What made me think of this topic was another discussion that has been going on here about white males.
Here's my opinion; We as white males, specifically who live in the United States, are in the highest position of power and more importantly comfort than any other group or demographic definitely in the country and arguably in the world. We rarely feel discomfort or to put it more succinctly, we rarely feel the discomfort of the "other". The discomfort of the woman or the person of color or the immigrant are three that stick out in my mind. I'm sure there are others. We do not get looked at differently because of our skin or or body type or the way we dress. We are not judged because of these attributes or characteristics. We rarely feel the wrath of stereotyping we so often put on others. So when we hear anger from persons of color, immigrants or women, instead of reacting, we need to step back and listen. The burden is on us. Whether we like it or not, racism and misogyny is very much built into our society and we need to take the responsibility to deal with it more than any other group.
So for all white males out there, I challenge you, think before you react. Take the role of the other. Most importantnly, put yourself in situations of discomfort as much as possible. Attend an event that you are the minority, not the majority and see how you feel. This is our burden.
My question to you is; do you think this is our role to take? Do you think this is important? How do you, as a white male, see what your role or responsibility is in your society, United States or otherwise?
When I was reviewing applications for the position of security guard, we would usually weed out the Ali's, Mohammed's, and double Norwegian names such as Roy Johnny or Bjarne Andreas, as our statistics showed they had around 3-4x the sickleave absence (avg. around 20%) and worked around 25% less hours overall. The real process of elimination was never to call anyone with more than 5 grammatical errors on their CV to an interview unless they had fulfilled military service. Our major issue with muslim employees was violence against drug addicts and theft from customers.
If you had an Indian, SE Asian, Eastern European or Swedish name, you would usually be hired without interview as we had only positive experiences. These ethnic groups are widely percieved as being much more dutiful workers than ethnic Norwegians.
Where do minorities blame white males for the own lack of effort? Straw man 1. Their own lack of achievement. Straw man 2. Their own lack of drive (did you think abotu what you were writing for just one second?). Straw man 3. Their own lack of will power to succeed. Straw man 4.
The fact that you have 'thought about it' doesn't mean you get it. Patrticularly going in with the closed minded attitude you seeme to have. The way to understand this point - invisible to white males if you are one? is to talk to people who are in those minorities. I have never heard any of them blame white males for their ills - even when pretty perceptive. They definitely blame the structures created and maintained by white males. But I have never heard that I am part of a deliberate, conscious conspiracy to keep them down.
You have missed the points of the argument significantly and badly misrepresented those you are trying to argue with. Could you correct that?
No - white males are the ones who are now openly discriminated upon - there is an institutionalized racism against the white man sadly.
Jimmy, haven't you learned from Europe's mistakes? Europe learned from their failed policies of multiculturalism in that it only continued oppression and segregation by the minority groups (Muslims) due to such mindset as yours. It was a long learning curve but it seems like you are starting out when the Europeans already learned their failures in such erroneous mindsets.
There are plenty of poor whites in America to compare them to poor blacks - there is not an institutionalized racism in America against minorities in gaining university admissions - the institutionalized racism is against whitey.
Sassan: this debate is utterly pointless. You are determined not to understand and to misrepresent me. A better example of privilege it has been my rare sadness to come across (though I've met plenty of smug successful immigrant children who don't see privilege).
If you want to continue to represent this debate as about racism against white people, well...really - nothing more to say. If you really think that being born white in the US is equal to being born black, on average. Again nothing more to say. Such utterly wilfull ignorance cannot be overcome.
And believe me (just for once): I strongly believe that the way out of cultural and economic poverty for European minority groups is likely to be found in rejecting much of their culture baggage. I hate much of the UK Muslim culture for example - just as I hate much of West Afrrican culture with it's shit values and low expectations, and misogyny and hierarchical abuse bullshit. I am totally not politically correct here. Screw their culture: it's abusive and keeps whole populations in poverty. How we get any progress on that is the question that I am concerned with.
Your analysis of European history is utterly woeful (and privileged) too, but no need to go there: the goal posts will just move and you will presumably not address the issues and repeat the same distractions, for another 24 hours.
When I say: this has nothing to do with racism, why do you continue to suggest I think it does? If you can make the link between in-built privilege and racism, fill your boots. But you haven't and think that repeating the same completely off the mark prejudices somehow contributes? I am so sorry that people are racist about you Sassan, the son of successful business people and a successful busines community. Couldn't we learn what it is about your community that made it successful and see if we could apply some of that to other groups who are not so successful?
Isn't the topic inherently racism against white people? I think that is what this topic is, racist.
It is the year 2011 my friend - if you are a smart and ambitious African American - you can create opportunities for yourself to be successful. Many African Americans have - this is a time of reason, logic, and progress. Not giving excuses for past grievances which are a thing of the past.
I am glad to here you speaking out against barbaric cultural practices. That made me happy and made me gain some respect for you (although I am sure that doesn't mean anything for you).
