The Problem With “White Privilege”
December 14, 2019
I was out and about today and couldn’t help but notice at nearly every major intersection was a person holding a handmade sign seeking money from those driving through.
These were all white people. No blacks, Hispanics, Asians or any other minority I could discern. They varied in age from what I would guess was 20 to well over 60. At least 2 of the more than 12 people I saw were women.
We’re not talking Los Angeles, San Francisco, or northeast Washington DC here. This all occurred in a suburb of Hartford Connecticut, not exactly the Appalachia of Central Connecticut.
So it struck me as odd when, later, I stumbled across all the blips from people online condemning white privilege, suggesting white people should be punished for being white.
Let me say I’m no fan of all whiteness — white supremacy, white nationalism, and white whatever. In my judgment it’s idiocy to suggest you can build a strong and vibrant country – or any other kind of country you’d actually want to live in – based on people’s DNA, skin color, or cultural heritage. That’s plainly asinine.
And, yes, America has been guilty of some truly horrific racism – from slavery to Jim Crow and beyond.
Still, it seems to me counterproductive to blame all our problems on white people – as though whites are secretly rooting for systemic racism to keep everyone else down. It’s not true and it’s counterproductive to finding and solving the real causes of poverty and inequality in our country.
White privilege looks to me like something made by academics and liberals to further divide our country. Blacks against whites. Rich against poor. Highly educated against the less educated. President Obama was a master at using the idea of privilege to justify an entire political philosophy based on victimization.
The current fad in academia of course is the idea that America was founded on racism, and all our institutions, culture, and customs are defined and permeated by that racism. They’re fond of saying our country didn’t begin with the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights, it started when the first black slave was brought to the colonies against his will in 1619. While they’d admit that while things seem to have changed; in the deep recesses of white hearts, they’ve really stayed the same.
We see the natural result of such thinking on college campuses where liberal professors teach that white privilege is the root of all evil; where clubs and study groups ban white students; where whites are barred from certain dormitories. It’s curious to me what it says about the administrations who run these colleges – white and minority both.
If they believe that white students are inferior because whiteness itself confers certain oppressive attitudes that cannot or will not be suppressed, then, at the very least, they claim a certain superiority. And what do you call it when one race claims they’re superior to another? How can such views of superiority based on skin color be anything other than racist?
If rather than superiority, they felt fear, they might have a point. And it’s only been 7 decades or so since members of the KKK roamed the streets, lynched minorities, or forced blacks to the back of the bus or into segregated sections of restaurants. Those were shameful times. But Americans eventually united under the brave leadership of people like Martin Luther King to stop that kind of insanity.
But just when we thought we’d put that kind of racism behind us so we could start solving the problems it had caused, Barack Obama and others came along and set us back decades. Some, like Obama, use race to advance their own political power. For others, like the Reverend Al Sharpton, power isn’t the only thing they want; they also want money. Al Sharpton has become rich and powerful by hanging the threat of racist allegations over the heads of corporate and political leaders.
For people like Obama and Sharpton, the goal is not to unite; the goal is to divide, polarize, and stir up hatred and fear.
These people never offer solutions, only complaint. They rail against white privilege and demand higher taxes, bigger government, and more regulation. But they never explain exactly what white privilege is or how their proposals will reduce the privilege they rant about.
Sure, there are more white millionaires than black, but is that because of the color of their skin? I suspect it is not. And yes, blacks tend to get pulled over more than whites and that is wrong, wrong, wrong! But is that because police are fundamentally racist?
Blacks very often don’t have the opportunity to send their children to good schools because the public schools where they live don’t work. But rather than allowing families in those areas to choose their own schools, the liberals who rant about white privilege want to ban charter schools and deny families school choice. Why? Because the teacher unions who are often the reason for poor school performance in the first place don’t want competition from charters. So where does white privilege stop, and the ability of others to become privileged begin? Apparently not anywhere near teacher unions.
The same can be said for liberal policies that hurt family formation, damage job creation, over-regulate the labor force, and discourage employers from hiring the young and unskilled. Arguably it’s more these policies that have hurt minorities than it is some secret scheme by whites to keep everyone else down
White privilege is a left wing scam to divide our country and gain political power. Don’t buy it.
We need to focus on solving the real causes of disadvantage in America, but if the problem is defined as white privilege that won’t happen. Blame casting and finger pointing don’t solve problems; they only make them worse.
John Philip Sousa IV is an entrepreneur, political activist, author and accomplished business person. John has worked in the financial services industry for over 40 years, built a highly successful marketing company, ran for congress at age 24, and in 2016 created and led the successful movement to draft Dr Ben Carson into his candidacy for President of the United States. John is author of John Philip Sousa, A Patriot’s Life in Words and Pictures and Ben Carson, RX for America.