In a recent small group discussion, the phrase “white privilege” was mentioned. “White privilege” is one of those phrases that I believe was designed to arouse negative emotions and reflect poorly on people of the white persuasion. I got to thinking about the phrase and began to search for substance in it. Conclusion? It contains little substance. It’s an attention grabber designed to inflame emotion.
Frankly, I take exception to any claim of validity in the phrase. Here’s why. I’m an old, white guy. There are two strikes against me right there. I’ve never felt privileged. I worked for and earned everything that I have. Nothing was given because of my race, religion, sex and certainly not my job. If we had been privileged, my wife would not have had to work. She opted to stay home with our daughters until they were both in school, and we made it on my earnings. We still refer to those days as when we were “poor.” We picked our own vegetables. She canned because we couldn’t afford a freezer. We were the last in our neighborhood to get a color TV — way last. Ask my daughters. Privileged? I think not. Admittedly, our lives improved when my bride went back to work, but we earned all we have. We earned every dime and we scrimped to save.
Other types of privilege come to mind that we never hear mentioned by those who like to rake muck. These would include what I term “jock and celebrity privilege.”
Names are not necessary. You can do that on your own but think about football and basketball players. Some make more in a year than I will in a lifetime for playing a game. Not only do they rake in the dough, but people give them free stuff as though they are needy. Corporate CEO’s are castigated for their obscene salaries, but for some reason those who revile them think that sports stars and celebrities are justified. These are truly privileged people. They own yachts with “dinghies” to die for. These truly privileged people come in all shapes, sizes, colors and races. Being white has nothing to do with real privilege. This thing called white privilege is a figment — made up to stir up.
Of course, there’s the Hollywood crowd. Same story. How about those who bought their kids into college? That’s money privilege.
Privilege is a relative expression. Clearly people of all colors and economic backgrounds have been able to reach the pinnacles of their chosen fields such as medicine, politics, science, etc. True success is a function of desire, drive, ambition, determination, etc. — not privilege.
Another similar phrase is used in an attempt to throw more rocks and guilt at white folks. Slavery is the subject and “America’s Original Sin” is the phrase. The term is used to shame people who deserve no such derision.
I must have seen this one coming. On our cruise in the northwest, I found in the boat’s lounge a National Geographic that I “borrowed.” It was the July/August 2019 issue.
I will employ an oversimplification — much like those who refer to slavery as “America’s Original Sin.” According to National Geo, in “1483 – Portugal connects with the Kingdom of Kongo. The two nations establish … ties that will form the basis of the transatlantic slave trade.” “1501 – 1505 The Spanish and Portuguese bring enslaved Africans to work in the Americas.” “1619 – The San Juan Bautista leaves for New Spain with a cargo of about 350 Africans. English pirates attack…and seize approximately 50 people, who are taken to the British colonies.” Related to that incident, “ ’20 and odd’ African people set foot in British North America in 1619, the first steps toward what became slavery in the United States.” Nuf said, folks? The Founders weren’t even here yet. The Pilgrims landed in present day Massachusetts in 1620 with no slaves.
Remember, slavery existed worldwide centuries before our founders started their organizational meetings. Native Americans engaged in it. Original sin? I think not!
For those who wish to make a legitimate issue of slavery, I suggest that you concentrate on human trafficking. It’s happening now — in this country, in this state and likely in this county. Do something about that! Take meaningful action today.