My Beautiful Wickedness

For those who doubt the existence of “White Privilege”
September 19, 2008, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here’s an insightful piece written by Tim Wise:

**This is Your Nation on White Privilege**

By Tim Wise


For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege,
or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand
examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like
Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and
that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a
right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has
challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar
“challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible,
pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’
redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about
how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,”
and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still
be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great
son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges
in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically
failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework
at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence
or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did
this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone
who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town
smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a
state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of
the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be
president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with
laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state
Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words
“under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good
enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and
not be immediately disqualified from holding office–since,
after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the
“under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s–while believing
that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights
(because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at
a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly
idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not
make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member
of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede
from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one
questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if
you’re black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11
memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of
school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community
organizers and the work they do–like, among other things, fight
for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the
8-hour workday, or an end to child labor–and people think
you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the
experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no
foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in
college–you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t
even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and
your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence
on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women,
and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support
your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your
power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism,
while being black and merely knowing some folks from the
old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years
whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely
criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is
an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to
bring Christian theological principles into government, and who
bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is
God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can
still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if
you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as
have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that
terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy
and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on
black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when
asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter
for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and
merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill
O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem
overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW
has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while
being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has
referred to it a “light” burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could
possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted
with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment
is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is
rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world
opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole
“change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined,
unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete
and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ooohh …… good stuff!

Comment by RockyCat

(Clapping wildly) —

Word Wordy McWord, girl.


Comment by imfunny2


I’ve only watched the first part of the podcast, but it’s on the money.

I just got into an argument, about politics, with a couple of guys in a bar. Suffice to say, they were not Obama fans (I put up a post at my place). But one of the comments (actually the one that started the shit flying) was about how if you “know the right people” you can get the city to do work on your sidewalk or water supply pipe (even though, technically, they’re not supposed to). I told the guy that sort of thing is done at the expense of every other taxpayer. My comment was not well received. He’s “connected” and sees that sort of thing as “constituent services”. I’m fairly certain that he would consider someone black doing that as being corrupt. It’s all bullshit.

Comment by democommie

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