bit ahead.

        What they see when they look at the world is a zero-sum game: Anything they want for themselves they have to take away from someone else. There's only so much to go around.

        And the reason there's only so much to go around is that the people who run the world--the 1%--will only allow the rest of us so much, after they've taken what they want.

        So when an historically underserved population (HUP) insists on its proper share of things, the historically advantaged population (HOP) is absolutely sure of where that increased share is coming from: Its own pockets & prospects. None of it will cost the 1% a cent.

        Worse than that: The 1%ers who champion the HUPs--the hifalutin' politicians & lawyers & activists--will take their cut as well in the process.

        It was bad enough for the HOPs post-WW2, when (after a generation of staring privation & then global war in the face) even those lacking book-smarts could find well-paying jobs & could finally, finally hope to fashion a comfortable life--only to have the HUPs rise up & insist on their fair share. And when Europe and Japan recovered & US manufacturing started to feel the competition ramp up in the late 60s...

        (One of my earliest memories of divide-$-rule ratfucking is when the Nixon administration decreed that all construction companies with Federal contracts had to hire blacks into apprenticeship programs--while cutting the construction budget to practically force reductions in the white workforce.)

        So what do you do if you see your chances for a livable future being taken away from you? You could identify with your overlords & serve them & hope for first crack at the crumbs from their dinner table. You could withdraw into apathy & struggle daily to keep body & soul together & live hunkered down in the tall weeds hoping no one more powerful than you decides to come after your job or house or pension. You could put your faith in a Higher Power that will get you justice in the next world & bring you some sort of consolation via community (or shared delusion) in this one. You could play MegaMillions and Powerball.

        Or you could (re)connect with a tribe & go to war against anything & everything that stands in the way of the tribe grabbing everything it can while hoping to share in the spoils. You can convince yourself that you (& the rest of your tribe) deserve whatever they can grab & tell yourself that its enemies deserve nothing because they are bad &/or evil people. You ignore evidence to the contrary & if necessary you make shit up to reinforce your absolute belief in their basic evil nature, because they are in the way.

        And you don't ever think about the ones that run the planet & decide how much your tribe and the others get to fight over. Not so long as there's a chance you can grab enough. Because if you start to challenge your Cosmic Overlords they will squash you like a cockroach--& if for some reason they can't rid the house of the infestation, they will simply build another, move all the good stuff there & burn the old place to the ground.

        --Sorry for being so longwinded. The bottom line is that until & unless someone can make a persuasive argument-- not just that things don't have to be this way but there is a credible path to change them, a way to convince (or compel) those overlords to rebalance the distribution of wealth--those at the bottom will continue to grab for whatever privilege or profit they can take from those no different from them except that they belong to a different tribe--& never question the ones who decide what scraps stay up for grabs.


        by Uncle Cosmo on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 12:02:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  White privilege is real. (6+ / 0-)

      To deny that white people can go about life without worrying about one-fifth of the shit people of color have to go through every day is to deny reality.

      We all fail.  I have failed, too.  But to engage in introspection is the first step.

      Full disclosure:  Totally white, totally male.  My experience is wholly different from that of people of color.

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