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marinelife's avatar

What do you think of Tim Wise's essay "This Is Your Nation on White Privilege"?

Asked by marinelife (62435points) September 17th, 2008

If at all possible, my intent would be to discuss his comparisons generally, that is, not specifically in light of party and Presidential politics. I thought he raised some very interesting points.

Here is a link to the essay for those who want to read it.

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15 Answers

augustlan's avatar

There were some interesting points in the essay, but I think it’s going to be difficult to discuss it in a general because it is very specific, (and very liberal). I particularly appreciated the guns and church comparisons.

srmorgan's avatar

One’s reaction to this essay is going to be based on the race and political outlook of the reader, no doubt about it.
I think he is way off base on the first paragraph because the question of whether or not Bristol Palin is “doing the right thing” has no part of deciding who is going to be elected to National office..

As to the rest of it, I found myself nodding yes and then nodding no.
I do know that if I circulated this to some of my colleagues, who think McCain is a closet liberal, they would filing the internet with invective all night.


St.George's avatar

I also like this older one:

Once my SoCal niece was practicing some teenage logic out on me in front of her parents and asked no one in particular, “How come at school they can have an ‘African American’ club and an ‘Asian American’ club but they can’t have a ‘white kids’ club?” I said, “Because the whole school is the white kid’s club.”

I think the concept applies to the U.S. at large.

tinyfaery's avatar

Fortunately, I already understand the world and implcations of white privilege. However, I’m not sure it will sway any white voters. In my experience, bringing up the idea of white/male/hetero privilege to those of the privileged class just evokes defensiveness and excuses.

Bri_L's avatar

It certainly is an interesting read. I have to let it sink in.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

I liked it. I posted this same essay on months ago. The conservatives had a shit fit.

resmc's avatar

Am very glad it was written.

It’s sad, though, how defensive my fellow white people tend to be regarding this subject… but assuming that reactions will be so defensive it’s not worth broaching isn’t always helpful.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

Conservatives, by and large, blame everyone else for their shortcomings anyway. “My life is shit because Mexicans are coming here illegally, and the Jews are running things, and the Blacks are running amok, and the gays are fucking each other…Not because I only have a 10th grade education and have no skills.”

resmc's avatar

@The_unconservative_one Odd, that tendency. I read somewhere, actually several places, that that’s an element of the ‘authoritarian personality’ (to a degree, at least);

If one resents those in power yet simultaneously worship them – yet also fears them enough not to even allow yourself to recognize that… * .. you’re likely to project all that hostility towards those you perceive as weaker or lower on the social ladder than you. It’s more acceptable than even criticizing those in power, in some circles.

(Has something to do with upbringing, as well… very authoritarian parents tend to promote this complex, and the worship/resentment/fear of parents later gets transferred to authority figures later in life – as apparently we tend to stick with relationship patterns from childhood somewhat, even as who we have relationships change. Guess it saves us the energy of establishing totally new ones.)

Does this reflect your observations at all?

*or even if you’re are generally frustrated with the state of society, but without an understanding of what causes that (& the sense of powerlessness our society seems to engender in many), and lack ethical outlets for that need to understand or even do something about that.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

I am not a sociologist, but that assessment sounds plausible to me. I am curious though, why this phenomenon seems to be so much more prevalent in republicans/conservatives than others.

bea2345's avatar

@Megan64 “but they can’t have a ‘white kids’ club?” reminds me of the Library of Congress List of subject headings (a standard work of reference in libraries around the world). There are some 12 pages of entries beginning with African-American and very few with Whites (on the website I reached 100 pages and had only come to African Americans in the professions – History). In other words, Whites is the default. This was and is a problem for West Indian (and African and Indian) cataloguers, I can tell you.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

@bea2345 Also, Whites don’t generally lump themselves into one coverall category like that. I’ll bet if you searched for titles starting with words like “Irish” “Scottish” or “German” you will get tons more hits.

bea2345's avatar

@The_unconservative_one Of course not. Any more than black populations do. But language, especially formal language, is often out of step with realities. What was PC in 1960 was being challenged in 1970, and what became PC in 1980 is being challenged now.

BTW, I read Tim Wise’s essay. It was funny and perceptive. And you know what? if you apply his observations to any racially denominated elite, e.g. the middle class blacks of Trinidad, with very few changes, he is still on point.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

@bea2345 I don’t think there are very many people who would challenge being called their nationality (ie. “Irish, Italian, German, Scotthish, Welsh etc.

Crusader's avatar

It defies the political expediency, hypocrisy and lies of the Left and the Centrist.

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