I have been to Europe - and I plan to move to the U.K. for my Ph.D.
The reason why I continue to say it has to do with racism is because you are singling the white man out - which inherently is racist in itself. And you stated yourself that your family members supported some political white figures you disdain. I truly ask you: do you think this has to do with your guilt in regards to that situation?
And no, I have never experienced racism in California.
And I have stated why it is that Persians are successful and well off in the United States and all of Europe: because we don't use excuses to hold ourselves down. We have a strong culture (I know I have been in the U.S. since I was 3 - although having spent considerable amounts of time in Iran) but most importantly - we don't put ourselves in a state of learned helplessness. I truly mean this. This is not some gibberish in trying to distract the issue. I used to be for affirmative action - when it was necessary - it is no longer necessary. It is not right to punish someone like Arcus who received higher test scores than the minorities who were accepted due to their race/status. In fact, this creates lower standards in society - as the best qualified candidate was not accepted.
^^Pretty much this^^
I haven't seen much evidence in favor of a poor black person having more or less opportunity to a poor white person in the same neighborhood. Neither is there more evidence that rich white and rich black people have any substantially different opportunities apart from that granted the latter through affirmative action.
All it takes to increase social standing is 80-100 hours of hard labor each week until you are about 70. Especially between the ages of 10 and 30 to give a good educational foundation.
The fact that you haven't "seen much evidence" is hardly surprising. Have you looked? I have and I found that outcomes for black people in the UK and much of Europe (and I believe this is the case in the US) are much worse than for white people in terms of social mobility, economic status and health.
Your comparisons are bogus therefore: sure a rich black person may do very nicely. But how easy is it for a black person to become rich? Are there invisible barriers for them which do not exist for white people? We have to assume so - why otherwise, do they have these worse outcomes? The repeated mistake in yoyur argument (and I think Sassan's) is to feel that observing this ios to blame white people for creating those barriers. This might be true in some cases. In many it might not. I really don't know. But where they exist, for whatever reason, it would be great if we can find mechanisms to remove them. that's likely to include helping young black people for eg to believe that there are strong alternatives to being poor, having dreadful health and education, and not working.
Do white people have different access to wealth? Yes. Do they have therefore different access to the benefits that wealth brings? Of course. This is not a point about racism! Why do you keep making it so? It is a point about privilege - a completely different issue.
"Have you looked?"
Yes, mostly in magazines such as The Economist or Slate and within the confines of the study of IO Psychology.
"But how easy is it for a black person to become rich? Are there invisible barriers for them which do not exist for white people?"
It's as difficult for a black person as a white person. Apparently not seeing as there is a black POTUS. Seems that the "glass ceiling" argument has been voided.
"We have to assume so - why otherwise, do they have these worse outcomes?"
Not if one accounts for background.
"to feel that observing this ios to blame white people for creating those barriers."
I have yet to deny that differences exists, and that a part of the issue is illegal discrimination. However, I do not see legal discrimination being the answer to illegal discrimination, especially in the long run. In addition, the major underlying factors are of socio-economic and cultural causes, not skin color. A successful black person can easily be as successful as a white person - NdGT being a prime example.
"I really don't know."
Arcus: are you being deliberately obtuse? This is all about background! Accounting for background is what this is about. Privilege is all about background! Skin colour is an indicator for background. It isn't the problem in itself so much any more but if you are born with black skin, you are more likely to have a disadvantaged background!
This is just too much hard work...
Who suggested anywhere in this debate the legal discrimination is the answer to white male privilege? It's got nothing to do with it! I've made this point countless times but you just ignore it. Straw is coming out in a massive flood again.
I totally refute that a black person can as easily become successsful as a white person. The statistics do not support that conclusion: black people are under-represented, both in the US and Europe, in the professions, in the rich lists, in health outcomes. This is not up for debate. And just once again, quoting individuals does not change the overall trend.
So we agree differences exist (I think). Why they exist is a matter for debate. Should the beneficiaries of the causes of these differences do anything about addressing them?
"Privilege is all about background!"
Easily fixable with a 100% estate tax or communist takeover. Not quite sure that would solve anything though as few people's are as bigoted as the ones who grew up in communist regimes.
"Skin colour is an indicator for background."
So is education. There is a strong positive correlation between education through generations and social status. Much stronger positive correlation than skin color, national, ethnical or cultural background. The discrimination issue is fairly minor as opposed to education.
"I totally refute that a black person can as easily become successsful as a white person."
I totally refute success being easy for anyone. Apparently atheists have very little political success in the US, so a white atheist will therefore be "discriminated" against more than a black muslim.
"black people are under-represented, both in the US and Europe, in the professions, in the rich lists, in health outcomes."
Correlation does not immediately prove any causation, especially not for a single cause. It sure isn't white males responsibility to "better" anyone's lot in life, it's the responsibility of society as a whole and the individual.
Feeling any type of white man's burden is clearly racist as it entails a view that people of other skin colors are somehow less capable than whites.