The Pathology of White Privilege

A great many of my White friends, and co-workers don’t have the context to understand the answers I give when they talk to me about my experience as a Black American.  I actively encourage people to talk to each other with questions about ethnicity and race.  That’s the only way that we can tear down the few walls that still separate us as Americans.  I had to explain to a colleague that when I nearly had to call the police to investigate people who had climbed the fence on to my property, I knew I would have to take extraordinary measures to be sure I wasn’t shot and killed by law enforcement when they arrived.  Being a Black American, in the eyes of a great many people in law enforcement, will automatically put me in a position to be “Guilty until proven innocent.”  My colleague didn’t quite get that concept, but I explained that it was because of context.  He sees me as the suave, well-dressed, successful part of the team, that happens to be Black. The police will see a man in his underwear or jeans, still groggy from waking up suddenly and in fear for his safety.  Many Black Men have been shot by the people in law enforcement that they needed to protect them. The background story to why I nearly had to call the police is that late one night/early morning I heard the distinct sound of two men coming over the stone wall in my backyard. I immediately grabbed my Mossberg 500 shotgun and clicked off the safety as I headed to my Safe Room. Note:  I didn’t “pump” the shotgun to put a round in the chamber, because there was already a round in there. I keep my self-defense tools in Condition One: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on. A friend asked why I use condition one, since “…it seems like it might just go off”.  Unfortunately, he took most of his information on firearms from the news, television, and myth.  After reading a few well-researched articles I sent him, he realized that the safety did exactly what is says on the tin.  A safety stops the weapon from firing, and that I keep a round in the chamber because I may not have the precious seconds I need to get a round into the chamber if someone broke into my house.  I also explained to him that he’d been mislead when he was told that “The sound of a 12-gauge shotgun being “pumped” would cause most attackers to fudge their underwear, and flee in terror.   Team, it just doesn’t work like that. I hope for the best, but Prepare for the worst because I’d be the guy just unlucky enough to get an attacker/intruder who was high on drugs or too stupid to realize I was able to defend myself.

I can’t ever forget that my experience has been that White America does not, and believes erroneously that it has no reason to, codify the experience of Black Americans.

To read more on America, click here.

Angela Grant, who runs FailureToListen.com, has just posted a well written piece called “CDS: Chronic Discrimination Syndrome” that I highly recommend.  Take note of how she addresses Targeted Ethnic Groups.

Tim Wise explains and articulates things in a way that I have found a great many White Americans tell me they understand and relate to. Wise provides a non-confrontational explanation of white privilege and the damage it does not only to all, not just Black people of color but to White people as well.  I specifically said “Black people of color” because we are not a monolithic block, there is a huge diaspora that the designation Black encompasses.

Timothy Jacob “Tim” Wise is an anti-racism activist and writer. Since 1995, he has given speeches at over 600 college campuses across the U.S. He has trained teachers, corporate employees, non-profit organizations, and law enforcement officers in methods for addressing and dismantling racism in their institutions.

Another relevant point of view “Touré: The internal response to racial slights”

Touré: The internal response to racial slights is an excellent five-minute TED Talk presented by Touré Neblett. He’s an American novelist, essayist, music journalist, cultural critic, and television personality based in New York City. He is the host of Fuse’s Hiphop Shop and On the Record and is now a co-host of The Cycle on MSNBC. It’s a five-minute video.

This is Tim talking to someone who specifically asks if they should feel guilt for the things past generations did. Its a three minute video.

Louis CK explains historical context to Jay Leno

Louis CK is an award winning comedian and television comic. It’s a five-minute video as well.

8 comments

  1. Angela Grant

    Hi Yusef.
    Thank you for linking to my post, I am glad you enjoyed my post as much as I enjoyed yours. The videos were well worth watching. Uncanny, as you go deeper in thought, common patterns emerge. Tim Wise is amazing; it is good to see more people speak out about white privilege / racism.

    -Angela

    Like

  2. Pingback: White Privilege by Tim Wise « Failure to Listen
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  4. Vill

    http://www.upworthy.com/i-never-thought-id-want-to-high-five-a-teacher-for-yelling-at-a-student-but-i-was-wrong?g=2

    I thought this link relevant to the topic of the article. I posted this link on my fb page once and one of my good friends who happen to be white commented on it stating how colour isn’t all that matters and how it should also show the prejudices shown against females and gays. She didn’t understand or get the fact that as long as they were white they had more rights and protections than us people of colour would get.

    Like

  5. Carla Corrie

    I read this a few days ago and I will be honest it really offended me. I thought what? I don’t recognise this, I think this is ludicrous. Rather than replying in that state I went away and gave it some thought.

    Now I need to clarify a few things I’m British and live in Scotland having given it some thought since reading your article I have *friends* online who are black, but I don’t have a single friend in my phone that comes over to my home on a regular basis who is non-white. I thought a little deeper and realised the only people I know who are of colour own my local take-away food shops ( no joke )

    I have people I converse with online who are Black that I class as friends, so I racked my brain and the only people I could think of that I had spent time with in my life that were Black we’re American visitors. I know some Indians & Asians ( do they count as black? That’s a serious question ) who are in my phone book and oddly own take away food shops.
    So this made me think and do some research the black population accounts for less that 1% of all people who live here in Scotland. If as a Black person you come here you will be viewed differently, this I’m sure is on the increase as I have seen more Black people on the streets. Thinking back to growing up I only knew one non-white person and she owned our corner shop so in my head even in 1990 I did think of her as a person who offered a service. That’s a terrible admission to make but true.
    I think with this in mind I’m not really best placed to make statements about equality between black and white people. I like to think I’m personally not racist – but I think if really really honest everyone is a little racist.

    As a white person we are fed by the media that the world has turned on it’s head and now black people and non white people have all the power. As a white person living in a political correct society has made it feel like this is a topic we shouldn’t even question and that the very act of questioning it makes as racists.

    I’d be curious if your opinion has changed since Obama took office – do black people feel less victimised? I understand victimised seems like a really negative word but it does feel from reading your blog that you feel victimised.

    I’m glad I read this, I’m glad it made me think.

    Like

  6. Carla Corrie

    More
    Doesn’t everyone feel a bit victimized – I mean if as a Scottish Person I do for a job in a high end financial establishment in a London trading floor. I could assume that the Man who was English with a posh private school only got the job because he was English (race card) and Male (Sex Card).

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  7. Pingback: The Curious Case Of Rachel Dolezal! | Yusef Wateef, Adventurer!

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