“In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”
― Toni Morrison
With all that’s going on, I think that it is an important time to educate people. You can’t grow without learning. I will speak on some essays that I have read from scholars. In your spare time, you should defiantly read them.
“As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
One cannot talk about race without bringing up class and vice versa, as they are constantly tied together in discussion. With white privilege, some people’s opinions are skewed because they lack the knowledge and experience that other races face, such as being followed around in a store because they assume you will steal, lack in choices for makeup, punishment in court, assuming you do not know how to manage your money, assuming you are not professional, and so much more. White privilege is typically defined as the access to things and treatments without fear of rejection or negative outcomes based on skin color. It means that people of Caucasian descent have vastly different and mostly better experiences in society than others because their skin/race is considered “elite”.
When bringing up the topic of “white bashing”, there are some people who would agree to its existence as being possible, but there are also some who do not believe that the concept exists. This is mainly because they have a closed mind to situations due to there being no obstacles they had to endure in order to accomplish something. What I mean by closed minds, is automatically profiling someone due to assumptions for something, by this I mean that a person will already have an image they made up of someone just based off their color and class. This image was most likely created off false information they were taught.
“Race doesn’t really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don’t have that choice.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
I do not believe that it is time for “race talk” to be replaced by “class talk” because people are uncomfortable talking about both together, glossing over important aspects of both topic. I do think we should simultaneously discuss race and class. I do not think that these topics should be separated just because class and race coincide, with people trying to tie stereotypes of race and class together. When talking and teaching about class, people need to make sure to explain how all races are in different classes and refrain from bringing up stereotypes. All differences need to be acknowledge if these topics come up. A way in which this could be done is by illustrating different types of people in each group and actually talking about their experiences.
Author, Gans, would agree on these topics coinciding, “The skin colors and facial features commonly used to define race are selected precisely because, when arranged hierarchically, they resemble the country’s class-and-status hierarchy,” (p. 95). I think Waters would also contribute to the discussion by bringing up the importance of acknowledging “color-blindness” and how it’s not good. Having a certain color that is consider elite is how those who were successful were chose, this is all a part of the system of oppression.
In Bethany M. Coston’s article, “Seeing Privilege Where it isn’t,” she talks about another type of privilege, gender, however I believe that she would agree that it is time to talk about race and class together because lack of knowledge causes people to not understand certain situations. “The idea that privilege is invisible to those who have it,” (p.179). When you have something, you are not usually worried about those who do not, you are just focused on not losing it.
they do not see color.
you are invisible.”
― Nayyirah Waheed
In the article, “Closing the Wealth Gap,” Author Meghan Kuebler, talks about the struggles for each race when it comes to owning a home. The way this article is structured it shows how much of a problem “white privilege” is. Most are at a disadvantage because of their color and a lack in opportunity. “Whites have one of the smallest gaps in homeownership,” (p. 114). Whites have so many opportunities for things and they do not always notice it.
Including the authors, I mentioned, many people would agree the “white privilege, occurs in many things, and that it needs to change. In order for there to be change, we need to have a call to action and educate those who mad=y have turned a “blind-eye” to those who are affected by it. Those doing the educating need to not only try to understand why some do not see their privilege but they also need to be patient when trying to educate others.
Something else to think about…….
When one hears the phrase “systems of oppression”, many thoughts could come into mind as to what the suitable definition is for it. When I hear it, I automatically think of how things are organized and hierarchy. There is always going to be a group at the top who do not have as many obstacles as others and the usually control the system based of their requirements and expectations. Systems of oppression are used to control primarily the working class and underprivileged.
I believe that working class and women, even though both are majorities, put up with inequality in America today because they are worried about losing their jobs as opposed to the negative alternatives. They could be blacklisted or worse, people will not believe them when speaking up about the inequality. Many of the working class also are trying to reach the American dream and climb the corporate ladder. wants “I’m just trying to live the American dream and finish my education,” (p. 159). Marquardt wanted to show that those oppressed wanted nothing more than to be successful in life. I believe that these groups know their voice will not necessarily be respected just because they are not ranked high in societies eyes.
One important author to bring up when speaking on privilege is Lillian Rubin. Lillian B. Rubin’s article explored the perspective of a few white American’s’ perspective on immigration. The quotes taken from those interviewed were enough to show how strong “white” privilege is. Keeping those of color and women down and oppressed is how the society succeeds in certain people’s eyes. The value placed on certain groups, especially white males, is how the system of oppression functions. I was always taught that we should use mistakes from history and learn from them and the older I have gotten them more I see that this is a moral lacking in many. “I was reminded again how little we American’s look to history for its lessons, how impoverished is our historical memory,” (p.134).
Author, Herbert J. Gans wrote an article discussing how peoples’ perceptions of certain groups are wrong. The article also provided a few adjectives to describe what those without privilege thought of those with it. “aggressive, decisive, competitive, focused on winning,” (p.105). These are just a few. Negative connotations with certain race and gender groups is a way of oppressing them because its putting them down and making them feel bad about what makes them unique. Gans spoke on the idea that if you look like the typical American, you receive more opportunities. Acceptance of a particular look person is a way of oppressing people. This was their way of “whitening” or “blanching” one’s skin. This was done to be accepted and move up socially and economically in society which was not fair. Most would do anything to achieve the American dream. Joan Acker acknowledge that there was a bit of a change when it came to gender privilege, however she pointed out that it wasn’t much.
The book, Unlevel Playing Fields, also talked about the importance of learning history to prevent from repeating it. Race was a big component of why there was gaps in the distribution of goods. Whites did not favor Blacks and it showed in the wage. Blacks were payed much less for the same effort of work, sometimes blacks did more. “The skin colors and facial features commonly used to define race are selected precisely because, when arranged hierarchically, they resemble the country’s class-and-status hierarchy,” (p.95).
In order to even talk about “systems of oppression”, one must bring up mainstream economics and neoclassical economics. The focus point of those two words is a lack in rationality. Proper decisions require one to think rationally. It is also about how funds and any merchandises are distributed throughout the country. The corporate world is survival of the fittest, and usually those with privilege and more resources end up on top. I was reminded of Henderson’s article, when thinking about the systems of oppression because the article spoke on victim blaming, which is done a lot when trying to oppress a group, like African American’s for example. The negative connotations given with that race, is what causes loss of hope in exceling and keeps them from climbing in the economical world.
“The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery.”
― Frederick Douglass
In my eyes those elite in society thrives when it comes to the system of oppression because they get all the benefits and control over other groups. Could things change in the future? Maybe. I only think it could happen if everyone acknowledges oppression and the dangers of it. I also think when being educated things need to be explained in detail of why it is not right. “When times are good, when American workers feel confident about their future, they’re likely to be more generous in sharing their good fortune with foreigners,” (p. 137). There is a way that the system keeps things in order in favor of the elite group. Once those who have privilege become comfortable within themselves, things could change and become more equal.
Discussions like this need to happen, in order for change to take affect. Take something you read and please spread the knowledge. My condolences to the families who loss a love one to police officers abusing their “power”. We as a people need to do better.
Thank you for reading another post! I look forward to seeing you on the next one. Feel free to comment below, like, subscribe, and share this post with people who you know need to hear or read this.