September 18, 2008

on White Privilege

Not quite racism, but the passive equivalent perhaps, where being white gets you a pass on certain things?:
"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."

There is more. Important to note that the issues that he raises about Palin are not necessarily bad. Her hunting and gun appreciation, or even her circuitous route to her college education don't say much of anything, one way or another. Nothing wrong with liking to hunt, and as my Starbucks reading group noted yesterday, some people take a while to find their way in college. That would describe me too.

But the issue is how those same issues would be seen if Palin were liberal and black. Her husband isn't running for office, but his membership in the AIP, if they were black, would raise questions about their patriotism. Michelle Obama said something about being truly proud of her country for the first time, and the right went apoplectic. Before her speech in Denver, the talking heads all agreed she had to "prove her patriotism." Sarah and Todd have no such need. Some of that is liberal v. conservative, but some of that can be argued to be "white privilege."

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