I Love My White Male Privilege

A friend and favorite debate partner of mine sent me this video about a man who sarcastically claims to love his white male privilege while pointing out all the ways he is “disadvantaged” by being a white male. Of course he doesn’t examine any ways which he is privileged to be a white male to see if the net value of being a white male is a positive or a negative, but perhaps that is an activity for another time.

Anyways there is plenty to unpack when discussing privilege, but here is my quick take on the video.

For about the first third of the video, just because other cultures also participated in the slave trade, and may have committed “greater” atrocities, however we want to define that, doesn’t let America off of the hook for the atrocities it has committed, especially as a country who purports itself as a free society.

White men died to end slavery, but only because other white men were dying to keep slavery… Kind of cancels each other out.

His statistics on how few white people owned slaves doesn’t get at the fact that even if you were a poor white person, you were still of a higher status than a freed black person, let alone a slave, and the prejudice carried over into the 1950s and to some extent, to today.

28 percent of freed blacks owned slaves. So that’s like what 5…? 5 black people owned slaves. Percentages are great, but there is a huge number disparity here that isn’t addressed.

“Collectively blamed whenever a lunatic goes on a rampage sharing my skin color” This is kind of a fuzzy area for me. After the Charleston shooting liberal outlets were like “white people should condemn this shooting” but that in itself was commentary on how Muslims are constantly being called out to condemn shootings carried out by Muslims, and white people never are. Well white people didn’t like being called out like that but instead of taking the high road and learning not to paint with a broad brush, now they feel they have a license to keep doing it. So now we are in this awkward “You should condemn!” “No! You should condemn!” “No! You should condemn!” shouting match.

The rape culture statistics are not “made up” the issue is the stats are 1 in 5 women report being sexually assaulted, that somehow got turned into 1 in 5 women are raped. Sexual assault includes rape, but also includes so-called “lesser crimes” like groping or harassment. Rape culture itself isn’t just about how many women are raped, but the normalizing of sexual assault behavior (think about any romcom where the male protagonist engages in behavior that in the real world would be considered stalking or harassment, but is cute and endearing in the movie) or our tendency to blame the victim for drinking, or wearing certain clothes, or leading men on or whatever, but that is a different conversation

He complains about men account for 99.9 percent of combat deaths, ignores the fact that men are fighting (to this day) to keep combat jobs closed to women…

I would like to see more men awarded custody of their children.

Men receiving tougher prison sentences than women for the same crime (double according to him). According to the ACLU prison sentences for blacks are 20 percent longer than for whites. And I can take that all the way back to kindergarten where black children are disciplined more severely than white children for similar offenses and with the addition of resource officers these students are introduced to the criminal justice system much earlier for things that used to be normal school issues, and that’s called institutional racism and the school to prison pipeline. https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/141027_iachr_racial_disparities_aclu_submission_0.pdf

At one point he says “I love how my white male privilege allows me to be judged collectively while I’m being called a racist for judging people collectively” Here he is assuming that people who are engaged in thinking and conversations on privilege are judging all white people, that isn’t the case, and he would know that if he actually jumped in and examined the thinking on privilege. Acknowledging one’s privilege isn’t about wallowing in guilt, that doesn’t help anybody, and if you are going to feel guilty about anything, don’t feel guilty about slavery, feel guilty about the inequality in our education system now, feel guilty about the inequality in our criminal justice system now, that’s what you should feel guilty about. But again, don’t feel guilty, that doesn’t help anybody, do something about it. Even acknowledging it exists is a great place to start.

We generalize, we say White people do this, Muslims do that, Black people are this, Christians are that Men are like this, and Women are like that. When we (as a human race) do this we ignore the areas where those things intersect, and we ignore the vast “in-group” differences that are present (Appalachian Pentecostal snake handlers anyone?). Everybody generalizes and then everybody complains that the other side is generalizing them, it’s like we never learn. Unfortunately I don’t know if the solution is to not take generalizations less personally, to try to eradicate generalization, or just admit everybody generalizes.

My question at the end of all of this is, if he feels like, when he criticizes the violent aspects of Islam, that he is not criticizing all Muslims. Why does he feel, when people criticize the aspects of our society that give unfair advantages to white males, that they are criticizing all white males?